Why are some dogs shy or fearful of people, dogs or noises in their environment?
Regardless if a dog is a rescue or from a breeder, if he is a big, brave looking Rottweiler, and/or how loving an owner you are – your dog still maybe a fearful or shy dog. Shy, nervous and fearful dogs come in every size, shape, breed, or mix. At Canine Path, our expert West LA dog trainer is experienced at helping owners and their dogs work through anxiety and fear.
Popular sentiment holds that dogs that exhibit fear toward people, other dogs, and are fearful of certain noises may have suffered abuse or serious trauma. While this may be true in some instances, the combination of genetic predisposition, under socialization or lack of exposure to various experiences in early puppyhood, probably play a much larger role.
Most of us who have lived with shy dogs never know the root causes. Fortunately, you don’t have to know why a dog is shy or fearful to help him or her overcome those fears. Click here to see a helpful handout defining fearful dog responses. The better you can read your pup’s behavior, the better you can avoid undesirable altercations.
Avoid These Common Myths and Pitfalls:
- He Just Needs More Training: Many people believe that a shy, fearful, and/or reactive dog “just needs training.” While training your dog’s various cues and commands (sit, stay, down, etc.) no amount of “obedience” training alone is going to stop your dog’s fear-based behaviors. At the same time, training combined with proper management, behavior management, and even medication can help many fearful, anxious dogs become less reactive and better adjusted.
- Mistakes Happen: No person nor dog is perfect. Perhaps you didn’t properly socialize your dog as a puppy. Perhaps he had a negative experience during his fear periods. However, it’s very likely that owners with fearful dogs are working with dogs that have poor genetics, or had traumatic experiences prior to coming to live with them.
- Ease Up: Don’t give yourself, or other members of your family, a hard time for having a fearful dog. Even seasoned Los Angeles dog trainers say, “If only I had known this sooner,” or, “maybe if I’d done this, he wouldn’t be so afraid,” to themselves all the time. You should always be learning about the latest science-based training techniques and managing your dog in a safe, responsible manner.
- There is Hope: You may not have created the problem, but you can be part of the solution. It can help immensely to work with a reputable dog trainer in West LA. Do the best you can, steer clear of punishment-based training methods, and accept that you are going to make mistakes. Be patient with yourself and your dog.
There is more help than ever available for fearful and reactive dogs. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you do your research when looking for a dog trainer. If you’re willing to put the time and effort in to truly change the way your dog thinks and feels, you should see significant positive changes.
Canine Path has years of experience using positive training and management techniques to build the confidence of nervous, fearful and shy dogs – and their owners too!