Much like humans, dogs have different ways of exhibiting hesitance and fear. Most avoid the things that set them on edge. Others show disinterest or aggressive aversion to make the things that they’re afraid of to go away. If you’ve adopted a shy or fearful pooch, take heart. Enroll him in a Hamilton dog training program.
Here’s how dog trainers can help your canine companion come out of its shell.
Determining what causes your dog’s anxieties
To help your dog overcome its fears, you must first identify what causes them.
If you are not your dog’s first owner, it’s possible that your dog suffered abuse or experienced something bad from their previous one. The same can be assumed if your dog lived in the streets before you adopted him. If your dog is timid or fearful despite not having experienced either of these lifestyles, don’t be confused. Most of the time hesitance and anxieties stem from a combination of inexperience and genetic predisposition.
Dogs usually suffer from one (or more) of the following:
- Sound sensitivities, wherein they are afraid of loud and/or sudden noises
- Social shyness, wherein they are fearful of unfamiliar people
- Context fear, wherein they are afraid of certain kinds of situations
Specialists on dog training in Leesburg, VA use various methods to determine what makes their canine trainees nervous and unsure. Once they’ve identified your pooch’s stressors, they can move on to…
Helping your dog overcome his fears
Most dog trainers use clicker and targeting training to help dogs combat their anxieties. Here’s what it involves.
- The dog trainer establishes a targeting object. It’s an item that the dog will go to and retrieve at the dog trainer’s verbal command.
- The command is reinforced with a clicker. Upon giving the prompt, the dog trainer will click the clicker once the dog starts to accomplish the task. Over time, the dog will associate the sound with commands.
- The dog trainer introduces a target prompt. Once their trainee is responding to the clicker, the dog trainer will start teaching the dog to touch items with its nose on command.
- The prompt is reinforced with praise and treats. It’s the best way to get the dog to enjoy the task and make them more receptive of it.
- The command is expanded. The dog trainer broadens the distance between them and the target object. Once their trainee is used to touching its nose to the target, regardless of distance and circumstance, the method is then used to help the dog be more social.
While the course of the training may vary from Leesburg dog training specialist to specialist, the following rules are always upheld.
- Stay calm and patient when interacting with the dog.
- Don’t act overexcited when approaching the dog.
- Reward good behavior with treats and praise.
- Do not yell, hit, or hurt the dog.
Upholding these precedents is the best way to gain a fearful dog’s trust. Follow them when you spend time with your pooch.
Keep in mind that these are only some of the methods that dog trainers employ to help their trainees overcome their fears and build up their social skills. Ask your dog training company about theirs to learn more!