Dog Training Tips to deal with your dog being afraid of you.

I am going out to a dog training session in Gainesville next week where the client told me that his dog just seems to be afraid of him.  He assured me that he can’t think of anything he has done to cause this problem.  He has not hit or yelled at his dog and he makes sure that his dog is always well fed and tries to give him as much love and affection that he can.  The problem is that his dog always tries to stay away from him every time he tries to get him.  My client is worried that whatever he may be doing is making matters worse.  That is why I am going out next week.

This is an unfortunate story that, as a dog trainer, I have heard over and over again.  We try to be the best dog owners that we can and always start out with the best intentions, but sometimes bad things happen.  We get mad and loose our composure.  We will yell and scream at our dog and will even hit and kick him.  We are embarrassed to say that we actually have done this, so we tell the little “Oh, nothing happened” little white lie.  The issue is that bad experiences can leave long and lasting impressions with our dog.  What you think might have blown over a long time ago can still be causing issues.

The first thing that we must do is to admit that we messed up.  The next thing to do is to figure out what we can do to make things right.

One method that I will discuss with my client is the practice of “V Feeding”.    This where you use bits of food, vegetables, goodies, etc. to coax your dog to come to come to you, experience a sensation of safety, and then slowly move away from you.  The goal of this exercise is to have your dog approach you without fear or coercion and feel safe the entire time.  This little exercise is performed as follows:

  • Get some of your dog’s food, treats, or anything that he really likes to eat.
  • Start with having your dog about ten feet away from you.  Kneel down and throw one of the goodies to the left of your dog about eight feet from you.  Stay perfectly still as he approaches and eats the goodie.
  • As soon as he is finishing the first goodie, throw another goodie about six feet away from you on your left side.  Stay perfectly still as your dog walks over there and has his little treat.
  • Continue this process, throwing the goodies to your left and right while they are landing closer and closer to you.
  • When your dog is about two to three feet away from you, pat your knee and say “good boy” in a high pitch.  Continue this for about ten to fifteen seconds.  If your dog wanders over to you, that is a great thing.  Do not pet him yet.  If your dog does not come over to you, don’t worry about it.  There will be time for that later.
  • Now, let’s reverse the process by throwing the food to your left and right while slowly increasing the distance from you.
  • When your dog is ten feet away from you, roughly where you started, prais him in a high voice.  Now, stand up and slowly back away.
  • Make sure that you repeat this exercise with your dog four or five times every day.  You want to begin to instill in your dog that you are a “good thing” and nothing to be afraid of.  After about a week of performing this process, have your dog end up right next to you.  Try extending your hand slowly and pet him.
  • When preparing to pet your dog, do not raise your hand over his head.  From his perspective, this could be construed as the precursor of an attack and hit.  Show him the back of your hand and slowly strok his chest under his head.  If he begins to flinch or cower, stop the process and try it again next time.
  • Once you can calmly rub his chest, move your hand slowly to his back and stroke him from his neck to his tail while you are quietly saying “good boy”.  You now have a “happy dog”.

Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help.  We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Gainesville Georgia.  Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Gainesville Georgia.