Quick Tips Episode 12: Turn Your Scaredy Cat into a Confident Canine
Today I’m going to give you some quick tips to help those dogs that are maybe a little more insecure or anxious.
Tip #1 is to Pace Yourself. A lot of times our dogs can be afraid of things that we think are silly, like a trash can, and so we're like, “You're being so silly”, and we just drag our dogs towards that trash can. What happens is that it makes them even more afraid, because he's like, “I don't like the trash can and now I don't like my pet parent when I'm around trash cans.” So let him set the pace if he wants to. Stand 20 feet away, which is totally fine to let him have the time to explore.
Number 2 is to Throw a Puppy Party instead of soothing them when they're afraid. The equivalent to this in the human world is when a kid falls down on the playground. The best thing for a parent to do is say is, “You're fine, get up. Oopsy daisy, go play”, and that helps to reassure the kid that everything's okay. If that parent said “Oh are you okay? Does that hurt?”, the kid is likely to cry. Dogs feel the same way. So when your dog's afraid, tell them, “It's okay, you're fine. It's okay”, and have a party instead. “Are you afraid of that trash can? Oh my gosh, why don't we give a treat?” Like these amazing chicken chips -- you can just kind of show them the treat and bring it close to the trash can and all of your excitement and some yummy food will help your pup realize the trash can is a great place and thing to be close to.
Tip #3: End with a Success. We want our dogs walking away feeling that they had a good experience so if your dog's afraid of maybe noise when you're just finishing a walk and getting to your door. If suddenly a big truck goes by and they get frightened, don't go inside. Instead, keep walking, have a puppy party, give them a couple treats and get them happy again. Then finish the walk. This will help them understand that next time there's nothing to be afraid of.