Thanksgiving Thought

As challenging and frustrating as living with a fearful dog can be, learning to work with one successfully is the best education any trainer (and we are all our dogs' trainers) can have. Here is my Thanksgiving thought of the day: One of the ways that shy dogs help us become better trainers is they force us to acknowledge that they are behaving the way [...]

By |2009-11-26T14:08:33-05:00November 26th, 2009|1 Comment

Games One Shy Dog Owner Plays

Laurie from Saskatchewan recently shared some of the ways she discovered for inspiring her fearful dog Chewy to play. I didn't want them to get lost in the 'comment' section of this blog so with her permission am sharing them with you here. Thanks Laurie! Fetch is usually Chewy’s activity of choice so I’ve used that to teach her numerous words and phrases. [...]

By |2009-11-24T13:34:47-05:00November 24th, 2009|9 Comments

Teaching A Dog To Play

One of the search terms that landed a reader on the Fearful Dog's blog was 'how do I teach my shy dog to play with other dogs?' Owners often want to give their dogs the opportunity to play with other dogs, which for a dog that enjoys playing with other dogs, is a kind and reasonable thing to do. But for many dogs, [...]

By |2009-11-23T02:58:03-05:00November 23rd, 2009|10 Comments

P.E.T. Therapy: A Protocol For Fearful Dogs*

Play: Begin by figuring out what rocks your dog's world. If the dog is too afraid to engage in playful behaviors with or without your involvement you need to lower their stress level. It may mean changing their environment, giving them a place where they feel safer or are exposed to triggers less often or intensely. Changing how you and others interact with the dog [...]

By |2009-11-19T18:09:24-05:00November 19th, 2009|13 Comments

‘My Doggie Says’ Radio Show Broadcast

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Fred Haney of My Doggie Says radio show and podcast. He asked me to speak about my website and about fearful dogs in general. When Fred told me to just start talking he didn't know what he was in for! I appreciate Fred's interest in the subject of fearful dogs and for giving me the opportunity [...]

By |2009-11-18T17:31:08-05:00November 18th, 2009|6 Comments

Helping Owners Understand R+ Training

For those of us who use positive reinforcement training to work with dogs, as opposed to techniques grounded in punishing inappropriate behaviors, it is easy to forget that though in practice it's not difficult to do, it can be challenging to explain. Here's one way to think about it. If someone calls you, they have a jar and threaded lid, and need to know how [...]

By |2009-11-12T18:57:11-05:00November 12th, 2009|4 Comments

It Ain’t All Bad

On Saturday evening I presented my shy dog talk at the Windham County Humane Society in Brattleboro, Vermont. In attendance was a local trainer who had kindly sent me a flower essence potion when Sunny first arrived to live with me. Perhaps in the presentation I had over-stressed my belief that owners need to have a reality check in regard to the challenges of living [...]

By |2009-11-09T20:21:29-05:00November 9th, 2009|3 Comments

Now That Feels Good!

Dogs have different 'systems' in their brains for dealing with their environment. One of those is the fear/stress system. In a dog with general fear and anxiety this system is very efficient so it doesn't take much to get a response. In some situations this might provide a biological advantage. A prey animal that spooks easily may live to reproduce as opposed to the animal [...]

By |2009-11-06T16:49:46-05:00November 6th, 2009|0 Comments

It Depends On The Dog

One of the disservices done to fearful dogs by trainers, who I will assume are well-meaning, is giving owners the impression that all dogs can be 'cured' of their fearfulness. Since we will never know the exact reasons why our dogs are fearful, it is worth continuing to work with them, throughout their lives if necessary. But believing that your timid dog is one day [...]

By |2009-11-03T14:27:33-05:00November 3rd, 2009|9 Comments
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