Helping a Fearful Dog Get Over His Eye Contact Reactive Behavior

By: David Codr

Published Date: July 30, 2020

Roman Daisey and Rhya scaled - Helping a Fearful Dog Get Over His Eye Contact Reactive Behavior

For this Omaha dog training session we got to help a fearful American Staffy mix named Roman (pictured here with his roomies Pomeranian Daisy, center and Shiba Inu mix Ryah, left) who is fearful around new people and eye contact reactive.

As a dog behavior expert, I have found that the trick to a successful meetings with fearful dogs is to do so outside. After using a few dog behaviorist tricks we were able to meet Roman in a calm and relaxed encounter. We took a short walk then headed back to his home so we could meet his roomies and discuss his dog behavior problems.

Helping a fearful dog gain confidence is one of our favorite things to do as we know we are making a substantial impact on the dog’s quality of life. I suggested some rules and structre which are great ways to help a dog feel confident that his or her humans are capable of keeping them safe and secure.

I noticed that Roman didnt like receiving eye contact from strangers. He barked and moved away after eye contact that lasted longer than a few seconds. Its not uncommmon for dogs to bark at direct eye contact from strangers, but is obviously not a desired behavior.

I decided to show his guardians an exercise to help himsee eye contact as a good thing. I call it a focus exercise. You can learn how to train a dog to focus by watching the free positive dog training video below.

It was a bit of a challange with Roman as eye contact can be interpreted as a challenge plus his family were having a fence installed the same day. That can be a lot for a fearful or anxious dog so we demonstrated with the other dogs then had the guardians practice with Roman themselevs. Teaching a fearful dog to focus isnt hard in a quiet environment so I recommended the guardians practice this in the house after the dogs had rested up from this session.

Im hoping that what we covered in this in home Omaha dog training session will do the trick, but due to his dog anxiety, we may need to set up a follow up session in a month or so to work on building the dogs confidence.

We finished up the session by filming a roadmap to success video to help Roman’s humans remember everything we covered.

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This post was written by: David Codr