When 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.
Some 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.
This 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.