DENNIS AND BABY
Dennis made some tiny pawsteps towards gaining confidence with me this week. If you have a look at my Facebook page you can see a video of how to work with a timid dog in ways that help him use the problem-solving part of his brain to increase confidence. Making choices about where to go in relation to my body, rather than just being lured towards me with treats reprogrammes his brain so that he starts to Feel Good about being around me - research with primates, humans and dogs has shown that making choices floods the body with Feel Good hormones, whereas being enticed to do something has less of a hormonal reaction.
Luring scared dogs with treats can also be risky because their fear response can be suppressed by the urge to eat the food. Once the food is gone, they then realise they're too close for comfort and can panic.
By Marking and Treating Dennis just for looking in my direction, he started to get a sense of Feel Good for being near me, which we can then Shape into Marks and Treats for choosing to move nearer me. By the end of the session I was able to stand up and move slowly around the room. After giving Baby a long cuddle - which was, of course, all about helping Dennis feel confident. Nothing to do with secret snuggles at all!