Hand Shy, Head Shy: 7 Steps to Help Your Dog Overcome This Behavior
Many dogs, most of the time puppies that have not been handled by the breeder, or animals that have been abused or rescued from shelters, run away from the hands. This is especially true in the case of a hand that is directed towards your face or passes over your head. Unfortunately, they cannot tell you what negative experience they had with human hands. Many perceive this action as a threat. Usually some form of abuse, lack of socialization, or neglect is the cause of this heartbreaking behavior. Never catch a dog with this behavior problem. It can make them more squeamish and / or possibly aggressive! Fearful dogs can be dangerous dogs. Be patient. You can help them overcome this fear and make a positive association with your hand.
What you can do to help your dog overcome shyness of the hands:
1. When approaching your dog, approach slowly and at a slight angle. When approaching at an angle, it won’t appear as big and threatening as if you were approaching head-on. You can also squat or kneel so as not to project a threat.
2. SLOWLY reach out your hand and stroke your dog under the chin, keeping your hand in sight. Avoid “jerky” movements with your arms. Speak softly and calmly. Praise him for allowing him to touch them. If they accept it, reward them with a treat.
3. Enroll your dog in obedience classes as soon as possible. Find a local coach who practices positive reinforcement, unpunished methods. Work on verbal corrections, a calm tone of voice, and non-threatening body language, rather than physical corrections.
4. Work on remembering, so you don’t have to grab it. In a friendly manner, call your dog by name and say, “COME!” Congratulate and reward him when he comes to you. Rub it under your chin. For some dogs, it is helpful to squat or kneel when called.
5. Positive reinforcement practice. Reward your dog with lots of praise and pet him calmly under the chin. Reinforce her happiness by speaking in a soft, calm tone of voice to show her that you are satisfied with her behavior.
6. Give your dog a massage as often as you can. Work your entire body, but focus on the head and neck area. Talk softly to them during the massage. The more you do it, the more confident and relaxed they will become. Through this positive experience, they will learn to associate their hand as loving and good.
7. Inform your family and friends of what you are trying to do. Teach them the proper way to approach and pet your dog. Feel free to correct them immediately, if they are doing it incorrectly.
Bottom line: your dog must make human hands no threat. The more loving hands that are associated with a positive experience your dog feels, the sooner they will receive it. As your dog becomes more relaxed with you, your family, and friends, start taking him to places where there are new people to meet. Explain what problem you are working on and ask them to come over to your dog. They can start by simply giving the dog a treat or toy. As your dog becomes more comfortable accepting treats or toys from strangers; Easy to have your dog pet under the chin, then reward the dog with a treat or toy. In this way, your dog will associate human hands and give him a loving, gentle touch and other good things. Be patient, calm, and consistent. Over time, you will see a more confident dog that accepts human contact.