Counter-conditioning and systematic desensitization

Eliminating undesirable behavior through simple reinforcement is not the only way to tackle a behavior problem. In cases such as fear, stress and aggression, the procedure must be taken further. In these cases, emphasis must be placed on the emotion which underlies the action, and not the action itself.

Example: you teach your dog the "STAY" command, and he does it for a few minutes. If you ask him to "STAY" and you confront him with a stimulus that scares him, he will be unable to comply. This situation illustrates the limits of positive reinforcement and correction when emotions are involved. In such a context, counter-conditioning and desensitization techniques are your best bet.

1. Counter-conditioning: Counter-conditioning is a behavior modification technique which consists in associating one or more response-triggering stimuli to a physiologically different, or "conflict" response. The dog is led to react in another way when he is presented with stimuli that provoke an undesirable response. We recommend this type of conditioning for various forms of aggressiveness, problems of emotional co-dependency, as well as fears. For example, a dog can be accustomed to sitting and remaining calm in order to be petted instead of begging for affection with his nose. Counter-conditioning means learning a behavior which is incompatible with the unacceptable behavior. Therefore, you must swiftly give a command as soon as you believe that a problem might occur. On another level, this technique attempts to replace emotional reactions by those related to appetite and the need for affection. Counter-conditioning is often combined with systematic desensitization. Example: a dog is aggressive towards pedestrians. The master recreates the situation from a distance. Later on, the dog shows no interest nor any signs of anxiety or aggressiveness. He is rewarded immediately (treats, affection). This approach results in combining systematic desensitization (distance) to counter-conditioning (reward).

Remote Controlled Dog Trainer Using Spray Commander: Preliminary Remarks Programming the Remote Control Dog Training The dog's place within the family Socialization Causes for Dog Disobedience Rules and Notions of Behavior Indicators for Good and Bad Behavior Two Categories for Positive Reinforcement (Primary, Secondary) The "SOUND" Option on Spray Commander When to stop using the sound How to Reward a Dog When to use the Citronella Spray The Warning Feature on Spray Commander How to Use Correction Wisely Play During and After Training Session Never Let the Dog Win Stress and Your Dog The Ten Basic Commands Sequence Chart 1: Primary Training Phase Sequence Chart 2: Obedience Training How to Begin Obedience Training Obedience Training "SIT' when the dog is standing "DOWN" when the dog is seated "SIT" when the dog is lying down "STAND" 1 when the dog is seated "STAND" 2 when the dog is lying down "DOWN" when the dog is standing Consolidation Exercises Practice the commands from a distance Positive Association "STAY" Command The "STAY" command from a distance "HEEL" Command How to obtain desired results with a leash When the dog constantly tugs at the leash The Gentle Leader Collar for Dogs "DON’T TOUCH" Command Biting Dog Games "STOP" Command Spray Commander: A Short-Term Training Tool Re-Educating Your Dog Dealing with Unacceptable Behavior How to Evaluate a Problem Counter-conditioning and systematic desensitization 2. Systematic desensitization 3. Immersion Problems with Soiling Possible causes for soiling Fears and phobias Urinating by submission or excitement How to solve the problem The importance of a cage in education for soiling Should you catch your dog in the act Underlying reasons most frequent in dealing with soiling problems: The pack leader controls the food Examples of dominant behavior How lo introduce your dog to strangers Dog Destruction Possible causes for destruction Games and investigating the environment The dog that demands attention How to prevent destruction Before leaving the house Make sure that the dog gets enough exercise How to Prevent Chasing or Running Away Typical causes for running away or chasing Game investigation social contact Procedure to counter chasing The dog that Jumps and Grabs at People Picking up or Stealing Objects How to Stop Your Dog from Stealing Coprophagia - The dog that eats his stools The Agitated, Excitable Dog The Dog Cries to Obtain Attention or Food Separation anxiety Treating Separation Anxiety Separation Anxiety Steps 4-5 Separation Anxiety Steps 6-8 Conclusion regarding Separation Anxiety Fear of men The difference between a fearful dog and a dominant aggressive dog Fear of certain people or other dogs How the Dog reacts to Change Automobile Rides Dog Tricks and Games The search for a person or an object : "Bring to", "Bring the in" "SNIFF / FETCH" Game "JUMP" Game "ROLL OVER" Trick "GIVE YOUR PAW" "THERE'S A BISCUIT ON YOUR NOSE!" How to establish limits with Spray Barrier How to prevent the dog from leaving his territory and running away Excessive barking How are undesirable behaviors reinforced? Feline Problems Feline vocalisation Inappropriate Elimination Behavior Inappropriate Spraying in Cats Aggression among Cats How to select a good educator if you need help Dog Behavior Glossary