Do you share your home with a fearful dog? If so, the following six resources are for you!
The Fearful Dog Blog – Debbie Jacobs, “mom” to dogster Sunny, has created a fantastic and free online resource for trainers and owners of fearful dogs. This website features videos, training plans and recommendations, resource suggestions, games and exercises, articles to help you understand your fearful dog, and perhaps most importantly, support and inspiration for human friends of fearful dogs.
Help for Your Fearful Dog: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Your Dog Conquer His Fears by Nicole Wilde. This is, without question, my favorite book about working with fearful dogs and one of the most comprehensive books on the subject of dogs and fear on the market. Don’t be daunted by this book’s size – Wilde needed all this space to pack in so many detailed training plans! Nicole’s writing style is approachable, engaging, practical, and funny. This book makes a fantastic gift for pet owners and dog trainers alike!
Scaredy Dog! Understanding and Rehabilitating Your Reactive Dog by Ali Brown. Living with a reactive dog can be frustrating and overwhelming. Scaredy Dog! gives reactive dog owners tools and techniques to enhance their dogs’ focus while reducing anxiety and cementing the human-animal bond. This book is the next best thing to attending one of Ali’s seminars or classes on reactive dogs, as featured in her other book Focus Not Fear.
I had the pleasure of attending a Scaredy Dog! seminar at Ali’s facility last year, and was thrilled to discover she’d then released a Scaredy Dog! video. It always helps to see the techniques demonstrated by a professional, so consider picking up the DVD supplement – your dog will thank you for it!
Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog by Emma Parsons. If any single book helped me attain the skills and understanding I needed to guide Monte through his own reactivity, it was this book. Not only did I learn a number of very valuable, effective techniques for helping Monte deal with his reactivity, I also learned to control my own emotions to become a better and more capable handler.
In fact, there are so many fantastic exercises, I recommend reading the book next to a stack of post-its, so you can mark your favorites! I think my copy is 1/2″ thicker than it was when I bought it, simply because I have so many exercises marked for review!
Grisha Stewart’s Behavior Adjustment Training. Grisha developed a new and compelling technique for modifying fearful and aggressive dog behavior known as “BAT” or Behavior Adjustment Training. You can learn more about BAT training on Grisha’s Yahoo Group Functional Rewards or you may purchase her Behavior Adjustment Training DVD from Tawzer Dog Videos.
The Language of Dogs by Sarah Kalnajs. One of the most critical determining factors in your success as a handler of a reactive or fearful dog is your ability to read and respond appropriately to canine body language. Sarah’s video is one of my favorites on the subject of canine body language; as it is both comprehensive and amusing. Sarah is funny, witty, and obviously passionately in her dedication to instructing owners, trainers, and shelter/rescue volunteers and employees how to read and thus, communicate more effectively with dogs. Footage features a variety of different dog breeds in a number of different environments.
(Word of caution – when viewing this video, if you’re watching on a laptop, you may want to plug in earphones for the “vocalization” section or expect your dog to howl along!)