Teach Your Fear-Biting Dog to Change His Perspective

Now, once your dog becomes used to the object of his fear and he is able to be around it without displaying extreme signs of panic (urinating, hiding underneath the bed, etc.), you can begin to counter-condition him. This is not difficult to do. You begin by teaching him to identify positive feelings (calmness, rather than anxiety) as being associated with the feared person, situation, or object. This may sound quite challenging, but don’t worry. You can do this easily by just giving out treats and/or praise when your dog makes obvious improvements when confronting his phobia.

Here are some Tips on What To Do and what Not To Do when dealing with a fear-biting dog:

Do:

  • Be a strong role model; your dog’s emotional cues are dependent upon you:  act in a direct and consistent manner.
  • When your dog is afraid, be sure to speak to him in a calm and serious tone of voice.
  • Socialize your dog on a frequent basis, and as much as possible.  Although the most important time to socialize is between the ages of 8-16 weeks, socialization must continue throughout your dog’s life.  If he has more and more contact with different people and environments, it will be less difficult for your dog to learn that there are not too many things that he should fear.
  • You must have patience and take things slowly; never rush your dog to face the thing that he is fears.  Remember,  your goal is to reverse his fear-reflex, and this will never happen if your dog learns that negative things (feelings of anxiousness or panic) are connected with the thing that he is afraid of.
  • Watch your dog’s body language:  Occasional whining and shaking are normal; however, if he starts to urinate on himself or hyperventilate, this is a sign that your dog needs is in need of some breathing room.

Don’t:

  • Invade a dog’s space when he is afraid.  The most important thing to remember is that a dog in a state of panic needs his own space.  Take two steps back, and wait for the dog to calm done and come to you.  You’ll run the risk of being bitten by a fearful dog if you make, or force, him outside of his zones of comfort.
  • Coddle your dog or give him treats/praise for any fearful behavior.  You must reserve rewards for good behavior; that is, behavior that you wish to occur

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