Overcoming Dog Fear
Is your dog timid or aggressive towards an inanimate object?
Aggression is almost always based in fear, and fear almost always turns into aggression. (Read more about fear & aggression here). So we should try to work on fear as the basis as soon as possible. If your dog is overly aggressive or has bitten, please get professional help. Call The Pooch Coach!
If your dog is not overly aggressive and is just acting scared towards an object, these tips should help you.
Here’s how to help.
A dog’s fear is usually learned at a young age. And, luckily, it’s fairly easy to overcome with a bit of effort. First, you need to understand that it’s very distance-based. So, starting from a comfortable distance from the object and working your way towards it is best. I like doing sit/stays for treats. That way, the dog is distracted and working on something else, so the scary object becomes secondary.
If your dog doesn’t know “stay”, then you can just do sits and put the treats in front of him. This will still distract him a bit and get him moving on his own, rather than trying to force him through his fear, which is likely to backfire.
Watch these short simple videos…
First, I demonstrate the technique with my dog, Kompis, who still isn’t fond of floor air vents. You’ll see I get her moving closer and closer until she’s willing to take the treat off of the vent. You can do the same thing with vacuums (turned off, then on), blow dryers, bicycles, skateboards, etc.
Next, here is my puppy, Musik, seeing a vacuum for the first and second time. By making it a fun game/interaction, she had no issues or concerns with this loud, strange new object. By being a great leader and introducing your dog to new things and making it safe and fun, your dog will not accumulate any fears and be a well-adjusted, safe, happy pup. Instead of overcoming dog fear, you can just avoid it starting in the first place!
If you’re interested in understanding the science behind all of this, or getting some additional help, feel free to call The Pooch Coach for a lesson! If your dog is being aggressive towards an object, please work with a behaviorist right away to ensure everyone’s safety. Call us for help!
There’s a better way.