Treating dogs with severe separation anxiety

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Shy dogs are an especially difficult challenge because it is so hard for them to establish trust. Your shy dog should be confident enough about what he gets for targeting that you can try making a "new" person target.
Shy behavior could also be the result of poor socialization, insufficient guidance, or even past abuse.
Find the dog's tolerance threshold to the item causing shyness.This is at what distance from the object it triggers his shy behavior. Preform training sessions by presenting the scary object and reinforcing any confident behaviors toward it with petting, praise, toys, treats, or access to the environment. For instance, if the dog is shy around a specific object, like a newspaper, make this the object you feed him near as in step two, then begin moving it around on the floor near him with your foot while he eats. Consider positive progressive agility or obedience training as another good place to meet new dogs and situations. Desensitize traumatized dogs to individuals they are shy around by having those people feed and play with him or her while you ignore the dog. Another well-balanced dog will likely help your shy dog get over his fears by showing him the right way to behave. This version of How to Rehabilitate an Overly Shy Dog was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on June 23, 2015. Teaching these dogs to target a hand can help many shy dogs develop confidence with people fairly quickly. This shyness can occur as a result of a prior bad experience, poor socialization, or insufficient guidance.

Although the behavior may seem irrational, dogs may become shy because of the things they do not understand.
Some behaviors in particular that are indicative of shyness include the four Fs: freeze, fight, flight, and fool around.
Triggers, specifically, are what we call those things that cause your dog to exhibit shy behavior.[5] Triggers could be people who are loud or shrill talkers, walk in a way that seems aggressive or heavy, or are carrying items that scare the dog, such as work tools or garden items. Remember that some dogs love it when you get excited as a result of them exhibiting the behavior you want, but others prefer a simple treat reward.
Remember, the dog doesn't understand why you are angry, and you will only lead him to believe that you are unpredictable, which will not help his shyness. If you notice your dog is shy around other dogs, find a very friendly and easygoing dog with whom to socialize your dog. There are several ways to build trust with dogs who have experienced past trauma, which is important to helping your dog stop exhibiting shy behavior. You can't begin to try this method until there is at least one person the shy dog has a little trust in. For some dogs you may need to help them at first by going back to putting a treat between your fingers. This, along with the proximity of the newspaper and you moving it around, can help desensitize the dog to the stressor, minimizing or even eradicating his shyness around the stressor. Introduce the two dogs very briefly at first—at a distance—and monitor the interaction on leashes.
This will help him make a connection between you and good things, but, in particular, it will reinforce that good things happen when he isn't exhibiting shy behavior.

In general, you can achieve this by ignoring shy behavior and praising the dog's attempts at going outside his or her comfort zone. If you have a dog that is showing signs of trauma, do your best to build trust with the dog to minimize shyness. Remember, aggression is a much more serious issue than shyness, so begin working on anti-aggression exercises before continuing.
Also, realize this is a separate problem from shyness, though if forced in a situation, one reaction can lead to the other. Remember, when you're first training in a new environment you may need to go back to the first step for a while until your dog can perform the behavior reliably.
Observe the dog's behavior and, if needed, keep a journal for a few days to figure out specifically what the trigger to shy behavior is.
A good example of this is that many dogs will become excited when presented with their lead because they expect to go on a walk. Target training teaches the dog to touch his nose to some object or person for a click and then treat.

Walking your dog on leash
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