Dog is Afraid of My Husband

A person posted this problem on my blog. Her foster dog had become slightly used to her husband using classical counterconditioning and systematic desensitization. But unless the husband was seated or lying down, the foster dog would bark, growl, and lunge. She wanted ideas on applying BAT to this situation. Here was my suggestion.

The benefit of living with the Scary Monster (your husband) is that you can do lots of short set-ups. In between, let your dog rest well – with a chew bone or whatever in another room (separate from hubby, ideally not alone unless the dog prefers that). I think you might be able to make a lot of progress this weekend if you strictly kept them apart except for multiple 5-30 minute sessions. Take 1-2 hours in between, longer if you went over threshold, shorter if it was fun.

You’ve already gotten him used to sitting and lying down with CC/DS. I would still do some BAT set-ups in those positions, as an easy way to get started. There may be some conflict because of the lack of balogna. If so, do Stage 2 BAT at first. Make a list of all the scary things your husband might do in real life and work on the more common ones first, at a distance. Ex: standing up, talking, moving arms, walking toward , hugging a child or you, putting shoes on, wearing a hat, carrying a box…

Work outside if any of these things are too challenging in a Stage 3 set-up indoors. Use Stages 1 or 2 (food plus retreat as rewards) if you have to.