Some dogs are playful and bold, while some are shy and timid. If you don't pay attention to the emotional development of your puppy, it is most likely to develop into a fearful dog as he matures. You cannot really enjoy having a pet dog if he is fearful, as he tends to be inactive due to constant fear. Excessive fear in dogs can also lead to excessive barking and biting. To avoid this, it is important to make your dog feel secure and comfortable by socializing him and exposing him to the surroundings and environment.
How to Train Fearful Dogs?
If your dog is fearful, there has to be some underlying reason for the same. Some dogs inherit this behavior from their parents. In others, this behavior can be traced to some traumatic experience from the past. Some dogs feel scared when they are suffering from a particular health problem. In such cases, they become normal once the illnesses is cured.
Whatever may be the cause, special training is essential for these dogs. The owners should start training their dogs in their early years. It is easy to mold and inculcate certain behavior and habits in dogs when they are young. Given below are certain factors that you need to keep in mind while training these dogs.
Socializing the Dog: If you know you won't have time to spend with your pet dog, then don't get one home. Like humans, dogs too need attention. If you cannot take your dog out for a walk or play with him, then you are better off not having one. For better development of the dog, it is important that you spend quality time with him and socialize him.
When your puppy is young, introduce him to all your family members, friends, and visitors. Take your puppy to the garden, playground, or where there are people around, so that he gets acquainted with the environment. By socializing, he also gets exposed to various situations, events, people, other dogs, and myriad emotions and experiences. This helps him understand his surrounding better. It makes him feel secure and so, less fearful.
Developing Positive Responses: If the fearfulness of your dog is associated with certain thing, then try to eliminate it or help your dog develop a positive association with that thing. It is important to change the dog's behavior in order to change the underlying fearful emotion. You must identify the cause that triggers fear in the dog and try to eliminate it. If not, try to make your dog comfortable with that thing.
Suppose, for instance, your dog is scared of a person who feeds him. You need to call that person to feed the dog in your presence. You need to have a relaxed body posture when that person comes. Appreciate that person's presence and spend some time with that person while your dog is watching. Do this for few days and you will notice a slight change in the dog's behavior. Now slowly let that person touch and caress the dog in your presence. After few days, the dog will feel confident and that will help him bond with the person who feeds him.
Obedience and Discipline Teaching: While this is the best way to make your dog confident, you need to avoid hard physical punishment in this process. Dogs are scared of physical harm. Never talk on high pitch in front of your dog. Avoid behaving violently in his presence. Positive reinforcement is also very important to help your dog get rid of the fearful or negative feelings.
Help your dog learn new commands slowly and do not try all new commands in a single day. Initially teach him simple commands, like sit, come, stop, go, etc., then go for complex commands. Practice them often, so that he gets more experience and follows them efficiently. This will boost his confidence. Train your dog with patience, tender care, and lots of love. Some dogs can be very sensitive and emotional, so treat them affectionately.
If you think you are not able to deal with the fearful dog, then take help from professional dog trainers, who know lot of behavior modification techniques and methods. You can also visit the veterinary doctor who will prescribe medication if deemed necessary. All this will definitely make your dog playful, cheerful, and full of life, and bring sunshine in your life.