Helping a Fearful Italian Greyhound Mix Stop Fearing Strangers (Available to Adopt)

By: David Codr

Published Date: August 17, 2018

For this Omaha dog training session we helped a fearful Italian Greyhound / Rat Terrier mix named Penny Lane stop nipping new people who visit her foster home.

Because of how reactive Penny gets when people visit her temporary home (She is available to adopt), her guardian had her in a covered kennel when I arrived for the session.

I sat down with the guardian and offered a number of dog behavior secrets and some of the common dog psychology mistakes many people make when they are trying to help a fearful dog.

To help build up Penny’s confidence, I suggested the guardian teach her some new tricks and commands. An easy way to do this is through what I call, Passive Training, ie, rewarding the dog when it offers desired behaviors on its own.

Id also like the guardian to start refraining from petting Penny on demand. This can confuse a dog into thinking it has more rank than it actually does. Since Penny has corrected the other dogs in the home a few times, the more that she sees herself as a follower, the less she will think its her job to correct them. If the guardian starts to pet with a purpose, she can help increase Penny’s confidence and also help her adopt more of a follower’s mindset.

After wrapping up all these small tips that will help by modifying how the human and dogs interact with one another, I was ready to start working with Penny. I took my time, used a lot of positive reinforcement and soft body language to great success.

It took about 15 minutes, but eventually Penny not only came out of her crate, she was taking treats from my hand and investigating me with her nose; a very dog thing to do.

I recap the dog behavior tips I used to help Penny stop feeling so anxious in the free dog training video below.

Helping a dog stop feeling nervous around new people is all about taking small steps and building up the dog’s confidence. Because I went slow and waited for Penny to communicate she was comfortable (by coming to me on her own), I was able to earn her trust and avoid any nipping or aggressive behavior.

It was invigorating to watch Penny come out of her shell and start to gain confidence around me. This is one of the best things you can witness working as a dog behavior expert.

By the end of the session, Penny was letting me pick her up, pet her and she was gaining confidence by the minute. If the guardian has friend come over and repeat this greeting and interaction, it shouldn’t take long for Penny to stop being afraid of meeting new people.

To help the guardian remember all the dog psychology tips and secrets I shared with her in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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