Dear Connie Q & A

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Question: My dog is so frightened of people he hides behind the settee and even hides behind me, is this normal? Answer: Most fearful dogs tend to stay quite close to their owner. This type of dog should be encouraged to have a toy. Encourage the dog to carry this toy as a retrieve article. Play by throwing and gradually increase the distance that you throw the toy. The excitement of the hunting sequence helps negate any fears of being away from you.

Try to make yourself less available in general to the dog. This will ensure that the dog learns to cope without relying on you as much. An indoor plastic or mesh type kennel can be used to advantage after carefully conditioning the dog to enter on his own. This can be achieved by feeding at the entrance and over a few days putting the food more inside.

This can also be achieved by throwing the retrieve toy closer and closer, then inside using tit bits. Eventually the indoor kennel will be seen as a safe haven. Place your dog inside when friends arrive, he will feel safer than hiding behind a settee.

I would also pay attention to the dogs diet and remember that raw meat or unpasteurised milk should never be fed to a dog, speak to your vet about a dried balanced food. Dogs are creatures of routine, and the more routine for this type of dog the more confident he will become. Meal times must be carried out at the same time each day.

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