Boosting a Dog’s Confidence & Using Desensitization to Stop Fear Biting

Step #1 Boosting Your Dog’s Self Esteem

An excellent way to teach your dog to feel more confident about himself is by giving him praise and other rewards strategically.  You must always remember to only give rewards (such as treats) to your dog when he deserves them.  If you give your dog treats when they are not earned, those treats will no longer serve as powerful motivators to bring about good behavior.  When trying to stop dog biting that results from fear, your main goal is to make the dog aware of his achievements and positive behavior which will, in turn, enable him to feel more confident about himself.  This can be done by giving your dogs praise, treats, etc. when he has accomplished a task or followed a command.  Dogs are intelligent animals; they can differentiate between a reward that was earned as compared to one that was given for no good reason.  Begin building your dog’s self-esteem slowly by starting with basic dog obedience training that lasts between five to ten minutes per day.  It is important to set your dog up to succeed.  In order to do this, you should begin with the easiest commands, and be certain that your dog is 100% comfortable with them before moving on to more difficult, advanced commands.  During obedience training lessons, make sure to reward your dog with praise or treats when he exhibits good behavior. As was mentioned above, this will allow him to feel better and more confident about himself and his surroundings.

Step #2  Desensitizing Your Dog to the Object He Fears

Desensitization of the feared object means that you will allow your dog to become used to and comfortable with the thing that is causing him to become afraid.  This process cannot be rushed; it must be done at a pace that your dog is agreeable with.  The most important thing to remember when trying to desensitize your dog is to keep him within  his comfort zone at all times.  Your main goal is to keep your dog as calm as you can so that he will learn, through directly interacting with the feared object, that it is not so frightening after all.

So, let’s assume that your dog is frightened every time you play the guitar.  To get him accustomed to the guitar, you should start making it a normal part of everyday life.   Remember, it is important to begin slowly and not to rush things.  You can begin by leaving the guitar in a place of the house where he will surely notice it.  Put in in a place where he will be sure to be in contact with it  (for example, near his favorite spot on the couch).   Give him ample time to sniff it and observe it.  Make playtime occur near the guitar, place his food bowl near it, etc.  You should try your best to weave the feared object or situation into your dog’s daily routine as much as you can.

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