Counter-Conditioning and Desensitization for Reducing Dog Reactvity
Counter-conditioning involves changing your dogs association with a scary or arousing stimulus from negative to positive. Desensitization is starting with a very low-level intensity of aversive stimulus until the dog habituates to (or changes his association with) the aversive, and then gradually increasing the strength until the dog is comfortable with the stimulus at full intensity. The easiest way to give most dogs a positive association and to help them become comfortable with a stimulus is with very high-value, really yummy treats. I like to use chicken canned, baked, or boiled; most dogs love chicken. Heres how the CC&D process works.