Hello Ron Lueth, PGAA
One of the saddest things is the number of people that misunderstand fearful dogs and in trying to make things better for their dogs they actually make it worse. Fearful dogs are nearly always lacking strong pack leaders, and their owners are often the kindest and gentlest people! They want nothing more than to see their dog live the kind of life that all the other dogs are living, happy, fun and free.
What they fail to recognize is that their dog is actually scared because the owner is giving them the message that they are the pack leader. Their dog like many is not able to handle the pressure, nor should they be expected to.
Let me describe a scenario. If you are 4 years old and find yourself in a dark wood with your younger sister and there is a strange noise or a person coming towards you then you may very well be afraid. However if one of your parents were there with you though, then everything would be fine. That is because you would not be in charge! This is how it is for your dog when you make them the pack leader. They are terrified and just want to get home safe and alive.
All the responsibility is on your dog’s shoulders and they are not able to handle it in this human world. There are far too many strange things for them to make decisions about all the time. Eventually they will snap unless you help them.
To help your dog you must first become the pack leader and I suggest that the best way to do this is through watching video rather than reading about it. Here are a few things that you should remember when working with a fearful dog.
They can change but will struggle if you try to push it too fast
You must become the pack leader – There are some great videos sites now that show you exactly how to become the pack leader, don’t just read about it
- Ask your friends to ignore your dog when they first meet her
- People should not approach your dog but wait until she is calm and then call her over.
- If she doesn’t come over then she is too scared and you must leave her alone.
A good video based web site will show you exactly how to put all of this into place through the use of video so you can sit back, watch and learn.
Establishing yourself as the pack leader is the foundation to any success with fearful dogs. Until you recognize this you and put it in place you will never be in a position to help your dog.
One of the best sites around is The Online Dog trainer. It has fantastic videos on establishing yourself as the pack leader and also shows you how to give confidence to fearful dogs.
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Suzanne Dean, ABCDT
Authorized for posting by the The Dog Training Lady Visit the Dog Training Lady’s site for more training information and watch for new training books and E-books