Scaredy cats

This is not the dog from the park, this is a PBGV (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen) 

Yesterday I had Elsa out at the park for some very much needed 'out and about time.'  We were making our way around the park when we spotted what I thought looked very much like a Puggle.  A puggle is a cross between a beagle and a pug and they are quickly becoming a common site.  As we approached the dog bolted to the end of her leash; I could tell even from afar that she was young.  Elsa on the other hand was chomping at the bit to meet someone new.  She was doing her leaping in the air routine so I asked her to sit.

I talked to the owner and found out that it was actually a Chug  She told me that she was five months old and scared.  The owner wanted to pet Elsa so she held her arm out that was holding the leash with her dog and moved in for a quick visit with Elsa.  Then she moved away getting some needed distance for her little dog.

We could have simply walked away seeing that this dog was intimidated by Elsa but I chose to help these folks out with a positive meeting for their puppy. Leaving at the moment the puppy bolted would have enforced that behavior so I got on my knees beside Elsa and held out my hand.  She slowly came over and sniffed my hand and I rubbed her chin.  Now this was more like it; she had not overcome her fear but she was working on it.  She was not ready to meet Elsa but she didn't run in fear, she looked at her and then we left on a positive instead of a negative.

When you have a fearful dog you must allow them to take their time.  If you push you only make matters worse.  A dog who is in an anxious state needs space, time and patience.  Even the smallest of advances is success.  Tilley was quite a fearful puppy when we got her, it was in her nature not to trust people.  She like many dogs looked at men as the scariest of the scary.  But after a couple of years of working with her to engage with men she overcame it completely and ended up liking men more than women.  In fact she loved men and was drawn to them.

Fearful dogs come in many different levels of reaction.  Each dog is a complete individual so the approach that will need to be taken will be individual as well.

 Dealing with fear requires patience; with tiny baby steps each dog can improve.