Wolfie Seems Afraid of Me... What Can I Do?

I am not sure what it is, but Wolfie seems afraid of me.  He'll always stay away from me and never comes!  What can I do that won't make the situation worse?

Unfortunately, we see this more times that we would like.  All doggie owners try to be good doggie owners, but sometimes we just blow our stacks.  We get mad, yell & scream, and sometimes whack our "best friend".  Bad experiences can leave very strong impressions with dogs and can last a long time.

So we messed up.  What can we do to make it right with Wolfie?  

One way is to practice an exercise called "V Feeding".  This is a process where we use small treats or kibble to entice Wolfie to come to us, feel safe, and then allow him to move away.  The entire point of this exercise is that we are allowing Wolfie to feel safe the entire time.  Here is what you do:

  1. Get some small treats (Zukes Doggie Treats are perfect) or Wolfie's kibble.
  2. Have Wolfie about eight feet away from you.  Throw a goodie to the left of Wolfie about seven feet from you.  Allow Wolfie to go and get it.
  3. Now, throw a goodie to the right of Wolfie about six feet from you.  Allow Wolfie to go and get it.
  4. Repeat the left and right process with the food, moving Wolfie closer and closer to you.
  5. When you have Wolfie about three feet from you, kneel down low to see if he will come to you.  If he does, that is great.  If he does not, that is not a problem.
  6. Now, start throwing goodies to your left and right at increasing distances from you.  All you are doing here is reversing the process where you had Wolfie come to you.
  7. Once Wolfie is about eight feet away from you, praise Wolfie in your high voice.  Stand still for a moment or two and then walk away.
Repeat this process two or three times a day.  What you are doing is to remove the notion that you are "the boogie man" in Wolfie's eyes.  Coming and going from you is a pleasurable experience.  After about one week, toss the goodies so that Wolfie is right next to you.  Continue that for a week and then start to slowly pet Wolfie when he is right next to you.  (Remember that you are kneeling down low when you are doing this.)

Do not pet Wolfie by extending your hand over his head.  Show him the back of your hand and slowly move it along the ground towards his chest.  (If he flinches, do not press the matter.  You will try it again the next time.)  Once you reach his chest, slowly rub him.  Make sure that he is looking at you and you are looking at him.  Next, slowly move your hand around to his back and continue the rubbing.  

What we have done is to "reintroduce" yourself to Wolfie in a non-aggressive way.  We have allowed Wolfie to come to the conclusion that you will not harm him.  You will then have the opportunity to regain his respect and focus  and he will once again feel safe and secure around you.  For more information, please contact The Best Dog Trainers in South Florida.


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