Change the Emotional Response

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What is it?

Counter conditioning is a simple, effective training technique to change a dog’s association with an object, animal, sound, texture, experience, or person from a bad feeling to a good feeling. In this technique, we use carefully timed high-value food to teach a dog that the thing they fear is nothing to be afraid of, and it in fact, predicts something fabulous.

Think “Pavlov” – the dogs learned to associate food with the ringing of the bell over the door and this, in turn, can change their emotional state AND their behaviour. 

How to prepare:

Find a novel food – something your dog has never had but is likely to absolutely LOVE. The meatier, softer, juicier the treat, the more impact the training has. Some ideas are canned chicken, canned sardines (in water, not oil!), cat food pouch, wet dog food in a squeeze tube, low-fat cheese, steak, bbq pork (without spices or sauce).

Cut the treats into bite-sized pieces no larger than an M&M. Put them in an easy-to-get-to container like a bait bag, an old fanny pack, or an apron pocket.

Examples of when to use Counter Conditioning: