Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Training a dog with affection: The best way to get rid of fear in dogs

Liam is in an extreme submissive pose here
As Liam continues to recover from his nasal fold infection, I've had to scrub out his face with cleanser three times per day. This isn't fun for him, as the cleanser tends to sting a little, and having someone rub on an open wound is never pleasant.

While I try to pet him frequently and remind him that I am often capable of offering joy as well as suffering, he doesn't seem to fully believe me. In fact, he's becoming prone to offering his belly in this complete submissive posture whenever I appear.

My first instinct is, of course, to pet his exposed belly. But this is rewarding a submissive behavior I don't want him to continue to offer.

Instead, I sit close to him and ask him to get up and come over to me to be petted. I let him climb into my lap and have a good session of appropriate affection. We have nearly 2 weeks more of antibiotics and facial scrubs, and I hope to have this fearful behavior licked before that time comes.