Nervous Puppy?

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There’s something about Spring that screams ‘life’ – and walking around town I’ve seen lots of little puppies who are celebrating their lives with their new owners. Puppyhood comes with certain challenges as little ones learn to navigate the big, wild world. Most of the time this is pretty cute and funny to watch, but what about when your puppy is afraid of something?

If you bring home a new pup and realize that he or she has some fears – be it the vacuum cleaner, storm drains, loud trucks/busses, or even strange things like a certain chair or a bookshelf – it can be hard to know how to appropriately teach them not to fear those objects. Naturally we want to coddle and console the puppy because it is so young and defenseless.

Instead, try one or two methods: 1) get excited about the object. Turn the vacuum on and leave delicious, high-value treats all around it so the puppy has to be near the vacuum to get the food. Walk past storm drains and cheer! Move the scary chair and then act like the pup won the lottery. 2) totally ignore the fearful behavior. Turn the vacuum on and leave it on for 10-15 minutes, just sitting in the middle of the living room. If the pup hides, totally ignore the nervous behavior and continue on with whatever you were doing. After 10-15 minutes, turn it off and go about your day. Repeat that exercise every day until your pup ignores the vacuum as well. Walk past the loud trucks and ignore any fearful behavior such as trying to run away or cowering. Don’t console the puppy or pick him up, just keep walking, confidently.

These steps will help you conquer any fears that your new addition may have. If you are still struggling with fears – reach out!

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