If you read one thing on dogs in 2019, If you read one article on dog training in 2019, let this be it.Having spent the bulk of my dog training career working with fearful dogs – many too afraid to eat or show themselves – this brought me to tears.
My Maude spent 6 months hiding under furniture – couches, chairs, whatever was available. One time I thought she had escaped at work, and I searched frantically for her, only to find her far beneath a sink’s cabinet, out of arm’s reach, shaking. Years later, she’s not recognizable as the same dog; as she learned to target, she intuited that all people and many objects are treat dispensers, and routinely bonks things with her nose in hopes of a morsel.
While some of the hardest work we do as trainers, I find working with fearful dogs to be some of the most rewarding. With many, the improvement seems instantaneous once we learn to communicate with them. Others take much more time. Many will never be perfect, but sometimes meeting a dog where they’re at is the most important lesson of all.