The aim of this study was to investigate the feasibility and effectiveness of procedures successfully used in human related applied behaviour analysis practices to the field of clinical animal behaviour. Experiment 1 involved functional analyses to identify the reinforcement contingencies maintaining jumping up behaviour in five dogs. Experiment 2 comprised teaching dog owners a noncontingent reinforcement intervention (i.e., time-based reinforcement) via behavioural skills training. Single-case experimental methods were implemented in both experiments. The results of Experiment 1 showed that access to a tangible (dogs D01, D02, D03, and D04) and owner attention (dog D05) were reliably maintaining the jumping up behaviour. Experiment 2 demonstrated that noncontingent reinforcement effectively reduced jumping in three out of four dogs (Tau −0.59, CI 90% [−1–0.15], p = 0.026, Tau −1, CI 90% [−1–−0.55], p = 0.0003, and Tau −0.32, CI 90% [−0.76–0.11], p = 0.22 for dyads D01, D02, and D05, respectively), and that behavioural skills training was successful in teaching owners to perform a dog training intervention with high fidelity. Although the results are promising, more canine-related research into functional analysis and noncontingent reinforcement, as well as implementation of behavioural skills training with animal caregivers, is needed.
- companion dogs; functional analysis; noncontingent reinforcement; behavioural skills training; ABA