Your Fearful Dog and Energy - Jim Burwell's Petiquette

Why it’s  important to have neutral energy when you or anyone interacts with your fearful dog

Fearful Dog Exercises

Before I can answer that question it’s important you understand what neutral energy is in the first place.

What is Neutral Energy Around Your Dog?

Yelling at your dog is not neutral energy. In fact yelling is the opposite. The emotional energy generated from your yelling creates a shift in your body language and actions. Your fearful dog can immediately sense, in a non-verbal way, your intentions.

Many kids don’t have neutral energy. They run, scream, cry if they don’t get their way. Their energy is often “off the charts.” It can create an unstable environment for your fearful dog.

Here’s an example of Neutral Energy: You display calm energy, a sort of even-handedness. This allows your dog to feel safe and comfortable in his world with you in other words, no yelling or screaming.

Having neutral energy means being calm in times of stress.

 Neutral Energy Creates a Positive Learning Environment for Your Anxious Dog

Your fearful dog gravitates to those he senses have neutral energy. If you are less stressful to be around, your dog begins to feel safe and comfortable and more motivated to learn.
It’s important to keep your fearful dog “feeling safe” in his home with you.

Learn to reward the behavior you like.

If you make it a habit to do this every day your dog will give you more of this behavior because it works for him. Eventually the unwanted behavior will disappear.

Meeting New People Can Be Stressful for Your Fearful Dog

Meeting new people can be stressful for your dog. Especially if your dog is reading their emotional energy as uncertain or unstable.

Let’s say your friend comes in. Your friend is not comfortable around dogs at all and immediately her emotional energy is off the chart. She is trying hard to pleasantly greet you and not be nervous.

Your dog will see your friend’s pleasant greeting but will react to her emotional energy.
To feel safe, your fearful dog may bark and back up behind you.

Give Your Frightened Dog the Space He Needs

It’s always best to give your fearful dog the space (and comfort) he needs to feel safe around visitors and new people.

How do you do that? There are many things to do to help your frightened dog:

  • Ask your friend to ignore your dog
  • Put your frightened dog on a leash, give him a stuffed kong and put him in a down position next to you. Keep a distance comfortable between your friend and your fearful dog.
  • At any point you could always crate or gate your dog in another room to create a more comfortable situation for your dog.If appropriate, you could also ask your friend to toss your dog some “special” high-value treats. This pairs something positive with her presence.

Knowing the Root Cause of Your Dog’s Fear is Important

Knowing the root cause of your dog’s fear is important and is the key to helping your dog overcome his anxiety around people.

Your dog’s fearful behavior could be from a lack of socialization or it’s learned fear. Either way, work with a trainer or behaviorist, skilled in this area of behavior. This can get your dog on the path to feeling more comfortable around people.  Overcoming behavior problems with your dog is always best started with understanding the structure your dog needs to be able to succeed at living with us.

Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog

Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 30 years, serving over 11,000 clients.  Jim works with you and your entire family  in helping your dog be the best dog ever.