Features June 2015 Issue

Trimming Toenails

Christine is on Step 6 as described at left; Tito is doing great.

Trimming Toenails

Even behaviors that don’t lend themselves well to choice, such as trimming hair and medicating ears, can incorporate an element of choice and priming, by teaching your dog to “station.” To “go to station” means to to go to a specific spot where nine times out of 10 (or better yet, 99 times out of 100), really good, fun stuff happens. If, every once in a great while, a slightly less fun (but not hugely aversive) procedure happens, it shouldn’t be enough to change his happy association with his station, especially if you do much of the classical conditioning away from the station, and invite him to station only when he has a positive association with all the parts of the procedure. Remember, do multiple repetitions at every step until the dog is happy!

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