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When Ignoring Unwanted Dog Behavior Is NOT The Solution

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When should you not ignore your dog’s unwanted behavior?

If your dog is acting up out of fear or insecurities, do not ignore him. Many shelter dogs or dogs with traumatic pasts need comfort. Ignoring them can make them more insecure and unsure about themselves. There is no evidence that comforting a scared dog is bad for the dog or that it teaches them to act scared to get attention. Learn to differentiate between your dog being insecure, scared or uncomfortable versus misbehavior.


Can dog fake being scared?

There is a myth out in the dog world that if you pay attention to your dog when they are afraid, that the dog will then act like that to keep getting your attention. The truth is this: FEAR IS NO FUN for your dog! They are not going to want to recreate the experience or feelings just to get a couple of cookies from you. From Suzanne Hetts PHD  “They don’t pretend. If they don’t feel afraid, they don’t act afraid.”

Patricia McConnell, PhD “First, no amount of petting is going to make it worthwhile to your dog to feel panicked. Fear is no more fun for dogs than it is for people. … Imagine you’re eating ice cream when someone tries to break into your house at midnight. Would the pleasure of eating ice cream “reinforce” you for being afraid, so that you’d be more afraid the next time?”

If you feel your dog is acting out due to fear contact a professional to address the issue, don’t ignore it.