Treatment Type: Training Techniques
Rated for: Border Collie
Posted Nov. 25, 2017
Counter Conditioning is an effective method for treating behaviors caused by fear. Counter Conditioning can be used to gradually desensitize a dog to something that it is afraid of, as well as change the dog's emotions towards the fearful thing by making the presence of the fearful stimuli rewarding and pleasant. When the dog is rewarded for being in the presence of the fearful thing, approaching the fearful thing, and staying calm around the fearful thing, then the dog's perception of the fear can gradually change into a pleasurable one.
For some behaviors that are caused by fear, there will be a need for another form of training to be combined with the Counter Conditioning, in order to teach the dog to stop unwanted behaviors and provide the opportunity for the dog to receive direction and be open to Counter Conditioning exercises, but even for these cases Counter Conditioning is a necessary and effective part of treating fear.
Counter Conditioning for some dogs can also take a lot of time. It is still effective, as treating fear can be time consuming in general, but one should approach it expecting it to take time and patience.