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March 11, 2017

          Happy was a year and a half old female German Shepherd mix and the most fearful dog I had ever met. When strangers approached at a distance, rivulets of drool streamed from her mouth. She vomited when loaded into the car and of most concern was her great determination to slip out of her collar when on leash.

          I didn’t know then what I know now about exposure, threshold and reactivity. Still somehow, through instinct and compassion I was able to identify Happy’s triggers and humanely teach her to remain neutral in fearful situations. I naively achieved this using positive reinforcement and also by listening to Happy, letting her set the limits and never forcing her toward anything that frightened her....

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