The Scaredy Cat Dog

Want me to WHAT?
Want to go WHERE?

No matter how big your dog may be, he may become a scaredy-cat in certain situations. He may be afraid of loud noises or new situations or strange items in the back yard. Sometimes you may not realize that your handsome dog is actually quaking inside. Many dogs become fearful when in a crowded place such as at an agility trial. Here are a few clues that your buddy is afraid…

He may need to be coaxed through crowds and when he does move; he walks slowly and looks around frequently.

He may cling to your legs.

He may cower in his crate and not want to come out.

He may shy away from people who may want to pet him.

He may refuse to take treats from you.
It will take some time to turn a scaredy-cat dog into a happy-go-lucky boy in crowds but fortunately it can be done. One thing you may want to do is take your dog to obedience classes. You can find a local class by checking out the yellow pages or talking to your veterinarian. Obedience lessons will give your boy something to focus on while he is around other people and dogs. The lessons will give him confidence. But the key to overcoming his fear of crowds is socialization. You need to get your dog in as many different situations as you can so that he can learn to be comfortable wherever you take him. You’ll want to start small and just do a little at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm him and make him more afraid. Start by walking your dog in a park or a local school where children are playing and there is some noise. Don’t take your dog right into the thick of things but walk him on the periphery. Play a game with him to distract him. Practice your obedience lessons. Give him lots of praise and treats to make it a very pleasant experience for him. Once you feel he is relaxed in that situation, you can move to the next step. Take him to a pet store that allows dogs and have the employees greet him and give him treats. This is a good way to meet strangers on a limited basis so it is not too much for him to handle. Next you can walk him along the sidewalks at your local strip mall, near a busy store. Don’t approach strangers as they may be afraid of dogs. But if people are interested in meeting your dog, have them pet him. Have treats ready to give to these kind strangers to feed to your dog. Gradually go to different areas with increasing activity, noise and crowd levels. Soon your dog will be stepping out with his head held high, ready to greet the world.

One word of caution, don’t take any dogs but especially scaredy-cat dogs to any outings where there might be fireworks or other loud, unexpected noises. Also be sure to keep your dog on leash at all times. You don’t want him to bolt away from you.

Have fun and good luck!

For more help with dog issues, go here!

~Thank you to Amy Sugars

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