Category Archives: Classical conditioning

Higher-Order Conditioning: Did it Happen To My Dog?

The other day I was sitting in my bedroom with Clara and Zani and the doorbell rang. And there was dead silence. This pierced my heart. If you follow the blog, you know that I lost my dear dog Summer … Continue reading

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Posted in Behavior analysis, Classical conditioning | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Are You SURE Your Dog Prefers That Food Toy?

It just occurred to me that it is super easy to make assumptions about how much our dogs prefer a particular food toy, or even whether they really enjoy them that much. Don’t yell at me. To be clear: I use … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Enrichment, Food toys, Reinforcement | Tagged , , | 19 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 analysis, Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning | 28 Comments

Introducing a Puppy and a Sound Sensitive Dog: Preparation Pays Off

Last month I posted to show how Marge Rogers introduced a friendly but possibly overenthusiastic dog to a very small puppy. But what if the challenge were a little different? What if your resident dog were both fearful of new dogs and … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Fear, Introducing dogs | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Yelling at My Dogs

The “yelling” question comes up regularly for positive reinforcement-based trainers. “Am I a bad person if I yell at my dogs?” “Is it positive punishment to yell at my dogs?” And the accusatory version, “Do you NEVER yell at your dogs? … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Dog training hints | 21 Comments

Loving the Vacuum Cleaner

  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. … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning | 3 Comments

Coping with In-Home Construction with Dogs

Life intervenes in our most careful, gradual training programs sometimes. I’ve got a dog that was born feral and a recovering reactive dog, both of whom I work with on their issues, including that I take regular lessons from a very talented … Continue reading

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Posted in Classical conditioning, Differential Reinforcement, Management, Sound sensitivity | Tagged | 7 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 analysis, Classical conditioning, Desensitization and Counterconditioning, Fear, Human psychology | Tagged , , | 19 Comments