April 25, 2024
Categories: Research, Animal Behavior, Webcasts

It’s the final Maddie’s® Insights for the spring! Join us on Thursday, May 9th at 12:00PM PT/3:00PM ET for Impact of Classical Counterconditioning (Quiet Kennel Exercise) on Barking in Shelter Dogs with Sara Bennett DVM, MS, DACVB and Jamirelis Carrero, DVM candidate.

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, an overall positive change in attitude from most dogs towards visitors further showed the positive effects of the study.

The presentation addresses these issues with the following learning objectives:

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

About the presenters:

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 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.