Fear the Play-bow

Yesterday, the re-introduction process with the leash and the kennel was started. Lacey was on lead all day to help her adjust to the presence of the leash and learn how to work with it instead of against it. She also performed several exercises throughout the day being in the kennel and learning how to wait until invited to come out of it.  She did remarkably well, considering that she is very demanding and she strongly dislikes being confined for even a minute.  She doesn’t like being given boundaries, either – which the leash enforces – but she’s learning how to accept them and how to work within them in a calm, relaxed way.

Today, the leash and kennel training will continue.  We will also be continuing to work on recall, “sit”, and “down”.  Depending on how well she does with those things, I may introduce the “stay” command to her, as well.

Yesterday, I offered a play-bow to Lacey to invite her to play. To my surprise, instead of correctly interpreting that position, Lacey became afraid and ran away.  I tried everything I could think of to encourage her to come to me – including using a treat – but she absolutely refused.  She was genuinely afraid – and that concerns me. I’ve never encountered a dog who is fearful of the play-bow position. Lacey’s way of inviting play is to jump at the dog or human she wants to play with, but when she does that, she gets corrected.  This is very hard on her; she’s just a puppy, and she wants – and she needs – to play, but her invitations are not correct. She just isn’t understanding that what she believes is an invitation is, in fact, an unwanted behavior.

So, the challenge, here, is twofold: First, she has to be helped to overcome her fear of the play-bow position.  Second, she has to learn that the play-bow is the correct position to use when she wants to invite play.  How this is going to be achieved is anyone’s guess.  Having never met a dog who was fearful of a standard position like the play-bow, I’m not certain about how to address this very serious issue.  My creativity is definitely going to have to work over-time in order to help this little girl.

If anyone has any suggestions about how to help Lacey overcome her fear of the play-bow position, please comment.  Play is so crucial to a dog’s development and learning social behavior….

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