|Barked: Fri Apr 19, '13 6:57pm PST |
|I have a very sensitive, easily startled dog. Agility and other training really did help with her confidence, but even something as simple as basic obedience will help. Running Lupi through sits and downs when she's in a "scary" environment helps her to focus on what she CAN do, which assists her in not feeling so helpless. It also assures her that I am in control of her space and won't let anything bad happen to her.
We have new next-door neighbors, with young children who love playing outside. When I hear them screaming or otherwise making loud noises, I go outside with Lupi and a little bag of treats and practice her obedience skills with those distractions.
Something we learned in fearful-dog classes was to act all happy and silly when a startling noise occurred. Then run and grab a treat for the dog. A truly sensitive dog will always startle at new or unexpected noises, but they can learn to recover very quickly.
I do encourage Lupi to investigate things she's afraid of, but I don't force her. I really praise and reward her when she chooses to check things out. Now she will just about examine anything, even if it really spooked her at first.
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