Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Susan, nice to hear from you! I am going to give you some pointers how to deal with this as well as put in a link to an article on my free website which will give you additional tools if your dog is indeed fearful.
1. Take the dogs daily rations of food and over a weekend when you have the time, or during the day if you dont work, instead of putting the food into the dogs bowl you are going to put food in your pockets, on top of cupboards and all over the house.
2. Call you dog, ask for a sit and if the dog complies, verbal praise and offer ONE treat. If the dog does not comply, dont say sit, sit, sit, rather just turn around, walk a few steps away then turn, call the dog and repeat the request for 'sit' when it comes to you. If the dog does not comply (remember this is something totally new and the dog does not know what to do yet), simply turn and walk away again and keep on doing this until the dog does sit.
3. When it does sit after a few tries such as above, really go overboard and reward with both verbal praise and a few treats - jackpot-just like a child getting a gold star!
4. Keep on practising this throughout the day, over and over, in different locations and once the dog is doing well with you, then start to get other family members involved but first!!!!
5. If the dog is fearful of people, tell the new person practising this not to look into the dog eyes - rather turn their head away a bit and not to bed over the dog. Both of these behaviours which we humans do automatically, can be viewed by a dog as being aggressive behaviour in 'dog talk'.
6. Keep on practising this and when the dog is sitting each and every time, then start to fade the reward by always praising when the dog site, but only reward a food treat every 2nd or 3rd time, staggering the reward.
I am putting in links to the article mentioned above as well as 2 other articles which will give you a lot more tools to getting this done, but this is the basics. Good luck and do let me know how you get on. Thanks Scotty
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