Shared Blog Post – Why Counterconditioning “Doesn’t Work” or How to Help Ensure Counterconditioning Will Work

< Updated 11NOV21>

Angelica Steinker of Courteous Canine, Inc. wrote a brilliant article entitled Why Counterconditioning “Doesn’t Work” for the May 2015 issue of BARKS from the Guild, the professional journal of the Pet Professional Guild. Today the article was posted on the BARKS blog. My only criticism is, I think a better title would have been “How to Help Ensure Counterconditioning Will Work.”

In this article, the author discusses the typical reason a counterconditioning protocol fails; user error. In my experience, far too often, people with a fearful pet are in such a hurry to help their pet that they miss the keys to success that Steinker outlines in her article. The steps she describes can dramatically increase the odds of counterconditioning relieving the dog’s anxiety. The core message is the animal being counter conditioned MUST feel safe and relaxed.

This is a MUST READ for anyone working with fearful animals.

< Click here to read on the BARKS blog >

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog
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Help! My Dog is Aggressive, Reactive, Fearful, Anxious, etc. – What do I do?

How Can I Tell When My Dog Is Anxious or Fearful?

Introduction to Canine Communication

Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stress

Management of An Aggressive, Fearful or Reactive Dog

Shared Blog Post – the misunderstanding of time by Nancy Tanner

The emotional toll of a reactive dog by Jay Gurden in Dog’s Today –

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show
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Anxiety, Fears & Phobias with Dr. Christine Calder







Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop ( ) in Bangor, Maine, where he has been helping people with their pets since 1995. He is also the founder of, an online educational resource for people with dogs and cats. Don is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC), and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He is a member of the Pet Professional Guild (PPG), where he serves on the Board of Directors and Steering Committee and chairs the Advocacy Committee and The Shock-Free Coalition ( ). Don produces and co-hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show, that airs on Z62 Retro Radio WZON (AM620) and WKIT 103.3-HD3 and is streamed at every Saturday at 9 AM. Podcasts of the show are available at, the Apple Podcast app, and Don’s blog:  The opinions in this post are those of Don Hanson.

©11NOV21, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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