Desensitizing and Trust

Lacey exhibits a great deal of anxiety when the neighborhood dogs start barking. Yesterday, I decided it was time to get started on desensitizing her and helping her remain calm. As a Support dog, she must remain calm no matter how many barking dogs, sirens, and other loud noises are surrounding her.

But, she must also trust her humans to protect her…. and she doesn’t.  She doesn’t trust any human to protect her – which I’m inclined to think is a big part of the reason why she insists on being in the lead during our walks with Glimmer.

Desensitizing Lacey is important to her success as a Support dog.  But mutual trust and respect is critical. I refuse to nurture her whining when she becomes anxious and fearful, but I do need to figure out a way to build trust. I have been working to distract her with play when we’re outside and the neighborhood dogs are barking.  Sometimes, the effort is successful, but most times, it is not. So, I am trying to figure out what I can do to help her more effectively.  Because, her mistrust is impeding her ability to continue moving forward.

On a personal note, it breaks my heart that this little puppy is so fearful. What happened to her before her forever family found her?!

Lacey is 13 weeks old today.  Today, she gets her final set of vaccinations, and then, we’re off to the pet store to introduce her to new sights, sounds, smells, and the people who are going to help us raise her up.  We’re going to get her sized and fitted for her very first harness, and she may be getting a new kennel since her current one is now too small for her. I know she’s uncomfortable in it because she’s been preferring the big kennel, which, until recently, she was avoiding.

Desensitization and trust are two major components that must be incorporated into Lacey’s training. Of the two, trust is the most important.  If anyone has ideas about how to assist with this, please leave a comment. I would really appreciate that.


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