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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It's Okay To Comfort a Scared Dog

Comforting a scared pet will not increase his/her fears. Of course comfort is in the eye of the beholder. Some dogs do not want petting. They just want to hide. We should honor that. Some dogs want to be close to us. We should honor that.

If we are going to comfort our dogs, we need to be calm ourselves. If we are scared and speaking frantically or rubbing frantically, we might make our dogs feel worse.

Suzanne Clothier:
I’ve never seen any animal say to their child: “well suck it up baby”

Dr. Patricia McConnell
“Well, I understand that you are frightened, but I’m going to ignore you because any sympathy that I would give you might make you more likely to be frightened”

Jean Donaldson:
“Fear is an emotional state-a reaction to the presence or anticipation of something highly aversive. It is not an attempt at manipulation"

Victoria Stillwell:
“Far from reinforcing fearful behavior, an owner’s comforting arm and presence can help a phobic dog to cope as long as the owner remains calm at all times”

Dr. Suzanne Hetts – quoted on Debbie Jacobs's webpage:
[Animals] don’t pretend. If they don’t feel afraid, they don’t act afraid. When their emotional state changes, so do their behaviors.

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