Resolving Challenging Behaviour

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This course is unfortunately closed. The next opportunity for enrollment will be in September 2023! 

The two kinds of challenging behaviours

When animals display undesired or challenging behaviours, these may be of two kinds:

  • The animal doesn’t show a particular behaviour, even though you’d like her to.
  • The animal shows a particular behaviour, although you’d rather she didn’t. 

The trick to solving both types of problems is understanding the why. 

And in the Resolving Challenging Behaviour course, I’ll teach you.

I’m an associate professor of ethology with a somewhat obsessive interest in animal behaviour, learning and welfare.

Admittedly, I have rather limited practical experience in this area. But I’m not basing this course on years of personal experience gained through trial-and error.

I’m basing it on the  fact that I’ve spent more than 17 years as an ethologist working to prevent and resolve behavioural challenges, and I’ve attended more than 60 international animal behaviour-related courses, conferences and seminars, where I’ve learned from some of the best contemporary animal trainers, behaviour consultants, and veterinarians in the world.

I approach behaviour from a multidisciplinary perspective, and apart from a solid background in applied ethology (how evolutionary principles affect behaviour), I have also studied how emotions impact behaviour (affective neuroscience), as well as the importance of context and previous learning in explaining behaviour (applied behaviour analysis).

“Keep up what you are doing!!  No one else compares to what you offer.” / Susan Tripp

I’ve distilled all those different perspectives into one extensive online course on the topic of tackling undesired behaviour.

Resolving Challenging Behaviour discusses the whys and gives you a structured approach to dealing with unwanted behaviour.

How will the resolving challenging behaviour course change your life- and that of your animal?
  • You’ll understand why the animal isn’t showing the behaviours that you wish she would show – and what to do about it.
  • You’ll learn why she shows undesired behaviours, and a systematic approach to address them.
  • You’ll be better able to prevent challenging behaviour in the animals you come across in the future.

Note that the Resolving Challenging Behaviour course covers general principles and gives examples from the most common type of behavioural challenges seen in companion animals, but it does not include any detailed and personal consulting on specific predicaments that you may be facing.

“I have attended many different dog courses with several course organizers, and your courses are of a much higher quality than all the others.” / Pia Bildt Ström
Who is this course for?

This course is for you if:

  • you have a passionate (verging on nerdy) interest in animal behaviour, learning and training. 
  • you’re interested in preventing and dealing with behavioural challenges.

I should warn you. This course is not a quick fix. If you don’t know that much about animal learning and behaviour, and just want your specific challenge resolved rather than understanding the whys, this course is not for you.

Also, this course is not for beginner trainers. You don’t have to have that much practical experience, but you should have a working knowledge of basic theoretical concepts related to operant learning and classical conditioning.

Why? Because so much of the resolution to behavioural challenges is about teaching the animal some other behaviour than the one she’s currently showing. So, knowing (at least in theory) how to do that is a prerequisite to taking this course.

If you feel like maybe you’re not there yet, I suggest you start out with this foundational animal training course to develop those skills – or hire a behavioural consultant, who can guide you through your specific challenge, and provide ongoing feedback and advice tailored to your particular situation.

“Karolina, I want to say how much I enjoyed this course. It’s not just the material, but also how you present information in a conversational and entertaining way. I have picked up a lot of new ideas or things to think about, and also plan to go through it again more slowly as I have time” / Katie Bartlett
How is this online course delivered?
  • The 10 modules are released every 7 or 14 days (the shorter modules with a week’s interval, the longer ones with two weeks’ spacing) during 3,5 months.
  • This course makes the most out of the online format by using micro-learning: the content videos are short (most in the range of 5 to 15 minutes).
  • The course modules are prerecorded and you can watch the videos at your convenience.
  • There are 10 modules (∼140 videos) in the course, and about 24 hours of content in total – but typically, many students return again and again to the videos, spending much more time than that revisiting the material.
  • All videos are subtitled in English – this makes it easier for the many non-native English speakers among the students.
  • There are thought-provoking questions throughout the course, as well as voluntary self-assessments at the end of each module.
  • Many students take an active part in this course and help shape it! This peer-to-peer learning in the comments’ section is one of the most exciting and rewarding aspects of my courses!
  • There are written summaries and audio files that you can download and keep.
  • You have access to the course for an entire year after purchase.
  • You’ll be invited to a secret Facebook Group, where you can connect, share and discuss with other animal lovers – with continued lifetime access!
  • If you have use of Continued Educational Units, I’m planning to ask the IAABC and the PPAB for CEUS for this course. Let me know if you need any other organization’s CEUs!
  • After you finish, you’ll get a certificate of completion and a banner that you can display on your website.
“I have to thank you for this marvelous course! Thousands of thoughts are crossing in my mind, and it is also interesting to read comments of the professionals all over the world. I have to take it slowly, step by step, because there is so much important knowledge.” / Iina Valkeajärvi
Course details.

The course looks at behavioural challenges from a holistic perspective and discusses multidisciplinary approaches to resolving them. There are examples from multiple animal species, and in each module, there are up to several Deep Dives into specific types of challenges. Below follows a quick guide to the main topics covered in the different modules:

Module 1 – Not Getting Behaviour?

In this module, we discuss the two main types of behavioural challenges, and specifically how to address the type 1- challenge (when the animal doesn’t show the behaviours that we are trying to teach).

  • Two types of Challenges
  • Behaviour Change
  • Teacher’s Task
  • The Trust Account
  • Getting Behaviour
  • Induction, Garbage and Loopy Training
  • Motivation Challenges
  • Communication Challenges
  • Deep Dive: Cue Challenges

“It is no secret that your courses are amongst those I appreciate most
of all the great courses out there. This one is no exception. I really
liked this first module.” / Trude Øverlie

Module 2 – Understanding Causes

In this module, we discuss why animals start showing behaviours that to us are in some way undesired – the type-2 challenge.

  • The Four Roles of the Problem Solver
  • Mismatch
  • Misconceptions and Myths
  • Problem Identification
  • To Label or Not to Label
  • Finding the Cause
  • Physical Causes
  • Social Causes
  • Environmental Causes
  • Psychological Causes
  • Learning Causes
  • Deep Dive: Stereotypic Behaviour
“I FREAKING love how I am constantly being challenged on my current world view!!! 👏👏👏” / Kristin Due Holmegaard

Module 3 – Moods and Emotions

In this module, we discuss just how heavily mood states and emotions influence perception, decision making and behaviour.

  • Emotions and Challenging Behaviours
  • Core Affect Space
  • Polyvagal Theory
  • SSDRs and Predatory Imminence
  • Triggers, Candles and Flipping Out
  • Stress and Coping
  • Classical Conditioning and Anticipation
  • Recognizing Avoidance
  • Conflicting Motivations
  • Assessing Moods and Emotional States
  • Calming Signals
  • Deep Dive: Reactivity
  • Deep Dive: Separation-Related Challenging Behaviour
  • The Human
“So, I am loving ALL of the chapters – but #6 was super chocked full of seriously important goodies with immediate relevance about stress, cortisol and healing. 🙂” / Virginia Ellis on the chapter on stress and coping

Module 4 – Finding the Function

In this module, we look how the science of Behaviour Analysis addresses challenging behaviour in animals, and the ethical perspective when it comes to selecting our approach.

  • MHERA
  • Applied Behaviour Analysis
  • Ten Steps of Conducting Behaviour Analysis
  • Finding the Function
  • The Antecedent Stage
  • Three Types of Antecedents
  • Functional Assessments and the Competing Behaviour Model
  • The Balance of Reinforcement
  • Setting Goals
  • Pick Your Battles
  • Ethical Perspectives
  • Pros and Cons of the Humane Hierarchy
  • Deep Dive: Barking Dogs
  • Deep Dive: Peeing Cats
“I loved this module because it is so compassionate towards the animal and applies what we know about emotions, physical needs, stress and all factors we might not automatically think of.” / Cindy Pratt

Module 5. Changing Moods

In this module, we’ll look at ways of helping the animal feel differently about the world, so that he becomes less bothered by current triggers. By changing moods, we can change behaviour.

  • Time to Take Action
  • Setting the Ideal Mood State
  • Diet and Behaviour
  • SEEKING and Enrichment
  • Deep Dive: Food-Related Frustration in Horses
  • Control
  • Start Buttons – Introduction
  • How to Train Start Buttons
  • Problem-Solving Games
  • Deep Dive: Mands
  • CARE and Safety
  • PLAY Shapes the Brain
  • The GRIEF System
  • Deep Dive: Proxemics
  • FEAR: Innate and Learned
  • RAGE and Other Types of Aggression
  • Managing LUST
“ “Feeling safe is not about the absence of threats, but about the presence of safety-cues”. Absolutely logical in hindsight, but mind-blowing when thinking about it first. … I wrote it down and pinned it at the wall, to take it to heart.” / Tine Dosdall on the chapter on CARE and safety.

Module 6: Changing Emotions

In this module, we’ll look at ways of helping the animal feel differently about the actual triggers in his environment. By changing emotions, we can change behaviour.

  • ESTA
  • Exposure Techniques – Intro
  • Habituation
  • Flooding
  • Sensitization
  • Systematic Desensitization
  • Counterconditioning
  • CCC and OCC
  • SD/CC
  • Masking
  • Remove Inhibitors
  • Biofeedback and Relaxation
  • Other Ways of Addressing FEAR
  • Deep Dive: Resource Guarding
“I’m so grateful for you helping me back up with even more theoretical knowledge/competence as to why I do the things I do! ❤️This module absolutely made me feel safer and more certain about my training.” / Eva Lynn Karstensen

Module 7 – Changing Functions

In this module, we look closely at the ABC-function of the behaviour in its current context, and what we might do to change that function. By changing functions, we can change behaviour.

  • Getting Myopic
  • Antecedent Strategies
  • Put Behaviour On Cue
  • Non-Contingent Reinforcers
  • Differential Reinforcement
  • DRAs and DRIs
  • DROs
  • Applying Matching Law
  • The Premack Principle
  • Behavioural Momentum
  • Operant Extinction
  • Respondent Extinction
  • Measuring Behaviour
  • Deep Dive: The Functional Analysis
  • Evaluation
“This module helped me deepen my knowledge and better understand the different tools that can be used to understand and change behavior, if necessary.” / Carol Stevenson

Module 8 – Getting Creative

In this module, we look at inventive and humane ways that modern animal trainers and behaviour consultants are exploring to resolve challenging behaviour.

  • Combining Techniques
  • ACE Free Work
  • Control Unleashed
  • Intro to CAT
  • The CAT Procedure
  • BAT
  • The LRS
  • Deep Dive: Shifting Glasses
“I think the module has given me more confidence that what I am doing is worthwhile pursuing, and I have more understanding where it all fits in.” / Anne Woolley

Module 9 – Prevention

In this module, we discuss ways of avoiding challenging behaviour from ever developing in the first place – and how we can prepare for stress-free veterinary visits.

  • An Ounce of Prevention
  • Socialization
  • Latent Inhibition, Counterconditioning and Learned Irrelevance
  • Appropriate Behaviour and Skills
  • Deep Dive: Introductions
  • Too Late or Not at All
  • Being the Client
  • Deep Dive: to Feed or Not to Feed
  • The Fear Free Paradigm Shift
  • Sensory Experiences at Vets and Shelters
  • From Maintenance to Pharma
  • Worst Case Scenarios
“Another super interesting chapter with lots of interesting points. I especially liked the suggestion of changing our mindsets from giving the animal the responsibility to learn impulse control, to taking responsibility of the environment to teach them stimulus control.” / Suzy Reilly on the appropriate behaviour and skills-chapter

Module 10 – Punishment

In this final module, we discuss why punishment is such a bad choice when it comes to resolving challenging behaviour.

  • A Culture of Coercion and Punishment
  • Two Definitions of Punishment
  • Punishment or Negative Reinforcement?
  • The Aversive Stimulus
  • Effect on Unwanted Behaviour
  • Effect on Animal
  • Effect on Punisher
  • Positive Punishment
  • Negative Punishment
  • Deep Dive: Incapacitation or Resilience?
  • Conditioned Aversives
  • Interrupting Undesired Behaviour
  • How to Use Punishment
  • When to Use Punishment
“At last – Someone who is not afraid to deal with the stigma of punishment… a very much needed part of education. Learning about punishment opens so many doors to how we can avoid using it – and to accept that its a real-life phenomenon.” / Jill Jones
Bonuses!

The bonus material for this course consist of 30-40 minute long Case Studies, where I discuss a specific topic with an expert in the field, including illustrative videos.  

  • Module 1: Peta Clarke discusses different ways to improve recalls.
  • Module 2: Kristin Kuntz talks about how pain may impact behaviour – and how to diagnose it.
  • Module 3: Julie Naismith explains how “separation anxiety” in dogs actually consists of several different behavioural clusters, and when different interventions are required.
  • Module 4: Ryan Cartlidge guides us through the Behaviour Analytical perspective when it comes to understanding challenging behaviour and identifying the function it currently serves.
  • Module 5: Karin Pienaar reveals how she used environmental enrichment to change the mood state – and thus resolve some pretty challenging behaviour, in a gorilla.
  • Module 6: Kristina Spaulding shines a light on the research on resilience.
  • Module 7: Yvette van Veen explains when and how to train DROs (Differential Reinforcement of Other behaviour) – and how people go wrong when attempting this procedure.
  • Module 8: Julie Lannen shows us how she tweaked the CAT procedure (Constructional Aggression Treatment) for horses.
  • Module 9: Monique Fayrecilde discusses Fear-Free approaches and Cooperative Care for cats.
  • Module 10: Eileen Koval illustrates how to train snake avoidance behaviour in dogs – without using punishment but positive reinforcement.

When you become a student, you’ll be getting weekly emails while the course modules are being delivered. I’ll also keep you posted on my other free webinars, masterclasses, silly experiments, online courses and blog posts!

Frequently Asked Questions
  • “How do I get the most out of the course?”

My courses are best enjoyed by students who engage in discussions and are active participants – and this engagement doesn’t necessarily have to occur as the modules are released; many students fall behind..! 🙂 Even though the course will be released over a few months, you have a full year to finish it – there’s no rush!

  • “Is it worth it?”

This course is designed to help both pet guardians and animal professionals  prevent and diminish challenging behaviour in the animals in their care. This could have profound implications for animals’ quality of life – as well as their humans’.

Also, there’s a 30-day refund period – no questions asked! So, there’s no risk involved.

  • “Is there a scholarship program?”

Yes, but unfortunately the admissions are now closed. 

  • “Will it work for me?”

I feel I need to set your expectations. This course is not intended as a quick fix, and I won’t be taking you by the hand and guiding you through all your individual problematic situations, or provide any detailed step-by-step recipes for how to solve your particular behavioural issue.

Rather than solving your animal’s behavioural challenges for you, I’ll teach you a systematic way to address, prevent, and hopefully resolve, those problems all on your own.

If you feel that you need close mentoring and guidance to address your particular behavioural challenge, I think you’ll get better help by hiring a professional behavioural consultant. Find one here – many of them will provide online consultations!

  • “But I’m interested in dogs/horses/cats/parrots – wouldn’t I be better off taking a dog/horse/cat/parrot course on problem solving?”

This may sound counter intuitive, but you’ll actually become better at addressing your dog’s behaviour (or your horse’s/cat’s/parrot’s behaviour) by learning more about how to address and resolve the challenging behaviour exhibited by multiple animal species. This requires flexibility, which is one of the most important qualities required to be good at resolving behavioural issues.

  • “What if I change my mind?”

If you sign up and later feel that this course is not for you, there’s a 30-day refund policy. You’ll get your money back – guaranteed! This means that you can actually get free access to almost half of the course content, since 4 out of 10 modules are released by day 30.  

  • “Right now is not a good time for me. Can I join later?”

The next opportunity of taking this course will be in September of 2023. 

The price of this extensive course is US$ 497:- plus taxes.

There’s no wait list, but if you want to make sure that you get notified when the enrollment week occurs, sign up below! I’ll also keep you posted on blog posts, silly experiments, free masterclasses and trainings, as well as my other extensive courses – all about animal behaviour, learning and welfare!

“Karolina has an extraordinary talent for making complicated content accessible and interesting. This amazing course jampacked with knowledge has given me an invaluable insight into solving behavioural challenges in animals.” / Anita Plesner

51 Replies to “Resolving Challenging Behaviour”

  1. Hi
    I am from India. am a Dog Trainer, Pet Sitter and Boarder with 3 years plus explosure to handling pet Dogs.
    I am very much interested in this.
    But honestly I am unsure if I can afford to invest this year.
    Please share details of what is qualification criteria for Scholarship.

    1. Hi Shilpa, the selection of scholarship students will be in September, and I try to find people who will make an impact in their community, to help spread the ripples, so to speak! 🙂

  2. Hi Karolina,

    Please can I ask how much the course is?

    I started my dog training business a year ago, and absolutely adore my clients and their wonderful dogs. I have learned through concept and games based training, which I absolutely love. It’s made a huge difference with my own dogs, but I’m aware that this is an area that my knowledge could be even better, therefore allowing me to empower my clients further switch their trickier companions

    Thanks 😊
    Juliette

  3. I have been working with scent dogs for 21 years, I took the course last year, I learned a lot from Karoline, she is fantastic. I always recommend.

    1. Yes I do, Lee – the link will go live when the course opens, so come back here on September 9-13th to apply! 🙂

  4. Hi Karolina,
    I am considering redoing the course, although I only did the previous one 2020 I felt I got so much out of it and I believe my clients and their dogs and their related pets also benefited.
    I realise that I can just re-read my notes but I understand that you have added and regigged some of the chapters. So what to do a dilemma😂??
    Guidance is what I need ha ha. Maybe apply to your scholarship path, it may make the decision easier 😂
    Kind regards
    Suzy Reilly

    1. Hi Suzy, as an alumnus you’ll get an 80% discount..! 😉 There will be much restructuring of the course and, I hope, interesting conversations – but I’m not foreseeing that much novel material in this revision. Not sure that helped..? 😉

  5. Hi Karolina,
    I am sorry for the delay in replying to your reply, re:- Resolving Challenging Behaviour. I am still undecided and time is running out…
    Can you please give me the financial breakdown, less 80% , it might clear my addled brain – we are in the process of moving.
    If you would like to pm me that’s good. Suzy

  6. Looking forward to this! I won registration from the APDT online auction. How do I register? They said I would get an email with the details.

    1. Hi Janice – congratulations! I emailed you on Aug 24th, didn’t the email get through..? We will set you up as a user, and you’ll get the login details next week, when the course opens! 🙂

      1. Thanks for the reply. No I didn’t receive the email. 🙁 I’ll watch for the email next week. I’m looking forward to the course.

        1. OK, good to know. Make sure to contact me again if you don’t get the onboarding messages – should be by Saturday at the latest (it’ll be my husband Tobias setting it up!)

          1. Ive received the registration email to sign up and pay. Will there be a different email message giving me all the information for logging in and participating?

          2. Hi!

            I haven’t received any of the onboarding materials. I’m getting the emails for registration, but it takes me directly to the payment page.

          3. Don’t worry Janice, Tobias has had a couple of busy days – he should be on it! 🙂

          4. You should be in now – expect two emails! 🙂 Let me know if they don’t arrive!

  7. Hi Karolina 🙂
    Are written summaries available (in edit modus)? My english is not so well, so I will have to use a dictionary…a lot 🙂

    1. Hi Katarzyna, the written summaries are pdfs so depending on your software you might be able to edit them..?

      I have a lot of students whose first language is not English and they’re greatly helped by the subtitles of the videos 🙂

  8. hi!
    I really want to join your course!

    My brand is an unregistered sole proprietorship which I use for my identification number in Iceland (Kennital number).

    Is there a chance to get a confirmation of the course purchase for my Kennital ID number? 🙂

    Please tell me if there is still spot and when do I have to transfer the money at the latest?

    1. Hi Wioletta,

      Glad to hear you want to join the course! There is still a spot for you!

      If your company is registered with a VAT-number valid for cross border transactions we can send you an invoice with no VAT on it (it’s called reverse charge). If your company is not registered we are unfortunately required by EU-law to charge VAT. This VAT is not deductable in another EU member state, and hence we can not issue an receipt with your local Kennital ID number on it.
      Tax rules on services sold within the EU isn’t all that easy to understand…

      Don’t hesitate to contact me at tobias.f@illis.se if you have any further questions. Hope to see you in the course! //tobias

  9. Hi Karolina, I would really like to take this course. Preaviously I have taken the Getting Behavior and Animal emotions and they where amazing, I just wonder if there is any discount for former students.?Your the best 😊

    1. Hi Key, no there’s no discount for former students of other courses. However, once you’ve taken a course, you have a huge discount for that particular course in its next incarnation! 🙂

  10. Dear Karolina,
    Thank you so much for this free masterclass. Very interesting and valuable knowledge.
    I’m very interested in buying an RCB course privately this year. Please if there is a possibility of a discount, because I have lost my job at the moment and it would mean a lot to me. I also ask you IBAN so than I can make a payment through the account, because at the moment (until the end of the month) I am not able to otherwise. Thank you so much.
    Nice regards, Rakovac

    1. Dear Rakovac, unfortunately we have no system to give discounts. Did you apply for the scholarship? If you don’t receive it, Tobias can help set up a split payment option.

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