Earning the trust of the fearful dog is a slow, gentle process. Basically, the dog determines the pace as you can’t rush or cut corners. A few days ago Ali came to us for training. It’s no secret she was afraid. Her body was stiff with tail tucked. She has a habit of staring at her owner, begging for the inevitable to NOT happen! “Don’t leave me at dog school! They’ll never understand how I need a warm comfortable place to snuggle and feel safe!!!”
She is such a sweetheart. As bad as she felt having left her comfort zone of home, she suffered it without turning on her new handler. Truly, most dogs with her degree of internal turmoil would have lost any inhibition to strike out to back off strangers.
Giving her “space” is paying off as she is gradually letting me touch her. Today we just sat together for awhile. Dogs are so awesome. You don’t need to be talking, you just need to be there!
Naturally, I don’t make any abrupt movements or sounds that might frighten her. I also don’t look her in the eye as that may intimidate her. I feel her tension dissipate as we listen to each other breathe. That’s her lesson for today! The trainer is a friend. And, this trainer is excited for tomorrow! “Here Ali, let’s just fluff up these blankets so it feels more like home. I think you are an awesome dog!”