A HOLISTIC VIEW OF REACTIVITY: HOW WHAT WE DO AWAY FROM TRIGGERS HELPS US FACE THEM
Dante Camacho • LIVE (virtual)
Reactivity in dogs is one of the most challenging and common behavior issues we encounter as dog trainers. Dog guardians struggle to make sense of their dogs’ behavior. Trainers often see little and/or very slow progress in their training, which can be very frustrating.
In Dante Camacho's experience, dogs that are reactive face a complex and challenging environment even when they are not around the triggers for their specific reactive behaviors. Adding to the complexity of the challenge is that the triggers are difficult to control, especially in urban environments, which can make it even harder to implement training solutions focused on graduated exposure. Dante’s approach starts by recognizing this full environmental reality, and he works within that reality by placing much more emphasis on training, games, and exercises that have little to do with the trigger and precede standard procedures. In Dante’s experience, this strategy increases the usability, impact, and success of standard training procedures.
Dante approaches dog-reactivity work with what he calls a "holistic approach.” It is designed to provide dogs experience with, and understanding of, the operant procedures that will be used later in training. Dante's plan builds in the rehearsal of emotional variation in controlled settings, facilitates and captures appropriate responses, and aims to improve general well-being by increasing positive reinforcement at home and improving communication.
For several years, Dante has been teaching this approach online to students in Europe, South America, and North America. He has been very pleased with the reported outcomes, which have included a reduction in reactive behaviors before any counter-conditioning is started and shortening the distance at which desensitization begins.
From dogs to penguins to rhinos to alligators, behavior analysis has universal relevance across species, settings, and behaviors! At ClickerExpo LIVE, you’ll get the opportunity to observe a live behavior consultation between Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D. and the team at The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, as they teach a rhino and a “congregation” of alligators to participate in husbandry and medical care in real-time.
Until then, enjoy this short clip from their 2021 live consult, which focused on giraffes and penguins!