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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How To Help Wolfie's Fear of Storms

I thought that Wolfie was fine with our summer storms, but he is whining, panting, pacing, and just driving me crazy!  I try and comfort him, but it just seems to get worse!



Remember that I am always saying that we should not treat our dogs like humans?  Remember that I am always saying that we should treat our dogs like dogs?  Guess what!  You are treating him like a human, again.  

We have to understand that the sights, sounds, and even the drop in barometric pressure could be very strong negative stimuli on Wolfie.  This will cause him to become unsure and scared of what he thought was his safe environment.  Naturally, he comes to us to reassure his safety.  Here is where the problem begins.

When Wolfie comes to us, whining and getting under our feet, we instinctively go down and pet him and talk to him in a high, "baby voice" tone trying to sooth and console him.  If Wolfie would be our young son or daughter, that might work.  But Wolfie is a dog and he needs to reassured of his safety in a manner consistent by a strong, canine Alpha Leader.

Here is what you do in order to reassure Wolfie of his safety in a manner he requires:

When Wolfie comes to you, stand up, face him, and ask him to sit or lie down.   Give him a "good boy" when he does.  Continue with your work.  If he starts to whine again, stand up, face him, and give him a firm, low toned "No".  Ask him to sit again, praise him, and go on with your work.  

If Wolfie starts to whine again (what a persistent little guy!), take your leash, hook it on his collar, and briskly walk him around the room or the house.  Return to where you started, have him sit, and return to your work.  What you are doing is to correct and redirect Wolfie away from his perceived fear and to have him focus on you.

You are the boss and your appropriate presence should be all the reassurance he needs to maintain his safety.  As you are communicating with Wolfie, you are standing and facing him.  In the canine world, this is a sign of assertion and leadership.  

Give this a try and see how it works for you.  I have used this technique with our dogs for years and it works like a charm!  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.


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