Fear Is A 4 Letter Word - Managing Fear in Your Dog
Fear can be a hard thing to deal with when it is YOUR dog.
Whether the issues are caused by poor genetics, lack of socializing or a traumatic experience, we still have to live with and manage the behavior.
Many times we see fear issues pop up as early as 8 weeks of age and the time to address it is THEN. Many people think it will go away, this is not the case and we should never assume this, as it is taking a HUGE risk.
Shy and fearful dogs can be slowly rehabilitated, but they will never develop the confidence and the ability to be a Walmart greeter. They will never be the dog you want them to be if you do not make the effort to introduce them to new people every day.
At 8 weeks of age puppies are generally taken from their littermates, and placed into new homes, this can make them wary of unfamiliar people. Between 5-8 months they become fearful of strangers, especially men and children.
Fearfulness and aggression can worsen quickly. Once a dog becomes fearful or aggressive, socialization stops.
Next week I will tackle the do's and don'ts of socialization when it comes to places and things....stay tuned!
So what happens if your puppy becomes fearful?
Chances are if it is not addressed, that he will be fearful for the remainder of his life. If your puppy or adolescent dog is showing signs of shyness, standoffishness, or fearfulness it is time to get a trainer involved. Don't wait!!
You can contact me (we offer in-person and online private training) or go to www.apdt.com to locate a positive trainer that can help you in your area.
How to avoid problems?
As soon as your puppy is old enough enroll in a puppy/manners class that allows for appropriate socializing with other puppies/dogs and people. This will also help them hone their bite inhibition skills.
Taking your puppy for a walk is one of the best forms of socializing and confidence-building there is. Stopping every 20-30 yards to get your puppies attention with Name Game, or a simple Sit (both used for control), will help your pup learn with distractions at hand.
Occasionally stop and give your pup a chew or a toy and just "relax" for a few. This will help them learn to settle when in public.
Always take your treats with you (I like to use their dinner if possible) and give treats for calm behavior with men, women, children, bikes, skateboards etc. Some items may need a higher reward rate, your puppy will tell you. Just don't be stingy, pay your pup for good choices!
Remember to invite all your friends and family over to have puppy play dates, the more the merrier.
When you properly socialize your pup with people, you will find that your pup will be a rockstar in public, and will be the dog you want to take everywhere with you.
Stay tuned next week when we chat about the other factors that go into socializing your pup properly!
If you want to learn how to do Name Game, as well as what doTERRA Essential Oils we recommend to support your pup during his fear periods, make sure to join our Training Tribe for our Weekly Wednesday Recap. This email comes right to your inbox with exclusive tips, EO suggestions and more for each weeks topic at hand.
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