Fear Aggression in Dogs
Don’t misunderstand, I am no expert when it comes to working with dogs with fear aggression. Jack had a touch of this problem, but with hard work and a good trainer, he’s worked through most of it and while he doesn’t joyfully greet strangers like our Sally did, he tolerates them. But, I have a friend who has a very fearful dog, he’s actually fear-aggressive – a tough combination. It takes a lot of training and a lot of patience to work with a dog with these issue. She works with him everyday and with persistence and patience he has made great progress.
She put together a great list of resources that were helpful to her and I thought I would share them with the group. I’m sure many of you have your own insights, advice and resources to add to this list, so please feel free to add in the comments.
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES FOR SHY/FEARFUL DOG
Yahoo Groups: Shy-K9s – an online community of 4,000 members with shy and fearful dogs. This is an invaluable resource for support, questions & answers, resources and ideas.
BOOKS & GUIDES
- A Guide to Living With and Training a Fearful Dog, Debbie Jacobs. Her website: www.fearfuldogs.com is also a good resource
- Cautious Canine, Patricia McConnell (goes through detailed protocols for desensitizing fear and will be really helpful)
- Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas (to help you read your dog well enough to gain some insight into what she might be doing and to learn to “speak” her language a bit to help de-stress her. a completely invaluable book when dealing with shy, stressed dogs)
- Dogs are from Neptune, Jean Donaldson (for detailed help with very specific problems, guarding and fear among them)
- Help for your Fearful Dog by Nicole Wilde
- Scaredy Dog and Focus Not Fear by Ali Brown
- Modifying Dog Aggression, The Whole Dog Journal, Pat Miller, a packet of articles written about dog aggression
- Susanne Clothier, seminars and YouTube videos
- “Control Unleashed” by Leslie McDevitt – she originally wrote it with agility competitors in mind who’s dogs become over stimulated/have difficulty focusing, but many folks with fearful dogs and dog reactive dogs have found it really helpful.
- *”Stress in Dogs?” by Martina Scholz and Clarissa Von Reinhardt, it lists more than 30 signs of stress in dogs and talks about just how hard chronic stress is on a dog’s body.
TRAINING PROTOCOLS (research training instructions online):
- “Watch me” – teaches your dog to look to you on command for guidance
- “Let’s go or follow me” – teaches your dog to leave on command and follow you in a stressful situation
- The Relaxation Protocol, Dr. Karen Overall – teaches your dog to not react regardless of the surrounding circumstances
- Polite, Attentive and Calm exercise (PACE) – teaches your dog to have self control in all situations
FOR GENERAL TRAINING:
- The Art & Science of Animal Behavior, Dr. Sophia Yin
- The Power of Positive Training by Pat Miller (great all-around training book)
- Click for Joy! by Melissa Alexander (excellent “everything you ever wanted to know about clicking” answer book)
- Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor (for training methods and help sorting out the effect of rewards vs. the effects of punishments and when to use which)
- Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson (general myth-busting. it helps you see what dogs are learning from what we are doing with them and helps get rid of old ideas)
- Mine by Jean Donaldson (for resource guarding)
And finally she shared this great chart from Dr. Sophi Yen which is a great visual depiction of what to look for.