Desensitization/Counterconditioning Resources

Table of Contents

Articles and Websites

ASPCA Article on DS/CC–A very thorough explanation of desensitization and counterconditioning.

CARE for Reactive Dogs Website–The techniques of desensitization and counterconditioning codified into an easy-to-follow protocol

FaceBook Groups With Extensive DS/CC Resources

Fearful Dogs–A group for people living or working with fearful, shy, timid or anxious dogs. Adheres to the following guidelines: Keep the dog feeling safe. Use desensitization/counterconditioning to address the dog’s fears. Teach behaviors using positive reinforcement.

Reactive Dogs–This group is for trainers, owners, or those who rescue, shelter, or foster reactive dogs. The group offers suggestions with treatments that fall in the category of desensitization, counter conditioning, and positive reinforcement. The group is archived but you can still join and there is a wealth of material.

Nail Maintenance for DogsDiscussion in this group focuses on proper nail care techniques (including a specific protocol promoted by Susan Garrett) as well as positive training methods to teach dogs to enjoy having their feet and nails handled. This group is also archived but the materials are accesible. 

Literature on Diverse Methods of Counterconditioning Humans (Not Dogs)

Mary Cover Jones
Mary Cover Jones

The counterconditioning part of DS/CC involves evoking an emotional state that is incompatible with the undesirable state (usually fear). With animals, we generally use food or play.

There are many more options when working with humans. All of the following have been used successfully as means of evoking a different emotional state (counterconditioning) during desensitization with humans.

Videos Showing DS/CC and/or Results of DS/CC

This is a Google spreadsheet I maintain that links to videos that demonstrate the use of DS/CC (or the successful results of such use) in varied applications and at different skill levels.

Screen shot of Google Spreadsheet listing DS/CC video resources

Click on the graphic to view the spreadsheet.

I also have the same links on a Pinterest board:

Videos on Desensitization and Counterconditioning–Pinterest

Posts on Eileenanddogs about Classical Conditioning and Desensitization/Counterconditioning

A woman and a small black and tan hound mix are sitting on a bed. The woman is holding a syringe (no needle) against the dog's back while the dog looks at her attentively. She is performing desensitization/counterconditioning for the application of topical flea medicine
DS/CC for application of flea treatment

Print Books and E-Books

DTB740_bJean Donaldson: Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs


Debbie Jacobs: Guide to Living with and Training a Fearful Dog

DTB1354_bDebbie Jacobs: Does My Dog Need Prozac? Musings and Sound Advice on Living with a Shy, Anxious, Fearful, or Reactive Dog


DTB1093_bKathy Sdao: Does the Name Pavlov Ring a Bell?

DTB903_bKathy Sdao: Cujo Meets Pavlov! Classical Conditioning for On-leash Aggression

DTB1295_bKathy Sdao: What Not to Err: Training Mistakes that Create Headaches for Dogs

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