Dog Desensitization – Johns Hopkins Rd., In Crofton, MD


jhr1When I was walking Bella, the first week we got her from BARCS, I ended up flat on the ground because she did not know how to walk properly and because she was afraid of everything.  I had to start desensitizing her so I, little by little, took her to new places to experience things such as bikes, motorcycles, people, etc.  I started by getting her  accustomed to low-level stimulus, and slowly, very slowly, increased its intensity.  Our walks, at the beginning, were in our neighborhood for the most part, but since she seemed very comfortable in that environment I took her to Johns Hopkins Rd. in Crofton, MD because this is a busy street.

jhr2Some trainers and behaviorist like to use flooding – a dog is made to face his fears and he is prevented from fighting and/or fleeing – and for some dogs this method works, but not for others, like Bella.  When we took her to Baltimore for an adoption event months ago, she lost it.  It was so bad that when we got home she had diarrhea.  As you can see, flooding was not for Bella.

jhr4This is what I wanted from Bella: a relaxed, but attentive state of mind.  How did she do?  Great, in my opinion.  She only barked once at a girl who got pretty close to our car, but she stopped within seconds.  What did I learn?  That what I must have in abundance is patience in order to help my girl, Bella.  What are you doing to help your dog become a balanced canine companion?  Let me know.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for all of the input! Great suggestions, all. The treats especially seem to help. Thank you so much.

    1. Marcela says:

      Your welcome:-)

  2. Will and Eko says:

    Patience is undoubtedly the key. It’s worth doing it right rather than rushing it for sure.

    1. Marcela says:

      Correct. If you rush it, you’ll overwhelm your dog and you will have to work harder to accomplish something that with patience would have been probably easy to do. Have a great weekend:-)

  3. Our dog, Tortuga, has issues with walking. She’s over stimulated and becomes more focused on getting at the next thing to sniff or mark that she pulls constantly. We took her to an obedience course where they had us use short corrective movements and to keep her tightly controlled during the walks. We did this for six weeks to no avail. Not sure what else to do. The more tired she gets the calmer she is, so long walks help.

    Great post. Thanks!

    1. Marcela says:

      Oh Tortuga. What a cool name:-) The walk is extremely important and that is why when I am doing obedience classes I dedicate one whole class to walking a dog properly. The first thing I tell my students is to check their energy and mood. Then, make sure that you walk out the door with a calm dog, and not one that is jumping around and pulling you. That is how you, the pet parent take control of the walk. After that, depending on the dog, you can use things to get her attention when you are walking such as calling her name, so she looks at you, walking fast then slow, this makes her be aware of you, or treats, which a lot of dogs love. My Bella, because she was not properly socialized, the first few weeks walked so terrible that I ended up flat on the ground, but now she is a joy to walk with and she is not a litlle dog. She weighs 52lbs. and boy she is strong. I hope this helps. You can also contact a trainer a tell him/her the area you want to focus the training on. You don’t have to do basic obedience unless you want to. Have a great day:-)

  4. I’m glad you are so patient with Bella. No wonder that she looks so proud in the last picture… like a proud owner of a car :o)

    1. Marcela says:

      Lol. You know what? You are right. Too bad she doesn’t have a driver’s license:-)

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