Concept of desensitisation

A long word with a very simple idea behind it and applications that can change how your dog interacts with the world.

A link to a great sound desensitisation playlist:

Desensitisation is a term we use in dog training to describe when something is repeated over and over until your dog no longer cares about the situation.

Today Ill be going through two examples of desensitisation to leaving the room (goes hand in hand with separation anxiety) and desensitisation to having a collar fitted.

The concept for all applications:

Find at what point your dog notices, is excited or distressed by the situation.

Repeat up to this point repeatedly rewarding calmness

Keep increasing the intensity of the situation

Repeat regularly

Leaving the room:

My dog notices me leaving the room when I approach the door and turn the door handle. She is then excited and jumps up when I return.

I approach the door, and walk back to my original place on the sofa. I reward my dog with a gentle stroke and praise for being calm

When my dog understands to be calm I approach the door and return with no praise. Movement to door and back = nothing happens.

I continue building this up over regular short sessions - turn the handle, open the door an inch, open the door a little more, step out the door a little, step out and come back in

I can now leave the room and enter with my dog having no response aside from calmness

Having a collar fitted:

My dog is excited when I try to put a collar on her and is biting my hands as a response