Just like humans, stress during pregnancy can get passed to their newborns. If a dog does not get their basic needs met and missed the prime socialization period, behavioral problems can occur!
First, I’d ask the following (what I call the “trifecta”).
- Is there a genetic component? Were the parents fearful/ anxious? Sometimes we don’t always get to meet the dogs’ parents so we try our best to use any information that we have.
- Was the dog socialized before they were 6 months old (did they meet new people/ dogs and experience new places/ objects?
- Was there trauma within the first year or so of the dog’s life (this can be a one-time startle or something severe like being injured)?
Here are some options;
- Contact your pet’s veterinarian or behaviorist for medication to help decrease brain activity to help your dog calm down.
- If you are not able to get your dog to the veterinarian then consider a mobile veterinarian who can come to you.
- There are some other methods you can try in the meantime such as a Adaptil Pheromone Spray, Adaptil Collar, Adaptil Diffuser or Calming Supplements such as Calming Care.
- Once your pets brain activity is calm, you can start training!
- Remember, go slow and have a high value treat.
- What’s a high value treat? Most of the time, kibble is not enticing enough to use as a reward when training. I recommend using cheese, hot dogs or RedBarn. Here is an example: I love chocolate pie but am not a fan of lemon pie. If someone wanted me to do something for them and offered a lemon pie, I might not want to do it but if they were to offer a chocolate pie, I would jump at the chance to do what they wanted. This is the same for dogs!
- Once you know what their “high value” treat is it will make training much easier!
- Start, by touching the dog’s collar, click and then treat. Once your dog is comfortable with you touching their collar you can move forward to the next step.
- Lightly grab your dog’s collar, click and then treat. Once your dog is comfortable with you lightly grabbing their collar you can move forward to the next step.
- Introduce a harness (I recommend the 2 Hounds Design No Pull Harness) to your dog by leaving it on the floor near them. Click and treat your dog when they sniff the harness or show interest in it. Once your dog is comfortable with this you can move forward to the next step.
- Start by holding the harness and offering your dog a treat. As your dog puts their head through the harness to reach for the treat you can click and then treat. Keep doing this until they feel comfortable and move onto the next step.
- Now, you can try to put the harness on your dog. While you are putting the harness on your dog keep treating them. Once you have completely put the harness on your dog you can click, treat and praise your dog and yourself! You both just made baby steps towards positive training!