Treatment Name: Behavior Modification: Counterconditioning

Treatment Type: Training Techniques

Rated for: Labrador Retriever

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Easy to use
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Roombas are scary!

Jessica Schley



Posted Oct. 5, 2017

My dogs were all scared of my new Roomba, especially my Pointer mix. She will chase a coyote but the Roomba will send her into orbit (usually landing on my bed or the dining room table, whichever is closer/higher off the ground from that crazy black disc.) So I came up with a technique to show all of the dogs how exciting the Roomba is to follow around the house. Step one was to have the dogs eat a treat right off the top of the Roomba while it was turned off, and set in the middle of the room. Next:

I had a friend "drive" the Roomba using the remote control, asking her to always drive it AWAY from the dogs, never toward them. I would signal for her to stop and go. Then I drew the dogs toward the Roomba from behind, using more treats (LOTS of them). My friend would stop the Roomba periodically to allow the dogs to draw close to it as I set treats on the top. Then she would drive forward and I would set more treats on top of it. Eventually, when the Roomba came on, the dogs would walk over to the station looking for treats. I will occasionally reinforce the positive association by dropping treats on the Roomba for them. Now, instead of leaping into my arms like Scooby-Do does, my dogs start drooling when the (formerly terrifying) Roomba comes on.

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