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  • 1.  Maddie's Insights webcast May 9, 2024: Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Shelter Dogs

    Posted 04-11-2024 10:10 AM

    Maddie's Insights are a series of webinars about the latest research in animal well-being and how you can use the findings in your shelter and community.

    This webcast was recorded on Thursday, May 9, 2024 at 12n Pacific/3p Eastern (43 minutes)

    WATCH THE RECORDING ON MADDIE'S UNIVERSITY: https://university.maddiesfund.org/products/maddies-insights-impact-of-classical-counterconditioning-quiet-kennel-exercise-on-barking-in-shelter-dogs-ondemand

    A major welfare concern in animal shelters is excessive barking from kenneled dogs. This contributes to noise pollution, can cause hearing damage, and has a negative impact on all animals within earshot. This study demonstrated that by implementing a simple classical counterconditioning exercise, consisting of instructing all ward passers-through to toss treats to each dog regardless of behavior exhibited, could change the emotional state of dogs from negative to more positive, thus reducing fear and frustration that often leads to excessive barking.

    Data analysis showed that implementation of this simple exercise did reduce barking at clinically relevant levels even with a changing shelter population.  Additionally, for each percent increase in compliance rate, there was an average decrease of 17.3 dB in the maximum decibel reading. Moreover, an overall positive change in attitude from most dogs towards visitors further showed the positive effects of the study.

    Learning Objectives:

    1.     Attendees will learn to identify and apply basic learning theory, specifically focusing on Classical (Pavlovian) Conditioning, to dogs in a kennel setting.

    2.     Attendees will learn to identify risks and consequences of noise pollution in shelters, and also ways to reduce it to improve welfare of all species in the shelter.


    This webinar has been pre-approved for 1.0 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credits by The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and by the National Animal Care & Control Association. It has also been approval for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize the Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE) approval.

    About the presenters

    portrait of Dr. Sara Bennett
    @Sara Bennett DVM, MS, DACVB (Behavior)

    Dr. Bennett received her DVM degree in 2006 from Purdue University and later completed a residency in animal behavior with a focus on shelter medicine, obtained a master of science degree, and became certified as a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists in 2012. She spent time in specialty private practice and held a position as co-instructor for the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Shelter Medicine Program, focusing on Shelter Animal Behavior and Welfare, for 8 years. She is currently a clinical assistant professor of clinical sciences in the behavior department at the College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University. Dr. Bennett particularly enjoys addressing problem behaviors in sheltered and rescued animals through clinical practice and research, thereby helping to protect animal welfare, making the sheltering experience less stressful, strengthening the human-animal bond, and increasing the likelihood that pets' new homes become their forever homes.

    Jamirelis Carrero (Jami) holding  a white and tan rabbit@Jamirelis Carrero (Jami)

    DVM candidate, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine

    Jamirelis Carrero is an incoming third year vet student at North Carolina State University. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, and Jami has a bachelor's degree in animal science from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez Campus. After completing a summer research study under the guidance of Dr. Sarah Bennett and the Veterinary Scholars Program, Jami is passionate about finding ways to use behavior modification techniques to improve the quality of care that animals receive in shelters and clinical scenarios.


    #Behavior,TrainingandEnrichment
    #DataandTechnology
    #EducationandTraining

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    Alison Gibson
    Media Projects Manager
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 2.  RE: Maddie's Insights webcast May 9, 2024: Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Shelter Dogs

    Posted 18 days ago

    Right before the meeting ended, there was a question posted in the Q/A box that we didn't get to:

    Do you think you could apply something like this in a veterinary clinic that does day boarding where the population of dogs changes even over the course of the same day?

    Jamirelis and Dr. Bennett answered:

    Yes, the project is designed to be applied anywhere that houses kenneled dogs. The pilot study was actually done in a boarding facility here at NC State were all the dogs that participated were owned and only there for a few hours a day. We anticipate that it can show positive results in various settings! 






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    Alison Gibson
    Media Projects Manager
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 3.  RE: Maddie's Insights webcast May 9, 2024: Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Shelter Dogs

    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous
    Posted 15 days ago
    This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous

    This works very well! We attended the APDT Conference last year (2023) and went through the presentations of something similar to this without the use of treats.  While we were volunteering at our local shelter, we did this and what we learned from the conference. Each time we went to the shelter and did these things, the dogs settled faster each time.   We also used our hand as a target for the dogs to follow down to the floor without treats.  Then delivered a treat with the other hand.  We were able to settle a room of 30ish dogs in less than a minute.  It was under 30 seconds when staff was doing this with us.  This also helped some dogs that were shy and timid. They would be in the back of the kennel but, we would toss the treat under the kennel door to them. Eventually those dogs started coming up to the door when they saw us coming.  We started seeing a difference in the shy and timid ones after a few weeks when we went to the shelter.  They all knew what we were about.  Thank you for this! This is wonderful!




  • 4.  RE: Maddie's Insights webcast May 9, 2024: Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Shelter Dogs

    Posted 14 days ago

    This is wonderful! thank you so much for sharing! 

    Glad to see that we are not the only ones trying new methods for noise reduction 



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    Jamirelis Carrero
    Veterinary Student
    North Carolina State University
    NC
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  • 5.  RE: Maddie's Insights webcast May 9, 2024: Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Shelter Dogs

    Posted 16 days ago

    We do this at our shelter, however, we still have barking. We generally have visitors treat when they see "four on the floor" - and yet some dogs are not treat motivated, and others pause their barking for only a moment with the visitor, then resume. They ignite each other, as you know. We do not have kennels that face each other, but instead just a wall in front of the kennel. And we cover the bottom half of most doors.



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    Kendra Wagner
    Volunteer
    Whatcom Humane Society
    WA
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  • 6.  RE: Maddie's Insights webcast May 9, 2024: Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Shelter Dogs

    Posted 14 days ago

    We train all our volunteers to walk down the kennel hallway and treat all the dogs. I ask those who are physically able to squat down and toss the treat under the door so that we reward four-on-the-floor. But for those who can't, tossing a treat over the door is fine. By tossing the treat under the door we get a double benefit, but the key is to make the connection "visitors means good stuff happens." I suggest not waiting for four on the floor - just get a treat to them quickly anyway you can. 

    I've found that even dogs who throw themselves against the kennel door will decrease the intensity of response over time. One such dog now sits and waits for me when she sees me coming. 

    Yesterday I did a training with 5 new volunteers. I always include a short intro about good manners in the hallway - don't make direct eye contact, turn your head, stand sideways to the door, and if you're able scoot a treat under the door to the dog or just toss the treat over. While we went over those manners we could hear the dogs barking wildly while visitors went through. We went through treating as we went, and by the time we got to the end of the 10 kennels on each side hallway and turned back and did the same going back, it was almost silent - with the exception of our one dog who barks non-stop to communicate and isn't treat motivated . That relative quiet was a powerful lesson in what works.



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    Eudora Watson
    Animal Enrichment and Volunteer Coordinator
    Potsdam Humane Society Shelter
    New York
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  • 7.  RE: Maddie's Insights webcast May 9, 2024: Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Shelter Dogs

    Posted 14 days ago

    Amazing! 

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, I love that you take the time to explain it to volunteers and visitors. It's an essential part of this exercise. Keep it up!



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    Jamirelis Carrero
    Veterinary Student
    North Carolina State University
    NC
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  • 8.  RE: Maddie's Insights webcast May 9, 2024: Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Shelter Dogs

    Posted 14 days ago

    Hey Kendra!

    I did encounter a lot of dogs that were not food motivated during my time at the shelter, especially the first days of their stay as they were too anxious.  However, even when we had a few in our population that continue to bark excessively we were able to reduce the noise level overall which should be the goal when implementing this exercise.  I would advice using other forms of enrichment with these specific dogs like toys and more frequent walks.  Or maybe trying new flavor treats and giving them time to make the connection.  Glad to see that you are trying different techniques, Keep up the good work! 



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    Jamirelis Carrero
    Veterinary Student
    North Carolina State University
    NC
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