Some dogs are born anxious. It’s part of their genetic make up. Some dogs have become anxious as a result of their experiences (or lack of experiences).
Whatever the trigger is for their anxiety, whether it’s the presence of other dogs, or people, or cars, or cows or some other object, animal or situation…it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can ALWAYS make a difference, sometimes a big difference. What we should NOT do is make excuses for it. Accept it, make a plan and move through it.
We do this by providing the dog with clear, calm leadership and information about what we do and don’t want to see in their behaviours.
If your dog is afraid of other dogs, it’s not a good strategy to march them up towards another dog, even if you know the other dog is friendly. The very presence of the other dog is too much for them to cope with and you will undoubtedly create a negative reaction in your dog.
It’s really important that you take responsibility for leading and managing your dog correctly to ensure that they are exposed to the source of their anxiety without becoming completely overwhelmed by it. When they are at a distance that they can remain calm within the presence of the trigger we can mark and reward that behaviour.
Anxiety issues are seldom a quick fix and can need ongoing maintenance activity from you for months or even years to help your dog navigate their way through this crazy world we live in. Don’t give up….help is available and you can get through this together