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Dremel Desensitizing

To keep with the scary theme of the season I'm going to show you the process we took with Sassy, a five month old pup, to make her unafraid of the dremel. Nail trimming is a scary procedure for dogs. It is uncomfortable and they might even have a memory of their quick, which hurts. This is why it is important to ease them into the process.

For Sassy we took a few steps. First we desensitized her to the dremel for two weeks. This means we get her used to the sounds and smells of the device before we use it on her. To do that we used an adaptation of the "bucket game". She looked at the "bucket", the dremel moved toward her, click, and received a treat. We had already taught Sassy the bucket game to start teaching her patience. We simply converted it to a "consent" cue for the dremel approaching.

Originally it was my goal to have her sit still after the "consent" command with the dremel touching her. Quickly into that procedure I realized this just wasn't going to work with her high energy personality. Once it touched her she started reacting like it was an exciting game. We immediately switched to a distraction reward process with a peanut butter smeared bowl for her to lick only while she was being dremeled.

While I've been working with Sassy for a few months on a number of other behaviors and setting foundations, everything in you see in this video occurred during one session.

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