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Happy Handling - When Resilience Conditioning Creates Cooperation

Happy Handling for Pet Dogs
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Does your pet panic when walking into the vet clinic? Do they fight tooth and nail against nail trims or brushing at home? Are you filled with dread every time your pet has a medical issue because they can’t be touched by a veterinarian? Maybe you always had to pay for sedated care for a previous pet and want to make sure your new furry friend LOVES to go to the vet.

Fear not! Happy Handling is here to help.

Cooperative Care refers to training animals to opt-into their care. While no two programs look the same, cooperative care typically includes desensitization, counter-conditioning, and skill building with positive reinforcement. By providing our pets with agency, we can help them feel safe being handled, no matter what we need to do to ensure their health and well-being. What does a Resilience Conditioning training plan based around the Resilience Rainbow look like? What are the advantages of this approach? We will explore these concepts and exercises through case examples.
Meet the instructor

Evia Russell, CDBC 

Evia Russell, CDBC, graduated from Carleton College in 2014 with a B.A. in Animal Behavior. While in school, she researched the communication differences between New World monkeys and humans, using a captive troop of cotton-top tamarins as subjects.
After college, Evia moved to Austin, Texas where she began her career in the largest no-kill animal shelter in the country. She transitioned into a job in veterinary medicine as a technician, becoming lead technician within three years. In September of 2017, she followed her heart to Colorado where she accepted a position with Behavior Vets. She has trained with Debbie Martin, CVT-VTS (Behavior) to offer behavior treatment to support our patients, and is a Fear FreeTM Certified Veterinary Professional. She is also certified as a dog behavior consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.
Evia shares her home with eight cats – only three of which she claims are hers. Outside of oversharing pictures of said cats, she enjoys downhill mountain biking and taking her motorcycle on adventures.
Patrick Jones - Course author
Meet the instructor

Dr. E’Lise Christensen, DVM, DACVB
Chief Medical Officer

Dr. E’Lise Christensen DVM is a board-certified veterinary behaviorist and an international lecturer and author. Dr. Christensen is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and a member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) Speaker’s Bureau and the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Christensen received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 2002.
Dr. Christensen has contributed to articles in Dog Watch, Cat Watch, Cat Fancy, Dog Training Solutions, Real Simple, Newsday, and various other print media. She has been a contributor and guest on’s “Pet Health” and “Studio B with Shepard Smith”, ABC News’ “Nightline,” and many other radio programs, television programs, and newscasts.
Patrick Jones - Course author