Helping A Battered Dog Gain Confidence By Using Nonphysical Methods

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Helping A Battered Dog Gain Confidence By Using Nonphysical Methods

A dog that has been over-punished lacks self-confidence. Therefore, such dogs
should be allowed to succeed. This is fortunately a simple process with dogs.
They are dramatically quick to learn from people when taught by nonphysical
methods. Even a simple 3-part exercise, performed daily, can bring about a
behavior change in a few days. All that is needed is to crouch down, say "Rover,
come," and heartily praise when it responds, even if it only looks at the owner. If
the pet urinates on the way, the praise must be continued. The wetting usually
disappears as confidence improves. When the dog comes all the way, it should
be petted, preferably on the throat and chest to eliminate fear responses that
may be caused by hands over or on top of its head. Most shy dogs usually come
readily to a crouching figure.

The "Sit" command is simple, once the pet comes dependably. A hand is held
up over the dog's rump as the words "Rover, sit" are spoken. The dog usually
looks upward, and should be praised by happily saying "Good, sit," but without
bending down or petting. If this is patiently repeated a few times, most dogs will
sit down. The spoken praise should be followed by petting. It is important not to
bend over from the waist to pet shy dogs, as this movement often signals
possible punishment. Crouching avoids bending over, and is friendly and
reassuring. Pushing down on its rump, holding, or otherwise manipulating the
pet must be avoided. Physical force is at the root of most submissive behavior
and interferes with effective learning.

The second part of therapy requires that owners avoid punishing the pet. If other
behavior problems exist, these must be resolved using nonphysical methods and
as light as possible. Self-control is a major challenge to most dog owners;
however, after they see the progress usually achieved in a few days, their
feelings that the pet "needs to be told it has done wrong" usually crop up. Any
backsliding on the owner's part is quickly reflected by regression in the dog. This
feedback provides an effective control mechanism to which most owners are
highly sensitive.
A third step in correction is used for dogs that respond submissively to persons
outside the family. If a few friends are gathered to reinforce the owner's
teachings, the dog usually responds satisfactorily. Correction in most cases
requires only a few minutes on 2 or 3 occasions. Older dogs with a persistent
problem may require longer training periods. This approach to correct overly submissive behavior in shy dogs assumes the pet is healthy, so that no possible
organic influence interferes with the learning capabilities of the animal. Total
rehabilitation can be expected in 6 weeks when the process is carried out daily.

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