Sensitize: To become more sensitive, alert, fearful or reactive to a specific situation through repeated exposures. For example, a noise may initially cause a dog to startle, but after hearing the noise repeatedly, he may progress to shaking and stress panting when he hears it.
In the Video above I talk more about how my foster dog, Winnie, began to become Sensitized when the smoke alarm goes off in the house. Rather than getting over her fear she became more and more reactive to the sudden, unexpected noise that screamed from every ceiling in the house.
It is important to remember to be a proactive trainer and be ready to train when such events occur. I always broke out some AWESOME food items that she never got any other time. She only got them when the alarm went off unexpectedly. By being proactive Winnie got over her sensitization and was able to recover much more quickly from such unexpected events. (See also: Habituate and Systematic Desensitization.)
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Trainer Talk is a small-bite blog geared towards Caitlin’s Animal Training clientele to improve their knowledge of primarily dog training concepts and terminology they will hear throughout their personalized training sessions.