Category Archives: Desensitization and Counterconditioning

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, Review, Sound phobias, Training plan | 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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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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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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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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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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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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Stinky Stuff on My Back! DS/CC for Flea Treatment

Thank you to Jennifer Titus and Debbie Jacobs for their help with the post and movie. All errors are my own and all clumsy training moments are in spite of their excellent counsel.  Before I got serious about training, I regarded … Continue reading

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It’s OK to Comfort Your Dog!

U.S. folks and Canadians, get ready for the fireworks! People in the U.S. and Canada are getting ready for national holidays that often include all sorts of loud pops and booms from fireworks and firecrackers, even cannons and guns. These kinds … Continue reading

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When is it OK for Your Dog to Pull on Leash?

Is there actually a situation in which it’s OK for your dog to pull on leash? Oh, yes. For fearful and reactive dogs there are at least two! One is when you are practicing desensitization/counterconditioning with your dog in public and can’t ask her … Continue reading

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