Helping a Puppy Mill Survivor Learn to Trust Humans

By: David Codr

Published Date: October 12, 2018

For this Omaha dog psychology session, we helped 8 year-old German Shepherd Sam get over her fear of approaching humans due to spending her whole life in a puppy mill.

I was called in to address what sounds like Separation Anxiety, but after arriving I learned Sam didn’t really know any commands. Her guardian was at a loss to teach her any she was so nervous around people. It took quite a while for the dog to relax and not compulsively move away from her.

Its so sad to see how broken the spirits of puppy mill dogs become due to years of neglectful abuse. These dogs spend their entire existence in cages that are too small and given no opportunity to run, go potty or do anything other than wait in fear for the same thing to repeat the next day. No dog deserves to be treated that way. This is why you should NEVER buy a puppy from a pet store as you directly supporting puppy mills if you do.

I used soft body language and a number of dog behavior tricks to help Sam feel relaxed and comfortable. I knew I was making progress when she took a few treats from me. The guardian said she never takes treats from people she doesn’t know well.

To help Sam learn that people are ok to trust, she will need to practice with people who can understand that giving her time and space is a much better approach than trying to pet her.

So the other humans know what to do, I took out my camera and had the guardian film me while I demonstrated how to teach a fearful dog that its safe to approach humans.

Helping a dog get over a fear of people is one of the most rewarding things any dog behavior expert gets to do. You know you are making a major improvement in the dog’s quality of life as a fear of people is something that impacts the dog every day.

Teaching a dog to trust humans is all about setting the dog up for success. Meeting outside can be a great first step as the distractions can help the dog avoid focusing on its fear of humans. Taking the dog for a walk with the new human can also pay off big time as dogs get over fears by literally moving forward.

Because I was able to earn this former puppy mill dog’s trust using dog psychology and positive reinforcement soon after arriving, im optimistic the guardian can help her dog get over this fear of new people.

To help the guardian remember all the positive dog training tips I shared in this in home dog training session, we filmed a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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