Systematic desensitization is an essential part of your toolbox to reduce and eliminate fear.
I know, ten syllables. And yet, it’s one of the most important tools in animal training, so… let me explain it, and perhaps it will be easier to digest.
Let’s call it SD for short.
Continue reading “Systematic desensitization – essential to reducing fear”
If you’ve read my other posts in this series, you know I’ve been promoting counterconditioning (or re-learning) as one of the best techniques to reduce fear in the veterinary clinic.
You might be thinking: “Aaaaw, that’s too much of a hassle, there’s no time. Why not just grab the animal, do what needs to be done, and with time, the animal will get used to it? It will habituate.”
There are four reasons why I don’t think that’s a good idea:
- If it works, it’s a slow process
- Meanwhile, you risk injury in staff handling the animal and difficulty in diagnosis.
- You run the risk of sensitization (the animal becoming successively more fearful)
- You risk confusing successful habituation with learned helplessness (animals giving up; a potentially pathological reaction)
Continue reading “4 reasons why habituation is not a good choice of technique to reduce fear at the vet’s”