Mike was so excited to bring his rescue dog Sassy, a Retriever mix, home from the shelter. He had everything ready: a bed, toys, dog dishes, and brushes to give Sassy a good brushing and keep her neat and tidy, so she could be in the house and his landlord would not be horrified by large clumps of Retriever fur and yard debris all over Mike’s rental suite.
Sassy loved her bed, her toys, and her dishes, but when Mike brought out the new brushes he had purchased for her, Sassy immediately started to cower, whine, and shake. Mike talked to her calmly and petted her, but Sassy shook so bad, tucked her tail between her legs, and even snapped at him, during their first short brushing session. Obviously, something had happened to make Sassy terrified of being brushed. Either that or she was never brushed before, but for some reason, she associates the brushes with something to be afraid of. Mike needs to brush Sassy, as she has long fur, sheds, and likes to romp outside where she can easily become tangled and dirty. Because he rents his home, Mike has agreed to keep his new dog clean and the house relatively hair-free. Mike is going to need to come up with a way to brush his scared dog, and hopefully, reduce her fear along the way.
If you provide short sessions, reassurance, positive reinforcement, and do not cause discomfort, your scared dog should eventually learn that there is nothing to be scared of after all!