In my life long journey to help humans understand their companion dogs, I wanted to offer you a list of safe reading material from reputable authors and scientists. Changing unwanted behavior is a scientific systematic process frequently using desensitization and counter conditioning.
Desensitization is defined as the diminished emotional responsiveness to a negative or aversive stimulus. This process was developed by psychologist Mary Cover Jones. As a Positive Reinforcement Dog Behavior Consultant, I use desensitization and counter conditioning to diminish the dog’s emotional response by changing how the dog feels about a particular stimulus.
Like you, I sought out a reward based professional (as opposed to correction trainers) in 2000 to counter condition my first family dog Annie. In the first few months we had Annie, she began to exhibit territorial behavior in our yard. She charged and bit 3 different delivery men, causing 7 deep punctures. After weeks of desensitization and counter conditioning, Annie went on to earn her Canine Good Citizen certification in two different states and continued on to earn her Therapy Dog International Certification and visited many nursing homes and hospitals. Not all dogs are as resilient as Annie. In fact, my two other territorial rescue dogs were not. I want to help you understand your dog’s arousal and resiliency, while showing you how to change your dog’s behavior.
Books on canine body language, relationships, learning theory, positive reinforcement training and counter conditioning are a great way to understand why your dog is acting a certain way.
Understanding who the dog is based on his temperament traits will help identify why he is responding a certain way. This knowledge will help you identify if your dog can change his behavior and how long it might take. The following resources are only a few of my favorites and are available through Dogwise at www.dogwise.com.
- Calming Signals, by Turid Rugaas
- Canine Body Language: A Photographic Guide, by Brenda Aloff
- Culture Clash, by Jean Donaldson
- Dog Behavior Books by Ian Dunbar
- Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor
- Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior & Training: Steven R. Lindsay
- Dog-to-Dog Aggression Video, by Sue Sternberg
- Dog Language, by Roger Abrantes
- Excel-erated Learning, by Pamela Reid
- Low Stress Handling by Sophia Yin
- How to be the Leader of the Pack, by Patricia McConnell
- How to Speak Dog, by Stanley Coren
- The Dog Listener, by Jan Fennell
- The Power of Positive Training, by pat miller
- Living with Kids and Dogs, by Colleen Pelar
- Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Suzanne Clothier