Browse Our Dictionary Alphabetically
Section V


The name for any adverse reaction, or suspected adverse reaction, to a vaccination in a dog.  It is not an officially recognized veterinary diagnosis as the term has been used to refer to both acute, short-term issues following vaccination such as swelling at the injection site and fever, and to long-term issues like arthritis, leukemia and behavioral problems.



The value of something refers to how motivating it is for a dog. Items are classed as high value or low value. A high value treat, like a meatball, is a stronger reinforcer than a low value treat like a piece of carrot. That means if a dog expects a meatball, it will be more likely to perform whatever behavior you are giving the cue for than if it expects a carrot.

Value is usually talked about with regards to food and toys, but everything that can be reinforcing for a dog has value, for example social attention like petting, or the chance to go out for a walk, or chasing squirrels. Choosing the right value of reinforcer is a key part of successfully using differential reinforcement in behavior modification.


Variable Interval Schedule

A schedule of reinforcement.  The dog is only reinforced after a random amount of time has passed, not after he has performed the behavior a certain number of times.  For example, a dog might be lying down and be rewarded for staying where he is at ten seconds, then at five seconds, then twenty seconds, then twenty-one seconds, and so on.  He will not be able to predict when the next reward is coming.

Veterinary Behaviorist

A veterinarian who has a special expertise in behavior.  Veterinary behaviorists hold a doctorate in veterinary medicine, and have also passed the exams set by their country’s Board of Veterinary Behavior to assess their knowledge of behavior modification techniques and medications.

Veterinary behaviorists can prescribe medications and create plans for behavioral modification at the same time.

Veterinary Physical Rehabilitation

When a dog is injured, he may be prescribed various different kinds of therapy for rehabilitation.  Some of these therapies are classed as veterinary physical rehabilitation, and others are classed as complementary and alternative veterinary medicine.

Veterinary physical rehabilitation can be performed by a veterinarian, or by a licensed non-veterinarian, ideally under the supervision of the canine patient’s vet.  Techniques include stretching, massage, hydrotherapy, application of heat and cooling, electrical stimulation, low-level lasers, exercises, ultrasound, and magnetic field therapies.  The American Veterinary Medical Association does not count veterinary chiropractic as part of veterinary physical rehabilitation.



Mills, D. and D. Levine (2013) Canine Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy. MA: Elsevier Saunders