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Tuesday Training Byte: What does your dog really need?

Dogs love us unconditionally. They have a simple set of emotions, unlike people. Understanding their needs gives us insight on training. Dogs need to feel safe. A dog that does not feel safe can be reactive or even resort to fear biting. Your dog is relying on you to make them safe. Today at the grocery store, an elderly woman was using the motorized cart and had her little dog in the basket. Every person who walked by resulted in the dog lunging and barking furiously. People thought it was cute. We need to socialize our dogs carefully and not force them in such highly stressful environments too soon. Telling the dog "no" or picking the dog up when it is acting this way will not fix the problem. There are various ways we can help our pup calm themselves in stressful situations. If company makes your dog anxious, teach your dog to go to it's crate that is in a quiet area away from the hub of commotion. Don't allow the dog to go hide under the bed or in a closet. Limit his options to a midway retreat. The next time, move the crate to the living room, but make sure guests do not engage with the dog. Next remove the crate and have a dog bed set off to the side for the dog. Gradually your dog will feel safe and we can progress with going outside where there can be more distractions. Small doses without pressure will help your dog gain confidence. Dogs will sense their owners emotions, so stay calm and positive around your dog. Training when the dog is fearful is not productive. Happy training!

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