Fears and phobias are nothing new for dogs. They are natural instincts that should help them survive. That lawn decoration my dog was afraid of may have been small but it was shaped like a bear. That fear could have protected him, if it had been real.
More often than not, these fears our pups have aren’t rational. That’s where we as Pet Parents come in. It is our job to work with them, to show them that what they may perceive as scary or a threat is, in fact, safe. Sadly, many Pet Parents do not realize the importance of this and make fears worse.
- New textures and surfaces
- Veterinary offices
- Introducing a new animal or person
- Being outside
- And so much more
- Start slow. With dogs, slow is fast. The slower you go, the more likely they are to retain what they’re being taught.
- Remain positive. This is key when trying to positively associate fear with your dog. Frustration on your part can set a training session back.
- Keep sessions short. If you see signs of stress, stop and remove yourself and your dog from the situation.
- Don’t be afraid of giving lots of treats! I recommend low-calorie treats for training sessions like Zukes!
- Reward your dog for small steps. With each positive interaction your dog has with their fear, give them a big reward and praise!
- Don't flood your dog with their fears. As previously mentioned, this can create a lifelong phobia
- Seek help if you need it! Don’t be afraid to reach out to a qualified trainer.