Some tips to Help a Dog Get Over a Fear of the Family’s Father

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 19, 2020

For this Omaha dog training session we worked with Adelaide, a 6 year-old Lab / Border collie mix who has developed an infrequent fear of the family’s dad after the family welcomed a new baby into the home.

While the dog developed a fear of the family’s father that I will discuss below, she was very fearful when we arrived for the session. I had to literally sit down in the door frame with my back to her for a few moments to help her feel more relaxed and comfortable with our arrival. Part of this is the dog being adopted at 6 weeks, something no dog should go though as its such an important time for a dog to develop confidence.

When you have a dog who starts fearing a family member, its important to look at the totality of the situation. Most of the time the dog will fall into the old habits which confuses humans into wondering why the dog acts scared around a family member at other times.

Pregnancy can be a stressful time for any family and is certainly a big factor here as this is when the dog’s fearful behavior started. When you combine that situation with the hormones that spike during a pregnancy, things can get hairy. When we discussed the situation, I learned there were a few other behaviors from the dad that likely had a negative impoact on his relationship with Adelaide.

I did see a brief and minimal example of Adelaide shutting down when we went to engage with her while playing fetch. I immediately stopped reaching for her and the brief shut down stopped. I recommended the dad do the same and also to avoid the dog when he is feeling stressed, even if its not related to the dog. I also recommended that mom be the one to correct Adelaide if any needs arrise in the future. This will allow the dad to repair his relationship by being the good happy cat the dog fell in love with in the first place.

Id also like to see the dad teaching Adelaide a new trick or command once a week for the next month or so. This will result in a boost of the dog’s confidence, give them new ways to redirect her and give the man dog relationship a boost.

To help the dog stop feeling uncomfotable around dad, I recorded a medelay of tips to help a dog get over being scared of a family member. You can learn how to help a dog rebuild confidence in a human by watching the free positive dog training video below.

Helping a dog get past anxiety of being around a family member is all about building up positive associations while simultaneously removing any negative interactions. The dad had already modified his behavior, the baby’s presense has been normalized and mom’s hormones should be back to normal; all things in the dog’s favor. If the dad follows the dog behavior tips I shared in the above video and there are no additonal factors that arrise, Im hopeful that Adelaide’s fear of the dad will stop for good.

There were also some tips we shared relative to the dog and baby (a safe place to retreat to) and how to build up her confidence around new people along with a ton of other dog behavior tips.

To help the family remember all the things we covered in this in home Omaha dog training session, we recorded a radmap to success video that you can watch below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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