Understanding Behavioral Modification Techniques as a Therapeutic Tool – WSAVA2005

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Hospital de pequeñas especies UNAM, Práctica privada etología clínica&#13

Finding out

It is really outlined as a long lasting change in the behavior, which is the end result of practical experience and natural environment functions, happens in all animals but is specially essential in canine.


Is referred to the impulse or desire to do a conduct, the commitment amount is the key to attempt to lower the actions by means of conduct modification techniques. (DS-CC).

Family members instruction

The accomplishment of the treatment is a behavior trouble that is relation immediately with the understanding and complicity of the owner, comprehension the particular behaviors of the specie as the person necessities, social firm and interaction.

Surroundings modification

Is referred to the modification of quite a few environment areas to diminish the enhancement or intensity of a habits.

 For illustration for the urine marking: (lower the variety of cats in the household or prevent the exposure with exterior cats)

 Reduce the possibility to make blunders to stay clear of the destruction (deliver a safe space of confinement)

 Change the habits conduct of an place to avoid the inappropriate elimination (location food or mattress in the inappropriate elimination website)

Actions modification by way of medical procedures

 Neuter (diminishes the sexual habits, aggressiveness, marking and helps prevent replica)

 Olfactory tractotomy (for complicated instances of urine spray in cats)

 Declaw and canine tooth elimination (to diminish the physical problems prospective)

 Devocalization (to minimize the too much vocalizations)

 With exception of the neuter, the other types are last useful resource methods

Other techniques of behavior modification

 Psychotropic medicine

 Synthetic or natural pheromones





Habits modification is the central element of the actions dilemma therapy in dogs and cats, mostly through finding out ideas.

Classical conditioning

 An unconditioned stimulus (UCS) generates a reflex conduct known as unconditioned reaction (UCR)

 A neutral stimulus (NS) does not have affect in excess of the reflex behavior is introduced frequently just prior to the (UCS) until eventually it turns into in a conditioned stimulus (CS) capable of making the response by itself.

Scientific examples

 An animal that provides a fear reaction when he goes to the veterinary clinic

 UCS = painful or intimidatory stimuli

 CS = clinic and professional medical team

 R = concern

Tying a constructive stimulus with a NE converts the NE in CE for a much more attractive response (Clicker instruction is secondary reinforcement).

Tying an aversive stimulus with a NE converts the NE in CE for worry or nervousness (a pet dog that would not reaction to the contacting mainly because when he arrives is locked out).

Operative conditioning or instrumental conditioning

It takes place when the final result of the carry out (outcomes) influences the likelihood of which the carry out repeats by itself (awards or punishments), it is achievable to occur independently of the interactions with the proprietor (a pet that, on obtaining recharged his fat on the cope with of the door, it manages to enter), (A dog that urinates in an undesirable location in absence of the operator), they increase the likelihood of repeating themselves due to the fact they obtain a reward in the minute of the motion (a pet dog that, soon after possessing eliminated in an unwanted spot, is severely punished diminishes the probability of which it removes once again reverse to the operator devoid of caring the position of elimination).

Beneficial reinforcement

The probability that a carry out repeats, increases as a consequence of a unique stimulus that happens right away soon after to the habits. (If you do X and a little something excellent occurs, you will continue on carrying out X)


The probability that a habits repeats, diminish as a consequence of a distinct stimulus that transpires immediately right after the habits. (If you do X and a thing bad happens, you will quit doing X)

Damaging reinforcement

The probability that a conduct repeats, boosts as a consequence of a command stimulus which is absent or is taken off if the habits takes place. (If you do X and anything terrible cease going on, you continue on undertaking X)

Paradigms and prevalent problems

 Reinforcement: The chance that the actions repeats raises

 Punishment: The likelihood that the actions repeats diminishes

 Positive: the manage stimulus is present or happens as a consequence of the conduct

 Negative: the management stimulus is absent or is removed as a consequence of the behavior

 Punishment and detrimental reinforcement is not the exact same

 Confusion with the expression destructive with aversive.


Procedure in which the animals master to adapt to stimuli or new ordeals, any time damaging penalties do not exist all through the exhibition, to study to reply in advance of a stimulus that is repeated without the need of effects and that tends to drop which means in the existence of the animal.

 Traveling in car or truck

 Confinement area

 Use of regulate accessories

 Exposure to men and women all through the early socializing stage


The suspension of reinforcements bears to the extinction of a perform, a specified perform can get lost if we get rid of all the stimuli that boost this carry out (A pet dog that asks for food of the desk and it stops supplying it to him, ends to halt asking). The extinction are unable to be adequate by itself by yourself to right any difficulties of carry out, conducts that have been reinforced intermittently are additional resistant to the extinction.

Once extinct they can re-arise with negligible provocation, for what the use of a differential reinforcement have to be made use of for replace the extinct reaction for other a single that is desirable. (substitute reaction)

Differential reinforcement

To reinforce a aggressive alternate perform (differential reinforcement of a new conduct) even though it is ignored (it is not bolstered) the unwanted conduct.

The fascinating carry out ought to be connected with the most beneficial reinforcement achievable, it is of equivalent relevance that the unwanted conduct does not continue on staying bolstered, the most sensible matter is to re-direct the carry out to a ideal target (To give toys to a pup and to reward it when it uses them and to ignore it absolutely if it attempts to chunk the arms of the owner).

Systematic desensibilization

The systematic desensibilization (SD) is made up in the sudden publicity of the animal to a stimulus able of developing worry, anxiety or aggression, in reduced intensities for not making a reaction.

The stimuli are progressively intensified to sufficiently minimal raises not to provoke that the response seems, the stimuli are recurring generally without impact right until they turn into inconsistent and a habituation is obtained.

The SD is usually employed as a complete with counterconditioning. For instance: a canine that is frightened to the thunders but not to a recording of thunders on minimal volume. The dog is uncovered to this stimulation and if it does not clearly show signs of nervousness a single presents him a useful reward (delicious meals). With the time, progressively the quantity is amplified and the pet dog can be desesensibilizied to the stimulus that provokes anxiety and counterconditioned to aid a optimistic perspective (prior to a reward) when he listens all over again the sound of thunders.

Managed Exposure

The controlled publicity is made up in cutting down the intensity of the stimulus in buy that the response of anxiety is minimized to a level in which the animal could be managed in a safe and powerful form. As shortly as the stimulus habituation comes about, the animal can be exposed progressively to additional powerful stimulation all through the subsequent meetings of treatment.

The managed exposure differs from the DS in that the animal is exposed at amounts minimal or controlled of the provocative stimulus as an alternative of stages of stimulation that automatically are kept underneath the threshold that provides fear or anxiety. In situation of the controlled publicity the animal can even encounter a point out of moderate stress.


Counterconditioning is a talent that consists in situation an animal to modify his emotional reaction toward a specific stimulus (independent response from voluntary command) by indicates of the achievement of a new perform which accomplishment is physiological or emotively incompatible with the perform that is need to be removed. The objective is to synchronize the stimulus or celebration that makes dread with a potent emotional reverse response (hugely constructive).


It consists on the continue exposure of the animal to a stimulus that has an intensity able of generating anxiety or stress and anxiety until finally the reaction yields.

The animal need to be exposed continuously to the stimulus until finally the dread yields and the stimulus is not associated once more with the dread. If the animal can’t escape of the stimulus and the stimulus stops staying menacing, the reaction of anxiety turns into extinct. If the stimulus is removed right before the signals of panic generate or if the proprietor presents affection or attention to try to “tranquil” the animal, the conduct of concern is bolstered instead of yielding. If the animal techniques back or escapes prior to the concern has yielded, the menace has been eliminated by the perform of leakage and the worry reinforces (destructive reinforcement).

Successive approximation or molding

It refers to the system by which the animal can be skilled to do more elaborate responsibilities by means of the building of a a lot more challenging stage in the information already existent. Little by little eliminating the rewards for the typical conducts and progressively just fulfilling for those that get nearer to the drive ultimate perform. For example: Obedience orders (lay down, in the vicinity of).

Educate the dog to bark when somebody is at the doorway (to start with reward him for barking, then only when the barking takes place near the doorway and last but not least only when anyone is at the door).

Useful implementation of behavioral modification

The habits modification is composed of the method of altering the conduct of an animal. Is a dynamic method where by, in an active or passive way, exists a continual mastering and in every thing that we do.

Unconsciously, lots of situations the owners use discovering or conduct modification ideas that in occasions it reinforces the behaviors that consequence bothersome (to notice a thrilled canine).

The proprietor need to comprehend that the mastering process happens all the time and by way of a acutely aware effort it can mildew the way, rhythm and complexity of the process, to get the suitable outcomes.

Likely troubles

The inertia may perhaps be a very effective power (unconsciously the owner fortify unwanted conducts), tough to change the lifestyle of the operator to be able to modify conducts, comprehending specifically what is pretended to obtain with a conduct modification method. After recognized that it has been utilized in the proper way (time, intensity and sufficient conversation).

Software of behavioral modification tactics

The owner ought to suspend every conduct that encourages the undesirable behaviors, establishing a clear and reliable communication in the conversation with their animals (to sit or lay down are indications of “stop”, in addition to, in the pet is a signal of difference that allows the proprietor to get the function of leader)

To train a carry out, it need to be rewarded every single time that the appealing carry out presents, to continue to keep a previously learnt conduct, the rewards will have to be intermittent (intermittent is not synonymous of sporadic)

Staying away from punishments, yelling o threats out of time and proportion, since the only thing that they cause is deficiency of self-confidence and dread. The objective of the correction is to interrupt and redirect (not to revenge, no make any difference how good the proprietor feels about it).

Some factors that could be misunderstood by the owners and medical professionals

1.  The behavioral modification is not obedience (to sit or lay down have the objective to promote a relaxation state, which promotes a lot more receptivity to modify the perform).

2.  Is important for the operator to understand the distinction (pressured or anxious canines are not equipped of studying a extra appropriate perform and undoubtedly they can not associate to sit or lay down with the risk of a little something very good if they are not calm).

3.  Teaching the proprietor that the behavioral modification tries to change the pet dog perception in his interactions, as a result of rewarding somatic indicators involved with sub laying physiological states.

4.  The obedience training differs from this premise with the behavioral modification mainly because the dog won’t have to be comfortable.

Ultimate considerations

 It will take a lot of time and energy, is not magic and the medical professional will have to enable in the method with regulate sessions.

 The health practitioner must get the job done with the doggy and the operator to educate ideal conducts and reveal the operator the motion system.

 Teach to the operator the behavioral modification technique and allowing him executing less than supervision.

 If there exists possibility of dangerous conducts, is critical that the proprietor does not has to discover it when he is on your own or devoid of help.

 If the operator are not able to or will never like to get the job done with the pet or his afraid of him to attempt it, the predicament has no cure.

 The cats can also learn through behavioral modification procedures.


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