There are many reasons why a dog can become fearful, shy, anxious, or even aggressive. Maybe he has survived a tragedy which leaves him scared and unsure or he has come from an abusive household. No matter what the reason for a dog exhibiting signs of being fearful, there are effective and humane ways to handle them and help them learn that they can be happy and fun-loving once again.
In order to help people understand why their dog behaves the way it does and the most effective training techniques to change problem behaviors, Debbie Jacobs has created the FearfulDogs.com website to help people learn about the most effective and humane ways to handle fearful, shy, anxious and aggressive dogs. Debbie Jacobs is a professional dog trainer specializing in the rehabilitation of fearful dogs as well as the author of ‘A Guide To Living & Working With A Fearful Dog’ which was a finalist in the Dog Writer’s Association of America’s annual writing competition in 2008.
Debbie Jacobs started this site because of Sunny, a border collie that survived a hoarding situation and was brought to one of the hurricane rescue camps in 2005. Over the years she has learned about rehabbing ‘damaged’ dogs and wanted to share that information with other scared/fearful/shy dog owners.
Here’s Sunny’s story:
One of the most important things to know when handling fearful dogs is that it is okay to comfort them when they are afraid – you are not telling them it’s okay to be afraid, you are simply providing a much needed comfort. You are showing your dog that it doesn’t need to worry anymore, everything will be better than alright. Jacobs says to think of it as you are helping your dog to change its behavior by changing the way it feels.
There are certain things you need to know in order to help a fearful dog, called signs of stress. Signs of stress can include varying degrees of dilated pupils, drooling, lowered ears, cowering, fleeing, growling or biting. Understanding what your dog is afraid of and just how afraid it is, is key to beginning the process of helping him get over its fears.