Scaredy Dog….Scaredy Dog!!!
A few of my readers have mentioned that they have adopted dogs which have come from abusive owners. This is a very tough situation for you and your dog to readjust to. As for you, you just want to show the dog as much love as you can and reassure it that it will never be beaten again. And your dog is unsure about the intentions of all people no matter how sincere you may be. It will be a learning process for both of you and it will take time. But a word of warning this insecurity may not be correctable.
I have dealt with a few dogs that have been skittish and afraid of people and I have learned that it is actually harder on you than your dog. I say that because I know, like me, you will want to comfort your dog at the first sign of fright or skittishness. Well that is actually the complete opposite of what you want to do. This is where it gets hard on you, when your dog acts like it is scared or backing away just stop what you are doing and ignore the behavior but don’t ignore the dog. Because when you pet and sweet talk your dog while it is in a scared mode it will associate attention with acting like that. So make the attention and sweet talking on your terms and when the dog is not acting afraid.
If your dog is scared to approach new people or people they are really not comfortable with there is a way to help them overcome this fear. I have had great success with having a few friends help me out with this one. Have your friend come over to your house (because this is where your dog will be most comfortable) and have then sit on the floor with their back to the dog. Sooner or later the dog will get curious and get the nerve to go over and smell when they do not feel threatened. When your dog does go over to sniff and look around have your friend keep still. But also have some good smelling and tasting treats with your friend to give the dog when it gets comfortable. This may take several minutes but your dog will come and sniff and hopefully smell the treats. Just have your friend feed your dog treats from their but no petting yet. Keep all movements slow and unthreatening as possible. (Also make sure cell phones will not go off and scare the dog.)
Your dog will more likely approach someone from their back because that is the most unthreatening side to approach from. That is an instinct from when they were pack animals and the business end of the dog is its mouth. Also when you pet a scared dog try to stay away from the head and neck. That is the place most likely to be attacked by other dogs. Like I said before dogs have the pack mentality and their instincts are that we people are just a bigger dog than they are. They will instinctively think we will treat them like another dog and think we are attacking them as if we were a dog.
Also take your dog for walks and let them explore their surroundings. Take them to the dog park to meet and greet with other dogs. But while around other dogs keep your dog on a leash and only meet one dog at a time and try to keep it a dog the size of yours or smaller. But do not over do it and look for signs your dog has had enough for the day. Take puppy steps in this and it will show progress little by little.
Here is my warning… Never put your face in a dogs face that seems scared or never put your hands on
both side of their faces while down at their level looking at them. Just imagine if you were scared of someone and they went to get in your face as we say. You would be scared to death and would fight for your life. So put yourself in the dogs collar (they don’t wear shoes) and see it from their perspective.
Again I’m sorry for the slow posts this week it has been a rough week for me and my family but I hope to be on track again here real soon!
Remember to love your dog today!