Did you know the touch reinforces behaviors in your dog?
This works two ways…
Touch when your dog is exhibiting a desirable behavior encourages them to continue doing whatever it is that you are wanting them to do! For example, you say sit, so your dog sits down, and you reward them with physical and verbal praise. The dog associates something positive with sitting when asked, so they will continue to sit so they receive that reward.
This works against you though.. The most common reaction to a fearful dog is for the owner to pet the dog to “reassure them”. For humans, relief is the common response to that reassuring touch when you are upset or scared. For a dog, you are telling that dog that it is okay to be scared, and you are reinforcing their fear! The dog learns that it gets touched and praised for being afraid, so they will continue to react that way to certain stimuli.
Want to learn more? Contact me and learn how you can better understand your dog’s needs and look at life from their perspective!