Date of Award

Spring 4-15-2020

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science


Health Professions

Committee Member(s)

Dr. Michele Williams

Dr. Rachelle Yankelevitz

Dr. Stephanie Kincaid

Supervising Faculty Member

Dr. Michele Williams


Dog-bites pose a significant problem for children’s and dogs' abilities to live an enhanced life. The majority of dog-bite incidents are to children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old and often dogs are euthanized for the crime (Wilson, Dwyer, & Bennett, 2003). There is limited research on a behavior analytic dog-bite prevention intervention that is both effective and generalizable to the natural environment. Yankelevitz et al. (2019) examined a six-step dog-greeting protocol to teach children how to greet unfamiliar dogs appropriately, but following acquisition the dog-greeting skills generalized poorly to the natural environment. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate if caregiver involvement when teaching children the same six dog-greeting steps would aid in the generalization of the skill to the natural environment. Mothers were trained using behavioral skills training (BST) and taught their children the six-step greeting protocol to mastery. Overall, all parents behavior met mastery criterion of 100% across all phases, despite one parent requiring a booster session. Parents also increased their child-dog supervision during both in-home and community observations compared to prior the intervention. Children met the mastery criterion of 80% for all phases and the rate and duration of unsafe dog approach behaviors both in the home and community observations decreased after intervention.

Rights Holder

Ashley Torres