Nervous & Fearful Dogs Training

Helping nervous and fearful dogs improve confidence and live life to the fullest.

Do you have a fearful or nervous dog?

Nervous and fearful dogs that lack confidence will show this in two ways: fight or flight. Some dogs will retreat and try to get away, panic or hide. Others will act out towards their fears by defending themselves. 99% of dogs deemed to be aggressive or reactive are typically acting out due to fear.

What does a nervous / fearful dog look like?

Nervous / fearful dogs often display some of the following behaviours:

fearful dogs, nervous dogs, dr yin
Photo Courtesy of Dr. Sophia Yin

Fearful and nervous dogs often have a lack of socialization or exposure to the things and environments they are afraid of, or they have experienced some sort of trauma towards the things that they fear.

Regardless of the reasons behind their fear, the first most important step to helping your dog through their fears is by showing them you are their leader and protector.

Before you can begin to build a dogs confidence and work on desensitization towards their fears, they must trust you as their leader protector. Without becoming your dog’s leader and protector, they will always feel the need to deal with the fear themselves rather than look to you for guidance in those moments of fear.

The second biggest mistake that people make when their dogs are fearful or nervous is they have a tendency to baby talk and coddle their dog.

The second biggest mistake that people make when their dogs are fearful or nervous is they have a tendency to baby talk and coddle their dog: Petting them, holding them and giving lots of affection during these moments. Unfortunately, this is the absolute worst thing you can do when your dog is fearful because dogs will always repeat states of mind and behaviour that they receive positive affection and attention for. Many people struggle with this concept because we have a tendency to anthropomorphize our dogs, believing that their psychology works exactly the same as us humans. While dogs are very similar to humans in many ways, this is one big way that they are completely different.

So what do you do when your dog is fearful?

The first step is not to feel sorry for them. Since dogs can sense all of our emotions, they know when you are feeling this BUT they do not understand it because they do not experience this feeling themselves. Instead what they see in us when we feel sorry for them is that we are emotionally unstable, and therefore incapable of being their leader protector in that moment.

Learning how to communicate to a dog that you are their leader / protector takes some specific interactions and communication tools that takes about 1 hour to cover. This is why Hairy Tales initial consultation is 90 minutes.  If you are interested in learning how to help your nervous / fearful dog, book a session today.

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