Helping an Anxious Miniature Schnauzer Get Over Her Fear of the Harness Using a C.E.R.

By: David Codr

Published Date: November 18, 2020

For this Omaha dog training session worked with Callie, a Miniature Schnauzer who is anxious around new people, doesn’t like it when her guardians pick her up and is afraid of the harness.

Callie was upset with my arrival and darted towards me anytime I moved in the entryway. I stopped moving, crouched down and turned myself sideways while I tossed her treats. I tossed them both to help her feel comfortable and to get her moving around. You dont want a fearful dog to stay still barking at someone. Sometimes dropping treats in front and behind them helps.

After discussing matters with the family, I think there was quite a bit of miscommunication going on that had resulted in an anxious dog that didn’t feel comfortable at various times. After sharing a nuber of dog behavior tips to help everyone get on the same page and the guardians provide her with an environment she was confident in, we started working on her dog behavior problems.

One of the minor problems the guardians asked me to help with was Callie’s biting behavior when they go to pick her up. My girlfriend adopted a dog who also had this problems of disliking being picked up so Im posting the video I shot for her to help her dog feel good with being picked up.

Next we addressed Callie’s habit of running away when the guardians went to go get the harness. Dogs develop fears of the harness and other things through association. There are many reasons this can happen; it may have piched her when put on, the rubbing may have irritated her fur or joints, a cockabur or tag inside could have irritated her skin or the guardians may have not noticed her body language saying she didnt want to wear it and put it on anyway. Over time that last option can easily have a negative impact.

When I have a dog who fears something, I like to use a Conditioned Emotional Response or C.E.R. to fix the problem. You can learn how to use a CER to help a dog get over a fear of the harness by watching the free positive dog training video below.

The great thing about using a CER to help a dog stop beng scaed of something is how easy it is. As long as you go slow, at the dog’s pace, anyone can do it, even if you aren’t a professional Miniature Schnauzer dog trainer.

After shooting the video, the guardians practiced this easy way to get a dog to stop being scared of the harness. Because this was a more intense case of anxiety of the harness than I anticipated, it may take a day or two before Callie is sticking her head in the harness all the way, but Im confident they will help her get over her reluctance to wearing the harness in short order. They will need to guard against the urge to cheat for the last 5-10% of the process. That is a temping and a common mistake people make when using this positive way of helping a dog stop avoiding the harness. But if they take thier time, the dog’s anxiety of getting the harness put on will be gone for good.

Because of Callie’s anxiety of people moving and new people in general, Id like to have Laura or myself return in a few weeks to show the guardians how to stop those fears as well. But for now, the guardians have a lot of homework to do.

We covered a number of other positive dog training tips in this in-home Omaha dog training session. To help them remember everything, we recorded a roadmap to success video that you can check out below.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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