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Fearful Dog - What To Do

How in the world do you handle a fearful dog who is not showing fear based aggression or any other bad dog behavior, but she simply wants nothing to do with humans? You may see this in your new rescued dog. After all, just about everyone want to adopt a dog for whom they fell sorry, but then they just don’t know what to do for them. All your new dog does is hide from people, or cower when approached. She loves to play with your other dog, though!

Here is the simplest no fuss – no muss way to get the fearful dog on the road to recovery. First, though, you absolutely must avoid going into “mommy mode” with “my poor baby!” and similar outbursts of concern. Instead, you must be calm and focused on the task at hand. Determine for yourself that you are going to focus on what is best for the dog. Half the battle is over, because you already know it is not best for her to stay the way she is.

Here is the way to put your fearful dog on a leash. Why? The dog’s mind can go into one of four states: fight, flight, submission, and avoidance. What your dog is doing right there is avoidance. This is a quick way to handle it, but it’s also a step-by-step process.

Do not look into her eyes or talk to her yet, because she will avoid you and is likely to run off and hide. Instead, use your peripheral vision to determine when your fearful dog is near you. Then slip the leash around the highest part of her neck “show dog style.”

Call your other dog over to you nonchalantly. (If he is over excited, don’t bring him along, or his behavior will upset her. She is already nervous about interacting with you!) Have both dogs, one on each side, set up on a heel and move forward. You just go, but do not talk to the fearful dog. In their language, they just go, so it is far easier on the dog to introduce the exercise first, and then the next time give it a name (such as “good heel”).

If the fearful dog tries to shut down or refuses to budge, pull UP on the leash as a correction but keep facing forward and moving. It is not uncommon for her to yipe as though you are killing her and to buck, but you are not hurting her. She simply has to go through it on her own, and this is language she understands. This is essentially the way her pack leader would make her do it.

You correct her each time she starts a new tantrum, but you do not correct her twice during an old one. So when she balks again, just pull up in brief correction and keep going forward. Then let her release herself (which is finish the tantrum). You are not punishing her or being harsh with her at all, just telling her that you disagree with what she is doing. Eventually, she understands that all that happens when she throws a tantrum is that she gets worn out. She realizes that she still has to do as she is told, so what’s the point? It’s much easier just to follow.

Whatever you do – Do NOT face the dog and drag her forward, with or without coaxing words. Save your breath. It simply will not work. She will most certainly shut down… and possibly empty her bowels!

Walk for at least 45 minutes keeping the dogs focused. Once you are back home, leave your first dog inside and take the fearful one to another area in the yard. Sit down and turn your back to her, calmly laying her leash down in the process but not removing it. When she sniffs you, stroke her under the chin. This will cause her head to lift.

Touching a fearful dog on the top of her head will have the opposite effect. That would make her want to shy away and keep lowering it.

Next, take your hand away – just about an inch or so. She will come to it. When she does, then pet her again. You can make eye contact with her at this point. Remember, in the dog world, the individuals do not look each other in the eye at first. First they get the scent, then they make eye contact. In this instance, she has had time to acclimate to you, and you have caused her to respect you. If she cannot respect you, she cannot trust you. You must have that to overcome her fears.

The more you learn and practice to show her confidence, and then compassion, the faster your fearful dog will throw away her shell and become the awesome dog she truly is!

Source: Internet

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