Thanks for joining me as we explore the ways we can help our favorite pets get over their fears and anxieties. In the last email we talked about giving your pup a workout to help him run off his fear and anxiety. While physical exercise is important (for both of you), mental exercise can be even more critical when it comes to helping your dog get over his fear.
Dogs like to know what's expected of them. Their goal is to please the leader of the pack (you), but unless they know what the leader expects, they can't comply. Basic obedience training addresses your dog's worry that he's not doing the right thing, while at the same time helping to keep him safe from dangers like traffic.
All dogs are willing and capable of learning basic commands like sit, stay, down, and come. You can begin training pups as young as seven weeks, and no dog is too old to learn. Work with your dog in short sessions, no more than 10 minutes, and be sure to vary the environment, otherwise your dog may learn to sit, but only in the living room. Once you've mastered the basics, consider moving on to more complicated concepts for even greater confidence.
Having a job to do can mean the difference between a bored, anxiety ridden dog, and a confident member of the pack. Your dog's job might be as simple as fetching the toy you asked for, or as complicated as closing the door behind after he comes in the house. Having a dog that can perform these kinds of tasks is not only good for his or her mental health, but it's a lot of fun for you as well, so make training an entertaining part of your day, and you'll both look forward to it.
If you need help getting started, many of the larger pet stores offer dog training classes, or check your local yellow pages for training facilities in your area. Click-a-Trick Education along with other classes are available at PetSmart.
Check back tomorrow for another great tip. Until then . . .