Shaping for Fearful Dogs
About the Webinar
Many people are rescuing dogs from other countries and trying to rehabilitate them into very different life situations and conditions. However, due to possible lack of appropriate early socialisation and handling, they are often highly anxious and/or fearful and struggle with being handled or restrained.
· Fearful animals need to accept handling from unfamiliar people, whether that is veterinary professionals, groomers, or members of the extended family
· Dogs can be fearful or anxious or both, but they all need to learn to voluntarily accept or at least tolerate sometimes intrusive handling.
· Shaping behaviours with a fearful dog may preclude the use of clickers or other noise makers as markers.
· Trainers can use Habituation, Desensitisation and Counter-Conditioning Techniques to help a dog transition away from practising avoidance and self defence behaviours and these are usually helpful for most dogs. They can make it possible for a trainer to introduce behaviour shaping and husbandry training
· But what can be done with fearful dogs that seem to be unable to learn to volunteer body parts to be handled or restrained, even though they have been habituated to gentle touch and positive reinforcement? Sometimes the training session alone can trigger avoidance and defensive behaviours. Neural pathways have already been firmly set, and can be difficult to modify.
· Case studies will demonstrate some techniques which may help individual dogs to overcome passive or active self defence behaviours, and modify the neural pathways to improve future learning and cognitive development
International Canine Behaviourists
Nina Bondarenko BA;IAABC;ABTC