Applied Behaviour Analysis in Dog Behaviour Modification *half-day workshop*
Lindsay R. Mehrkam, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Department of Psychology, Monmouth University, USA
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) aims to extend scientific behavioral principles to the understanding and modification of socially significant behavior. While ABA is well-established for the understanding and effective treatment of many clinical problem behaviors in human populations, the field in recent years has been extending into applied animal behavior. Dr. Mehrkam will discuss how a variety of validated ABA techniques– such as functional analysis, differential reinforcement, prompting, and preference assessments – are being extended to evidence-based assessment and treatment of problem behaviors in canines. This workshop will provide attendees with an overview of the research to date on ABA in nonhuman animals (with a focus on companion animals) as well as future directions for research and practice. Areas of emphasis will include aggression (resource guarding), compulsive behavior, social play, reinforcement-based training, and environmental enrichment. Workshop attendees will receive hands-on demonstrations and opportunities to measure behavior, visual tutorials that demonstrate how to assess the environmental causes of behavior through functional analysis, and designing and evaluating function-based treatments for immediate and lasting behavior change. Participants will also discuss ethical situations of extending ABA to nonhuman settings. Overall, this workshop will provide participants with a functional understanding of how environmental factors and breed influence both desirable species-typical behaviors (e.g., social play) and undesirable behavior (e.g., aggression and compulsive behavior) in nonhuman animals.