My dad loves to share stories of Sam’s brilliance…and keen sense of hearing. The two buddies often travel together to the store. My dad says he can’t leave without Sam because Sam knows right away when dad is getting ready to leave and comes running to go with him, waggling his tail and holding a toy.
Let’s put our Applied Behavior Analysis hats on for a minute and do a functional assessment of the environment from each perspective. A functional assessment involves looking at the specific measurable
behavior within the context of its environment including the Antecedent (setting event for the behavior), the Behavior, and the Consequence of the behavior. In doing an assessment, always begin by writing down the Behavior we are analyzing, then fill in the A and C.
1. Focusing on my dad
A: My dad announces he is going to the store
B: Sam exhibits ‘wanna go’ behaviors (immediately perks up, runs to grab one of his toys and then comes back to my dad with his whole body waggling
C: Dad gets Sam’s leash and takes him to the car (there actually could be a second ABC here if I tightened this up)
Prediction: When my dad announces that he is going to the store, Sam will exhibit his ‘wanna go’ behaviors more frequently to produce the outcome of getting to go to the car.
2. Focusing on Sam
A: Sam is laying on floor in the kitchen
B: Dad announces his excursion
C: Sam exhibits his ‘wanna go’ behaviors
Prediction: When Sam is laying on the kitchen floor, my dad will announce his excursion more to get Sam to exhibit his ‘wanna go’ behaviors
It looks to me like both Sam and my dad are doing a fabulous job of reinforcing the behavior of the other. They are great teachers. I taught them well.
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