How to Calm a Nervous Dog

Nervous behaviors are more common in small breeds and in the dogs that were isolated when they were young, but there are many other cases in which different causes have led to fear of noises, such as false explosions of a car engine or firecrackers, etc. This can even occur in hunting breeds.

Some dogs get scared when they see the movement of objects they don't recognize such as scooters or baby strollers. Other dogs get scared of people who walk on crutches or who ride in wheelchairs and, even though physical punishment to a dog can cause fear of hands, in most cases it is not the main cause.

Fear of Noises
Many dogs get scared and want to hide when they hear strong noises such as thunders, firecrackers, etc. The master's natural reaction is to calm the dog and distract him from the cause of his fear, but this can increase the fearful response of the dog, because he learns that when he shows his fear, he is rewarded with the contact of his master, encouraging words and even food.

Solution
Record the noises that scare your dog. Play them for your dog to hear them when you know that those noises won't be produced. At first, play them at a low volume and reward the dog if he doesn't get scared.

During the next couple of weeks, increase the intensity of the noise until you reach the volume that initially scared the dog.

Fear of Objects
Dogs sometimes get scared when faced with unknown objects, especially if they move. Dogs that live in families with no children often get scared of baby strollers and they run away when they see one, even if it's not moving.

Solution
1. Put a delicious treat near the baby stroller. Try not to feed the dog before, so he will be willing to eat the treat. Gradually put the prize closer to the baby stroller every time until the dog has to get his head under the stroller in order to eat the treat.

2. Once you have been able to get the dog to eat small pieces of food under the baby stroller, put his bowl of food gradually closer to the same position. During this training, move the baby stroller every now and then and reward the dog if he doesn't get scared.

Fear of Hands
Dogs that are afraid of hands have a conflict, they want to do funny things to people but they are afraid of their hands, so they get away from people's hand out of fear.

Solution
1. For your dog to be able to get familiarized with hands, put your open hand with a food reward in it on the floor in front of the dog. If you fear that maybe the dog will bite you, follow the advice for bites.

2. As soon as your dog takes the food from your hand out of his own initiative, shorten the distance between you and your dog, getting closer and closer every time until you get next to him.

Submission Urine
A dog that is too fearful can submissively roll on the floor and even urinate when you give him an order or when he is in situations that frighten him.

If your dog behaves like this during his training, it means you are being too hard on him. Of course, you shouldn't pet him or touch him because that will intimidate him even more.

Solution
In order to recuperate your dog's confidence, you should get down to his level and, with one of his favorite toys, encourage him to get up. Making him playfully bring objects to you will help your dog forget his submissive posture without your having to touch him.

If the dog rolls on the floor and urinates when you praise him, don't pay attention to him until he calms down.

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