Face Your Fears

I won’t claim to know whether this is a tried and true dog training technique or a shot in the dark, but it seemed to work for puppy Emmie, the newest addition to my crew. She’s beginning to show fear during walks, in reaction to noisy busses, moving billboards and subway entrances. From a puppy’s point of view, I imagine that an underground train stairwell must look like a scary black abyss that’s swallowing her beloved treat dispensers (humans). So when she balked at passing the N/Q entrance next to Madison Square Park today, I first used a happy, excited voice to redirect her attention and change her mood, and then I held and petted her while she watched people go down and come up the stairs. After a few moments, and some major help from folks who reached up and petted her (positive reinforcement!), she was wagging her tail and seemed to be viewing it as a fun game. Yay for overcoming fears!

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