- Negative Experiences – Negative in their eyes, not yours. The experience may have seemed quite normal to you, but could have been very scary for your dog.
- Lack of early socialization – Dog’s who don’t experience a variety of new things, places, people and animals as a young puppy tend to struggle much more with learning about new things as an adult dog. They are like us, becoming set in their ways and new things can be stressful and uncomfortable.
- Genetics – Dog’s with parents who display fearful behaviors are more likely to be fearful themselves, so always ask to meet BOTH of your puppy’s parents and ask about any fearful behaviors or tendencies.
Working with fearful dogs is one of my favorite cases. It is so rewarding to see the dogs learn and grow. When working with a fearful dog it is extremely important to create an extremely positive association with whatever it is that your dog fears, and take things at a snails pace. Imagine something you are truly afraid of and consider what it might take for you to actually be ok with or enjoy that thing. Pushing your dog on something can very often make their fears much worse, so take things slowly, encourage your dog with plenty of praise, fun, food and excitement and don’t feel sorry for your dog, because they feel that energy. Be confident and fun, and they will begin to follow in your footsteps with the proper training.