Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master in Applied Behavior Analysis


Behavior analysis

First Advisor

Robbie J. Hanson


Many dogs are relinquished to animal shelters and subsequently euthanized each year due to problem behaviors, such as excessive barking (ASPCA, n.d.). Unfortunately, punishment-based procedures (e.g., bark collars) have been commonly used to reduce these behaviors, despite negative side-effects such as escape and aggression. Functional communication training (FCT) involves teaching a replacement behavior that is functionally equivalent to the problem behavior and is a documented strategy to reduce problem behaviors in humans (e.g., Carr & Durand, 1985). In the current study, one 11-month old dog who had a history of whining, mouthing, and pawing was taught to mand (request) for outside, food, play, and rub via voice-recorded buttons based on when motivating operations (MOs) for these stimuli were known to be present. The results showed a decrease in problem behaviors and an increase in independent mands following intervention. Findings, limitations, and areas of future research are discussed.