Shirley, a five (5) month old Lab, recently adopted by a wonderful family in Massapequa Park, Long Island display a bit if fear towards new people, sounds and furtive movement. That said, this was nor revealed on our initial communication with Shirley’s new owners, as often is the case. One of the reasons pet owners do not mention their puppy’s fear is – they do not see it; the puppy is not afraid of them.
Because Shirley was just adopted eighteen (18) days prior to our initial visit and (this is key) there were two (2) other dogs in the house which she got along with – it took us a bit to realize that she was fearful. Why? Because the other dogs gave her confidence – well, that is, until they were placed in another room for us to further evaluate Shirley.
It should be noted that the home is a multi-dog dwelling. Shirley shares her space with two (2) other dogs that are much older than her. One of the other dogs in the home is the true Alfa and has been going through some issues with the recent passing of her canine companion. So, to begin with, there is a lot going on in this dog friendly home. And there is another important factor…..Shirley, a puppy fearful of new people needs to be properly handled to reduce or stave off fear aggression in dogs.
Our Puppy Evaluation Results
After meeting with Shirley, the pack and the family Dedicated Dog Training learned Shirley lacked confidence when initially meeting new people. This behavior prior to the consultation was never mentioned on the phone. It is very common for puppy owners that have fearful puppies to not mention this. Because the puppy is not fearful with them (which at the time doesn’t seem like a problem to them.
Their main reason for the call was to learn how they could stop their puppy from jumping and nipping.
Upon entering the home all the dogs were out and we quickly observed Shirley’s behavior when the other dogs were present. After a short while we asked the owners to contain the other dogs in another part of the house so we can take a more focused look at Shirley, as Shirley did us.
Just as much as the distractions of the other dogs being gone enabled us to zero in on Shirley, it did the same for her with us. She became more aware of our presence and a less comfortable; her confidence level decreased when the pack left. This is very normal. Imagine being around your family or friends in an unfamiliar area and feeling a bit nervous. Now imagine realizing that they are gone and you are by yourself.
After a while Shirley warmed up a little as she spent time with us in a different room. She was still very attached to her owners. Treating fear is not a difficult concept but it is very frustrating and time consuming. A fearful puppy could also display canine separation anxiety. While it is important to have your fearful puppy accept you, it is also advisable to allow them to have their own time as well. As counter-intuitive this may sound, fearful pups need to NOT depend on you so much that they cannot function without you. We need to build the puppy’s confidence while making her feel secure – this is the art of dog behavior modification. Dedicated Dog Training has helped many owners of puppies with separation anxiety on Long Island, Queens.
Obedience Lesson in Massapequa Park, the Results
It was our first dog training lesson in Massapequa Park with Shirley. There were none. Well as far as the obedience, this Labrador mix was very obedient, but it was out of fear – NOT good! We kind of knew this might happen, but we did not want to give up yet. You see, we realized that to us, the puppy was fearful, to the people in the home, she was overly confident, maybe a bit a dominant. This is very common. The puppy feels very confident in the home because she is familiar, with new people she is not, so she is more conservative. Not too different then humans; however, treating fear in puppies and humans are VERY different.
We spent just a little over an hour and witnessed Shirley warm up to us and regress Trainers repeatedly. This too, is very natural with fearful puppies. There will be more regression than with your more traditional dog training lessons which focus on impulse control and commands. We decided to leave. Many of our Long Island dog trainers competitors woukld say that this lesson was unproductive. We would even go as far to say that initially so did our Massapeqaua clients. It is OK. Dedicated Dog Training realizes that part of obedience training or being a good dog trainer is knowing when to take it slow. It was product because the owners received a lot of information on what to do and what not to do.
Fear can Turn Into Fear Aggression
Fear can easily turn into fear aggression. This is when a puppy or dog’s instincts kick in and they growl/bite after perceiving that they are in immediate danger. Treating fear correctly can help in preventing fear aggression. Fear aggression is an enormous stress on the dog, you and your family, friends, neighbors and strangers.
It usually leads to less walks, less socializtion (canine and human), and less time bonding with the family. All of which adds to the problem. For more information on fear and fear aggression contact us today. Dedicated Dog Training has helped many Long Island and NYC families address these issues.