Lately I have been reading a lot about the neurobiology of fear. It is unfortunate that once conditioned fear is learned, it is fairly indelible. They are emotional memories and as such they are difficult to erase. Yes, you can countercondition and that is somewhat effective, temporarily. It helps, but when it comes to fear in dogs, this sort of training is subject to rapid reversal. Practicing voluntary impulse control can ameliorate the fearful response and is a step in the right direction.
The Other Side Of The Coin
While working with fearful dogs is difficult and slow going there is some good news. Good things can come from this which is why the post by Roxanne Hawn on her blog, Champion Of My Heart, is so inspirational. “Five Ways A Fearful Dog Improves Your Life” is insightful . For anyone who is considering rescuing a fearful dog or is currently working with one this may provide the encouragement that is needed. It is heartfelt , realistic, and encouraging about an issue that is complex and challenging. Take a look and feel better about your fearful dog and what he may be teaching you.