Category Archives: Desensitization and Counterconditioning

Teaching Your Dog to Self-Interrupt

Here is something I taught with positive reinforcement that enhances Clara’s life and mine. I’ve taught her to respond positively to being interrupted, and even to interrupt herself. This trained behavior helps us get along smoothly from day to day, … Continue reading

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Posted in Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Dog Training | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

The Last Trip To the Vet: What If Your Pet’s Last Breath Is on the Operating Table?

Many years ago I lost Alexander, my dear, dear cat to stomach cancer. This was before veterinary medicine had the technology that’s available today. It was also before I took as proactive an approach to my animals’ health and welfare … Continue reading

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Posted in Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Euthanasia, Handling and Husbandry | Tagged | 12 Comments

Clara’s Progress at the Vet’s Office

Here is a little bright spot a few weeks after the sudden loss of my beloved dog Summer. In February 2013, I posted a set of photos of Clara that I took at the vet’s office. (They were actually video … Continue reading

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Posted in Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Dog body language, Socialization | Tagged | 8 Comments

How I Helped My Dog Love the Sound of Velcro

Velcro, a type of fastener with two different fabric surfaces that adhere to each other, typically makes a loud ripping noise when pulled apart. Some dog harnesses, coats, medical supplies, and other gear use Velcro closures. This ripping sound can be aversive. Some sound … Continue reading

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Posted in Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Dogs and sound, Review | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Are You Really Performing Classical Counterconditioning?

What do the following training descriptions have in common? “My dog’s afraid of strangers. But when she stops barking and makes eye contact with me, I give her a treat.” “I hold her foot. Then I give her a treat … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior Science, Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning | 28 Comments

Spray With Caution!

When Kate LaSala told me about her dog’s experience with spray cheese, I knew I needed to share it. I mention spray cheese a lot, as a high value and easy-to-use food reinforcer for my dogs.  So it’s only right … Continue reading

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Posted in Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Fear, Food reinforcers | Tagged , | 19 Comments

Dogs Get Classical Conditioning to the Vacuum

Here’s a little video I made of my dogs’ response to the vacuum cleaner. Hurray for classical conditioning! As soon as any dog comes into my home, I start pairing any potentially scary sounds of human life with great stuff. Two … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning | 3 Comments

See My Successes; See My Failures

I wrote in my first post that one of the things I have to offer the world is a window into my mistakes as a beginner trainer. Last week I posted an update on the smashing success of my feral dog … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Dog body language, Handling and Husbandry | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Socializing a Formerly Feral Dog

When I started this blog, I assumed that I would write a lot about Clara’s training. Clara burst into my life as a 10 week old feral puppy [see note at bottom about feral dogs], and her socialization window was in … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Stress Signals | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments

You Can’t Cure MY Fear By Shoving Cookies at Me!

I think it’s so interesting when someone says that. Every so often I hear or read a confident claim from someone saying that desensitization/counterconditioning (DS/CC) wouldn’t work on them.  They seem offended at the very idea that food would help them overcome their fear. The … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior Science, Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Fear, Human psychology | Tagged , , | 19 Comments