"Help for Your Fearful Dog: A Step-by-Step Guide for Helping Your Dog Conquer His Fears" is exactly what the title implies.
In Part I, Nicole Wilde explains the difference between fear and aggression (many "aggressive" dogs are actually reacting out of fear) and how to recognize each. She discusses various causes of fear, and some tips for prevention. There's a chapter on "the face of fear" (how to recognize the specific body language and vocalizations that indicate a fearful dog) and another chapter on human body language and how to use your own body language to help your fearful dog.
Part II sets the "Foundation for a Calm Dog." This section presents Nicole's "Firm Foundation System" which focuses on management, physical well-being, leadership, and training to help your fearful dog. This information is completely compatible with similar foundation-building chapters in "Click to Calm" by Emma Parsons. ("Click to Calm" is a must-have book if your dog is also reactive -- barking and lunging etc. -- in fearful situations.) "Help for Your Fearful Dog" also explains the roles of nutrition, excercise, and mental stimulation in reducing stress and anxiety.
Part III has step-by-step instructions for teaching "Skills" that will help you and your dog cope with scary situations. These include exercises in relaxation, attention, and targeting (teaching your dog to touch things on cue). There's also helpful advice on skills you can use to help teach your dog the skills he'll need.
Part IV provides a complete behavior modification program that builds on all the previous chapters. Topics covered include equipment, handling skills (how to control and direct your dog's behavior without adding to his fears), techniques (including classical conditioning, counterconditioning, desensitization, operant conditioning, and other scientifically based approaches to modifying behavior), all clearly explained. The vital topics of troubleshooting and measuring progress are also discussed here.
Part V covers specific fears and how best to help dogs learn appropriate behavior in these situations. The list of specific fears she covers is extensive, and includes fear and reactivity towards guests in the home, fear of family members, veterinary visits, fear of the car, crate, or stairs, thunderstorm phobia and sensitivity to sound, touch, and motion, and many more.
In Part VI, Nicole discusses complementary therapies. These include massage, TTouch, acupuncture and acupressure, homeopathy, flower essences, drug therapy, and aides such as body wraps calming caps, and DAP (Dog Appeasement Pheremones).
In sum, this is a comprehensive, well-written, well-founded in science and experience, and vital resource for anyone dealing with a fearful dog.
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