Some dogs are social butterflies who are ecstatic to be introduced to new situations. However, anxious dogs who are overwhelmed by the world are on the other extreme of the scale.So we need to know how to train a fearful dog. Fearful dogs can be difficult to train, whether they are afraid of strangers, other dogs, or loud noises like the vacuum cleaner.
However, the extra effort required for timid dog training is well worth it.
How To Train A Fearful Dog And It’s Emotional State
Fear can obstruct learning in dogs, just as it does in people. When learning how to train a fearful dog, they are more concerned with the frightening distraction than with you. It can be difficult to get dogs to pay attention.
And don’t even think about giving treats or playing games. An agitated dog will not be interested. Fear causes dogs to shut down, and training is impossible without cognitive connections.
Rather than attempting to train a terrified dog, you should respect their feelings and either remove them from the situation or adjust it so that they can cope. Be an advocate for your dog. Even if it appears impolite, prioritise your dog’s emotional needs. Training can be postponed until your dog is calmer emotionally.
Anxiety and Fear Early Warning Signs
You must be aware of your dog’s body language in order to help him overcome his worries. You can intervene before your dog becomes overwhelmed if you recognise the early signs of worry and panic.
You may also figure out your dog’s triggers by watching how they react to various circumstances. And after you’ve identified your triggers, you can start addressing them.
Fear can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including crouching, shivering, or fleeing. However, you want to avoid things going that terrible. You must be aware of the sometimes misinterpreted symptoms that your dog is in distress.
The following list can help you recognise when your dog is anxious:
Yawning. This is not to be confused with boredom. Dogs may yawn to convey their distress.
Disinterest. If your dog refuses to eat or play with toys that they generally enjoy, anxiety is most likely to blame.
Panting. Your dog may be trying to stay cool in the heat or is stressed.
I’m smelling the ground. When dogs are worried, they will exhibit displacement behaviours such as sniffing to divert their attention away from the trigger.
Lunging or growling. Some dogs will go on the attack in the hopes of scaring the trigger away. Fear may be at the root of this ostensibly violent conduct.
If your dog displays these behaviors, it’s essential to assist them gain confidence and tackle their concerns in a healthy and constructive manner. Consult a professional dog trainer or animal behaviourist for assistance with your dog’s confidence-building programme.
Whether your dog is afraid because of a past tragedy or a lack of socialisation, you can help them overcome their concerns. Expect your dog’s personality to remain somewhat unchanged. A nervous dog will not become the life of the party, but they can learn to feel more at ease in their surroundings. And a happier, more calm dog will result.
There are countless methods to increase your dog’s overall confidence. To begin, establish a consistent routine for your dog so that their world is more predictable. After that, teach your dog basic obedience commands.
Finally, use those actions to urge your dog to earn live rewards so that they feel in charge of their surroundings. For example, before you lay down their supper dish, ask them to sit, or before you let them out into the yard, ask for a “down.”
Another technique to boost confidence is to participate in dog sports. Expect your dog to not compete; that is not the point. What important is the experience of taking on new tasks. Dogs learn to tackle obstacles like the seesaw (teeter-totter) and jumps in agility training, which can help them feel more confident about their abilities.
Counterconditioning and desensitisation
You can also increase your dog’s confidence by utilizing their unique triggers. The objective is to help your dog form positive associations with the things that scare him. But how can you accomplish that if your dog refuses to eat or play with them?
The answer is to slowly expose your dog to it’s triggers that create their fear, until they no longer react. Staying 20 feet away from strangers or being in the same room as the vacuum while it is turned off are examples of this. This is what it means to keep your dog below the threshold.
Once your dog is below threshold, you can combine that exposure with something your dog enjoys, such as tasty food. You can increase the intensity a little and pair with rewards after your dog is happy to be at that distance from the trigger.
You will gradually go to the full-fledged predicament. Desensitization and counterconditioning are terms for this process, which is time-consuming but extremely successful.
You’ll be able to train in more scenarios and introduce additional distractions after your dog has gained confidence. Meanwhile, teaching new behaviours might be difficult. The following pointers can assist you in training effectively:
Only use positive training techniques. Instead of punishing your dog, ignore and redirect unpleasant behaviour. Rewarding your dog will help him form good associations with the training process.
Wait patiently. Don’t hold your terrified dog to unreasonable standards. If your dog feels nervous in training class, for example, consider private classes or simply listening to the instructions and practising at home.
Follow your dog’s lead. Remember that anxiety inhibits learning, so your dog may take longer than expected to learn new habits.
Teach your dog to target with his nose. This simple and enjoyable “touch” action can be used to encourage your dog to approach new people or other dogs, as well as to divert and distract them from their triggers.