Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #182
CE Offered: BACB
Fido, No! Using Principles From Behaviour Analysis to Investigate Canine Undesired Behaviour, Owner Training, and Interventions
Sunday, May 30, 2021
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Area: AAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Erica N. Feuerbacher (Virginia Tech)
CE Instructor: Nicole Pfaller-Sadovsky, M.S.
Presenting Author: NICOLE PFALLER-SADOVSKY (Queen's University Belfast)

Dog ownership has been shown to provide many benefits to humans, such as increased and regular walking, improved cardiovascular health, as well as increased social interactions. However, dogs can display behaviours that are problematic for their owners and their respective social environment. Such behaviours include jumping up on people or aggressive responses toward other individuals. In an effort to alleviate their dogs’ problematic behaviour, owners often reach out to companion animal behaviourists or trainers. However, the interventions’ effectiveness and their outcomes can be variable, especially if there are a lack of resources, such as time, skills, and finances. Unresolved problem behaviour in dogs often leads to a breakdown of the owner-dog relationship and may result in relinquishment and euthanasia. Therefore, our research is aimed at investigating the characteristics of behavioural interventions that may contribute to their ease of implementation and effectiveness (e.g., clicker training and time-based delivery of reinforcers). This presentation will introduce our work on systematically testing intervention components, such as modelling or feedback. We identified variables maintaining problematic behaviour through functional behaviour assessments, and implemented interventions based on respective information. Attendees will learn about the effectiveness of different intervention components, the time-based response-independent delivery of reinforcers (i.e., noncontingent reinforcement) and clicker training.

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

Applied behaviour analysts, animal behaviourists, students, and dog owners

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation attendees will be able to: (1) identify intervention components that increase effectiveness; (2) discuss the time-based response-independent presentation of a reinforcer (noncontingent reinforcement) with dogs; (3) discuss the implementation and effectiveness of clicker training.
NICOLE PFALLER-SADOVSKY (Queen's University Belfast)

As a long-time dog owner (since 1994) and a “Dog Trainer Certified According to Animal Welfare and Protection Legislation” (awarded by the Austrian Ministry of Health and the Messerli Research Institute), Nicole founded her own dog training business in 2008, Happy-Fellow® Coaching & Seminars. Since then she has worked with a range of clients whose dogs display problematic behaviours, such as fear-related behaviour, inter- and intraspecific aggression or stereotypic behaviours. Additionally to her work as a behaviour consultant, Nicole frequently teaches retrieving classes as a fun and stimulating activity for all dogs but also for dog-owner teams participating in retriever-specific competitions. Nicole holds a BSc (Hons) degree in Applied Animal Behaviour from the University of Portsmouth (UK) and a MSc degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis from Queen’s University Belfast (UK). Currently, Nicole is working toward her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences with an emphasis in Behaviour Analysis at Queen’s University Belfast. She conducts research on canine learning, human-dog interactions and owner training from a behaviour-analytic perspective.




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