Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Annie, yes it can happen and often does especially with a dog that could be perceived as submissive, fearful etc. Very often dogs like this were rescued or purchased from pet shops and did not attend puppy socialization. This behaviour can also be reinforced by the owner paying attention to it.
What you do is when you arrive home or interact with her after some time has passed and she is likely to be excited, totally ignore the dog - dont alk to her, look at her etc. Even make your body language off putting by standing with arms crossed and body straight. This may make you feel terrible but it is what a dog understands so do try. After a few minutes she will give up the greeting and walk away. Allow her about 20 seconds to register the change, call her back, ask for a sit and then very quietly, without excitement, offer her a treat. Try to avoid bending over her as this may stress her as in 'dog language' it is a sign of reactive behaviour. This needs to be practised over and over and by all members of the family. As you are acting like a pack leader she will start to feel more secure. I would also bring in some 'work to ear' to rasie you in the combined human/pack hierarchy as well such as taking her daily rations, calling her throughout the day and offering one or two pieces of kibble at a time.
Also look for ways to build her confidence such as going out for regular walks to new areas, asking her to jump over small items, playing hide and seek and even building a small agility course out of buckets, brooms, boxes etc in the back yard. By the sound of it she is a bit fearful and this will help build her confidence.
Also supply her with chew toys, varied, to keep her busy and entertained while you are out.
It does not sound as is this is a physical problem, more an emotional one, but if in doubt double check with your vet as if a problem has a physical concern, nothing you do from a behaviour point will help.
Lastly, i really would suggest you learn how to do TTouch. This wonderful modality really does go a long way to helping fearful/nervous dogs. Just Google them to find out more info. Good luck and do let me know how it goes, thanks Scotty
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