What to Do With Fearful Dogs?
As there are many types of people, there are also different types of dogs with different demeanors. There are confident dogs, smart dogs and there are calm dogs but one of the most frustrating is fearful dogs. These dogs will hide, run away or even bark or bite even when unprovoked. Not only are these dogs dangerous but may they may also harm themselves in the process.
If you have a fearful dog, the key to improving its behavior is to establish a good leader – member relationship with your dog. You are its owner and therefore you need to show your dog how confident you can be and take him out of his fearful attitude.
Strange New World
The human world is very strange for a dog especially for a fearful pet. There are a lot of noises, strange environments and plenty of things that require quick decisions which your dog may lack.
Like a person, your dog could snap and withdraw from any kind of contact from humans and even other dogs. This is something that you completely want to avoid. By asserting your role as the pack leader, you can lead your dog anywhere and save him from being isolated and fearful all the time.
How It’s Like To Feel Afraid
A fearful dog is like a lost child who is left to fend for himself in a dark forest. He is all alone with nothing to keep him company; there are strange noises and creepy shadows all around him. His parents are not around to lead him out of the forest and to make things all right.
Your dog feels the same thing and will naturally feel and behave fearfully in all situations unless you train him to assert himself and become more confident under your leadership.
Help Your Dog Become More Confident
As the pack leader, you need to instill confidence in your dog at all times. And training starts by making a short check on your behavior during stressful situations. Do you also run and hide when there is danger? Do you run the opposite way when you see a larger dog in your way? Do you pick your dog up when you see a larger, more aggressive dog on the street? These simple behaviors are key factors to training a fearful dog.
The next strategies will eventually get your dog out of his shell for good:
- Tell your friends to ignore your dog when they meet him. Giving him attention when he runs and hides will only imply to your dog that the behavior is acceptable.
- Wait till your dog is calm before you approach him. Once he hides and runs, let him be. As he eventually comes back to check on the situation, he will calm down seeing that you are also calm. This is the time to pat, say simple praises or reward your dog.
- If your dog still does not respond and decides to run away again, then you must leave him alone. He will eventually learn that this behavior is unacceptable and will only receive attention when he is calm and composed.
- When walking along the street, lead your dog. The minute he gets agitated, stop your walk. Never pick him up and run away. Show your dog how confident you are by walking past a big or aggressive dog without agitation.
- Before you even take him out for a walk, make sure that he is calm and ready. Wait till he stops barking before you fasten his leash and opening the door. This is also a good strategy when there is someone at the door.