How to Create a Phobic Dog

Independence is Crucial! Thanks lolme for the photo

So as with many of my “how to’s” some of these are a little tongue in cheek, after all who wants to create a phobic dog??

I just saw a video that has/had been posted on you tube from a “K9 Academy” that was doing “fireworks” training and I think I had a mini stroke watching it.  You can look it up but I won’t do them the pleasure of posting the video for you and promoting anything with their name on it.

I am actually physically disgusted.  In short there are probably a couple dozen (maybe a hair less) dogs and dog owners standing around.  Their dogs are suppose to be doing a “down/stay” I assume; because the jack-wagon who I presume calls himself a dog trainer keeps telling the people if they don’t think their dog will be successful they can get closer.

As I watched the video I guess I was naïve enough to think that he wasn’t really going to light the fire crackers that close to the dogs.  I mean who would do that??  And, what sane dog owner would allow their dog to be traumatized like that, much less pay for it??

But, NO like all the other visual horrors and things that people do it dogs I guess there was not a sane person in the group.

Not only does he light the “fireworks” within like 3 feet of the dogs; I can tell he has instructed the owners to decapitate their dogs with prong collars and leashes when they break ranks; because as the dogs try to run away (to save themselves) the owners violently yank and try to correct their dogs back into a down.

One dog actually breaks his prong collar and leash and runs away (smart dog) despite the horror of watching his owner drag him back toward the noise.

I am horrified, and I am pretty sure that 98% of those dogs are now extremely firework and noise phobic and probably will be for the rest of their lives.

Fireworks going off that close to you must truly feel like a war zone.

Trust me, this is not how police and military dogs are trained!  This is horrific, despicable, and abusive.

I still can’t believe that this video didn’t end with the owners of the dogs beating the guy near to death…

Most people don’t want a phobic or fearful dog but the truth is; it really isn’t hard to create one because we think so differently from our canine counterparts.

Things that Create a Phobic Dog

  • Never teaching a dog independence
  • Carrying a dog everywhere (especially little dogs)
  • Over bonding with your dog (for more on that click here)
  • Coddling your dog when he has a fearful reaction
  • Never taking your dog out of the house
  • Not socializing puppies
  • Acting scared or nervous in certain situations
  • Thinking you need a super tough dog

Let’s Break that Down Shall We?

Teach Your Dogs Independence!

Teach Your Dogs Independence!


Independence is crucial to having a well-rounded self-confident dog.  Just like independence is crucial to raising a socially competent child, it is also important to your dog

Carrying your dog everywhere and not allowing him to wander and conquer his environment makes him nervous and fearful.  He only appears confident when he is in your presence and in your lap; and the idea of losing you or sharing makes him possessive and overly protective of you with other dogs and people.

This may seem like confidence but this is really a lack of it and his aggression is a way to help him feel better about his nervousness.

Imagine doing this with a 200 pound Rottweiler.  Never letting him off your lap to explore his environment and when he gets nervous he races toward your lap or your arms.  Pretty soon you have a 200 pound lap dog that is threatening everything that may take his safety net (you) away.

Dog’s need to develop their own independence so that they can learn to deal with the world on their own; this would not be a healthy way to treat a child and it is not a healthy way to raise a dog.

Over bonding and putting extreme emotional stress on your dog also does not help with his confidence and his ability to be independent.

Over bonding can also create a neurotic and fearful dog that is uncomfortable in his own skin, and for more on that and why it can be dangerous click here.  


Don't Coddle Your Dog or Hold Him When He is Scared.

Don’t Coddle Your Dog or Hold Him When He is Scared.

Coddling your dog is never good.  Dogs aren’t like children with fur when it comes to this ideal.

When children are scared we hug them, talk sweetly to them and try and change their mindset.  We can rationally speak with them about why their fears are not going to come true or are irrational.

We can’t do this with our dogs, so cooing and petting and holding only rewards their behavior and their flawed thinking.

If, say, your dog is fearful of people and you see him back up and try to run or begin shaking and you reach down and pet him, talk sweetly to him, or pick him up and put him in your lap you are essentially rewarding his fears and making him feel advocated in his fear that people are bad.  He thinks by doing this that you agree.

Instead of coddling and cooing we need to show our dogs (within reason) that whatever they are afraid of is not going to hurt them.

I went outside to get my puppy the other day and it was raining HARD so I brought my umbrella.  He had never seen an umbrella before so I saw his hackles raise, he growled and then he ran away.

I was surprised because he is a pretty confident puppy, but I also understand that fears are pretty normal in puppies.  So instead saying “it’s okay” “it’s okay” I laughed, patted my leg and lowered the umbrella.  Within seconds he was dive bombing and biting it… fear squelched!

But if I had quickly deflated it, ran in and hugged and loved on him… the next time he saw it he might very well have been worse!


This goes with the previous paragraph in so many ways.  If you never take your dog or your puppy out of the house, he is probably going to develop fears.

Puppies especially go through stages where it is critical for them to get out and meet people and see as many “good” things as possible.  The idea is not to flood or stress them with crazy things, like fireworks, jack hammers, or gun fire… the idea is to slowly build their confidence so when they are an adult they can deal with loud noises and strange things.

But, socialization is an ongoing need.  You can socialize a puppy constantly until he is out of his puppy phase and then not take him out of the house for two years and you are likely to have a fearful dog on your hands!

Training and socialization is a constant when it comes to good dog ownership!

Acting Scared or Nervous in Certain Situations

Force and Flooding Almost Never Works

Force and Flooding Almost Never Works

This is another great way to create a phobic or fearful dog.

And, I have to admit sometimes this is easy to do and may have been unavoidable.

I was driving my girl and I to agility one night.  I have the cutest little two seater car that I love that is very low to the ground and it was raining.

Fury doesn’t like riding in the car anyway; I mean she wants to go but she has gotten motion sick since she was little and doesn’t really enjoy the “ride”.

So when we hydroplaned and I found myself drifting into oncoming traffic, my heart stopped, I gasped and that is all it took to scare the proverbial “pants” off her.

Now whenever it rains in the car… she is looking for the smallest space to hide in; which is sad because she is so confident in every other area and I have never seen a fear arise in her.

Although this was a true gut and physical reaction that I couldn’t really help, be very careful about showing fears in front of your dog or you may create a phobia or even aggression.

I once had a client that I trained a service dog for; the dog was great and loved everyone until I placed her and her “mom” who was scared of men (little did I know) would gasp or scream when men approached.

I had to not only take the dog away, I had to drop her from the program and recondition her totally with men.  She didn’t know why her former mom hated men, but she adopted her fear/anger toward them after she had been exposed to that behavior for a period of time.

So You Want a Tough Dog

Putting on the Breaks, Definite Sign of Fear. Thanks hubpages for the photo

Putting on the Breaks, Definite Sign of Fear. Thanks hubpages for the photo

You can’t scare a dog into acceptance.

You can’t light firecrackers under your dog’s tushy and expect to break a noise phobia.

You can’t take your future hunting dog out to the field and shoot a 40 caliber weapon right next to his head and expect him to “work it out”.

What if You Already have a Fearful or Phobic Dog?

Helping a dog with noise phobia can be hard work and for more on that click here.

Sensitizing and desensitizing a dog to something takes time and effort!  For more on that click here

And changing a phobia can be difficult if not impossible, for more on that click here.

How to deal with thunderstorm phobias click here.

Preparing your dog for gun fire click here.

Building your dog or your puppy’s confidence click here

Do You Want To Learn How To Fix Your Dog’s Fears?

Check out our 5 Step Formula that helps FINALLY Fixing Your Dog’s Fears, Anxieties & Poor Self Confidence.

Click here to learn this ‘Becoming Fear Free’ training process

Start Calming Down Your Over Excited Dogs Today!

Your First Lesson’s FREE:

Sign up below and we’ll email you your first “Training For Calm” lesson to your inbox in the next 5 minutes.


  1. Penny Miller says:

    Good article, especially regarding force and flooding. However, if you have read any of Jean Donaldson, the theory of rewarding fear by petting is a myth.

    She explains very well; the myth that, “If you pat your dog while he is afraid, you are rewarding the fear. Fear is an emotional state-a reaction to the presence or anticipation of something highly aversive. It is not an attempt at manipulation. If terrorists enter a bank and order
    everybody down on the floor, the people will exhibit fearful behavior.
    If I then give a bank customer on the floor a compliment, 20 bucks, or chocolates, is this going to make them more afraid of terrorists next time? It is stunningly narcissistic to imagine that a dog’s fearful behavior is somehow directed at us (along with his enthusiastic door-dashing).

    What do you think?


    Minette Reply:

    Whereas I like Jean Donaldson and I agree with severe phobic responses (which are rare) dogs learn that certain behaviors and reactions provide a reward and are more likely to show those behaviors because they are rewarding.

    So if my puppy is afraid of a flag, and I pick him up and hold him, and coo to him, and pet him (all highly rewarding) and we turn away from it so he doesn’t have to deal with it; the next time he sees something that scares him or something that he is unsure of he will want the same rewarding treatment.

    However, if I kind of ignore his fear and we slowly approach the flag and I laugh and show him it is not a big deal and that he can conquer it, he will be less likely to show a fear response the next time he is unsure. And he has learned how to overcome his fear response and how to be more confident and independent.

    If I had the mental IQ of a dog and a robber (robbers and terrorists are very different) ordered me to the ground and scared me but then he gave me $10,000 (the reward has to be good enough… chocolate isn’t going to cut it) would I be less scared the next time someone held up the bank?? Yes, I probably would cause I would want my $10,000 (remember I have the IQ of a dog)

    This would be the same with children. If you give your child an ice cream cone or a toy every time he/she shows a fearful response to a stimulus, the odds are they will start showing more fear responses or even pretending to be fearful of things in their environment so that they can get the reward they desire.

    The original first fear that the dog ever felt is probably not directed at us, however if the response is rewarded then it is more likely to occur again.

    There are also many published studies that show that dogs read our body language and expressions. Happy person, happy dog; scared person, scared dog; stressed person, stressed dog. This is a well studied and proven fact and one of the reasons that dog exhibit leash aggression (because of the nervousness and fear the owner exhibits when faced with another dog).

    Take a perfectly well adjusted dog and scare their owner and see how the dog reacts. Many of us that compete know that the stress of competition can effect even the most well trained dog.

    Narcissistic? No, I don’t think so because unlike any other animal dogs care enough to pay attention to our moods, our behavior, and our reactions to our environment.

    Not to mention a negative response that is rewarded will likely be seen again because it becomes a learned behavior when the same or like situation happens.


    Joy Noll Reply:

    To: Penny Miller: Respectfully, as usual; you are equating human intelligence and dog intelligence to be equal. Dogs are NOT people and they don’t think like people. I have a Black Lab/Border Collie Mix w/fear issues. The couple before me got him w/even more severe fear reactions. They babied him, “it’s okay,” and, “don’t worry baby,” while petting him. Did this alleviate his fears-well it diminished a few, but that’s it. Before deciding to adopt him, we were all in my apt. and the couple was sitting on the couch as I introduced Buddy to the rooms he would be allowed in w/me in control of his leash. I then put him in a sit beside my Power Chair and dropped his leash. He backed up a tiny bit, hitting my D.R. chair-causing a small scraping noise. He BOLTED across the room and tried to hide behind my recliner. I got up and in an upbeat voice said, “come on out Buddy,” while grabbing his collar. He hopped right out. I said, “come see,” in a happy voice and walked him back over to the same chair, naming it for him. The couple had looked at each other, then at the two of us sitting quietly at the same “scary chair” and asked me how I had done that? I told them that even though they had been well meaning, babying him wasn’t the answer. I showed him through my body language, voice and confidence that he was just fine. They couldn’t believe it, but I could! LOL He bumped the chair a second time shortly thereafter and simply looked up at me. I didn’t even look at him, pretending nothing had happened. He stayed seated and even laid down within a couple of minutes, calm as could be. This author is 100% correct!! Exercise, Discipline and Affection-notice affection comes last is the best recipe for success. Affection given at the wrong time can cause a ton of behavioral issues. Not enough exercise creates a bored, unfulfilled dog, no discipline creates a myriad of problems. Dogs are Dogs-NOT people. Please don’t treat them like a human child-it can literally ruin a wonderful dog.


  2. Carolyn says:

    I have a five year old border collie mix who is aggressive towards other dogs. I adopted Rusty from an animal shelter three years ago when he was only two years old. I can only assume that he was probably attacked by another dog as a puppy. Every time I take Rusty for a walk, all dogs of all sizes try and have attacked him. I have no idea why. Naturally I am nervous and defensive and carry a powerful stun gun and pepper spray. The stun gun I actually had to use on one very large dog who attacked Rusty. I am in the process right now of taking the owner to court to pay the vet bill after the attack. So, yes I am still apprehensive when I take Rusty out, and I know he can sense it, but he has been attacked so many times before I will not allow him to get near a dog that he does not know.


    Minette Reply:

    I would recommend taking a group obedience class.

    Even if your dog doesn’t need it, he will get use to being in a controlled environment with other dogs, which will help with his fears and yours and it will teach you to control him around other dogs.


    Christine Pielenz Reply:

    I’d like to add to be very careful about choosing the right class. This could easily backfire if the trainer can’t manage the class well (both human and canine), and an already fearful dog could get really overwhelmed and/or make it really hard for the other participants to focus on class. I’d suggest observing a class with a particular trainer first (without your dog) to make sure the trainer has a good setup. And, of course, uses positive reinforcement!


    Pat McCann Reply:

    best to have a fenced yard for your poor bc mix and spend time there with him rather than taking him on walks that are uncomfortable for him and stressful for you and him. He would be very happy staying home in his own fenced yard, playing ball or jumping in a baby swimming pool….not every dog needs or likes to go for walks in the public…


  3. I have a little problem. My 20 months ex rescue bitch Skye, is pretty laid back and bomb proof,living with 2 cats and free range chickens and me is no problem for her,but for one thing, if I have to move in a hurry and shout ” move’ everything except Skye gets out of my way, and she drops her rear end and leaves a puddle, she seems frozen for a few seconds and very confused, it doesn’t matter if we are inside or out,if I think first and shout ”run” she hesitates but does move off, I have never fussed over my animals,they all get one on one time with me,and 99% of the time all is fine, any ideas.


    Minette Reply:

    I am guessing the shouting is bothering her!! I would stop shouting! She probably doesn’t understand and so her default is to stop everything and shut down.

    Instead teach her to move using positive methods and perhaps some clicker training.


  4. Sadie Jones says:

    our dog is too friendly with people and is always jump and down on people even if the guy have gun then she is still friendly also she is not afraid of anything even thunderstorm and lighting.
    how can I get her to control as I have try everything?


    Minette Reply:

    An outgoing people loving dog is always a good thing!!!

    Keep her on a leash to keep her from jumping on people and teach her to sit or lay down when people approach her.


  5. Anne says:

    My dog is terrified of water. She’s a Goldendoodle, so both her bloodlines are water dogs, but she hates it. Every time there’s any hint of water, she’s out of the room in a heartbeat. Whenever I give her baths, I have to pick her up and force her in the tub. I don’t want to try the hose, because she’s even more scared of that. What do I do to make her less scared of water?


    Marty Reply:

    I also have this problem! Bath times make her shake with fear and she leaves a few puddles before I can pick her up to get into the tub. She won’t go in wet grass after it rains (she will “hold it” for up to 12 hours if needed). She’s not food motivated, so giving treats when she does get her feet wet isn’t an option. I don’t know how to begin desensitization, but if anyone else does please help!


    ladyrob Reply:

    Hi Marty,Hi Anne…
    just read both your “bathtime blues” and might have an idea.

    I’ve had three Neapolitan Mastiffs that are supposed to be natural “water horses”.
    The first was…he got in the bath with me as a pup when he saw my cat sitting on the bath bench enjoying a cloth was..(it was the cat’s idea) AS he grew larger and larger it graduated to him getting into the bath of his own accoed for a big scrub when I got out.
    My second fellow was a rescue and had never had a bath! Fortunately his house mate taught him what fun it was so a jostle for who got in first when I vacated the tub.

    The third one I have doesn’t mind a gentle trickle of cold water from the hose in the summer but no more than that and that’s not a bath…so I brought the bath to him rather than trying to force him into the bath.

    Got a large container and slid it under hum as he stood over it, shallow water to start and a short time. Then I gradually filled it with warm water and doggy shmpoo and bought a nice soft microfibre cloth which I rubbed with lanoline…(the reason being that I breed cats and lanoline smells like mother cat’s teats), so took a punt that it might also be soothing to a young dog…IT WAS.

    Now bath is bonding time. It consists of dog standing over a large butchers’ bone bin of warm water and shampoo washing him and massaging him with the soft microfibre lanoline cloth and hands then pouring clean water over from a jug like the trickle from the hose
    The cloth also enables me to wipe face wrinkles, eyes and ears and other parts clean…all the while talking to him in an upbeat encouraging tone.
    He now enjoys bathtime immensely and so do I.
    Seems a bit silly since he is a descendant of the mighty fearless dogs of war but I’ve not been able to take him swimming like I did the others and I guess even supposed tough guys like pampering.
    Hope it works for you. Hope you both enjoy it as much as we do.
    I’m no dog trainer but believe that each dog is an intelligent individual and that its a question of understanding ” dog” as well as individuality.


  6. Eileen says:

    My dog is normally laid back and getting better with big dogs. She has this need to mark everything and I am wondering if there is something wrong with me (physically) that I am not seeing. I am pretty good at sensing those types of things and have done a few thing that helped; now the pattern changes. After a short walk, my dog starts eating grass and panting. Yet when I enter the house, she hangs out by the door waiting for me to put on her leash and go out again.

    We have leash laws here; so letting her wander around is not really practical.


  7. Scott D says:

    I have an 8yr old Shepard mix. A very sweet 105 lb dog that I rescued 2 yrs ago. She spooks pretty easy, at things that move on their own. I,e a bicycle rolling off a kickstand, cardboard blowing in the wind, or even something hitting the floor that Ive accidently dropped. She moves on quick enough and things are just fine….UNTIL….recently she has had an incredible fear of the ceiling fan. She looks up at it about every 20 seconds to check that its not moving. When it is on, she is very nervous and when her anxiety increases a huge amount when she sees it start or stop. (tail between legs, running out of room) I have convinced her to come into the room (with treats) while the fan is on. It is not the air moving that bothers her. It is definitly the fan blades moving. (Theyre Alive) Please suggest something I can do, summer is here, and Ive got to use my fans.


    Minette Reply:

    I would exercise her until she is tired and then turn them on while she sleeps.

    Start in a room she is not in and move on as she becomes better acclimated.

    Then I would suggest that you leave them on for a while as she gets use to living with them.


  8. Stephanie says:

    What about a dog that’s too independent & acts phobic of us?

    We’ve had a rescue for just over a year now. He’d been at the pound for four months. Everyone there loved him and was so glad to see him adopted out. They think he was ~1-1/2 when we got him. They didn’t know his history. We think he’s a hound / pit mix. He definitely doesn’t have much pit in him. He’s quite docile. And sometimes subservient to other aggressive dogs. He has occasionally found the Alpha Dog in himself, but rarely. He pretty much gets along w/ all the other dogs and doesn’t need to prove himself.

    When we got him he was a bit skittish, understandably, but he socialized well with our old dog and the neighborhood dogs. Our old dog has since gone to doggy heaven, which was why we got Josh when we did, so Mason could show him the ropes around the “hood.”

    So Josh is now on his own and has become more and more skittish of us … less of me than my husband, but still skittish of humans in general. We’ve noticed, if we are sitting down, he is more likely to come to us, but almost never if we are standing up.

    When Mason was alive, they’d eat inside and usually be inside w/ us in the evenings, until bedtime. After Mason died, Josh eventually stopped coming inside, so I’ve moved his food outside, which is preferable, if the reason wasn’t because he was afraid to come inside. When he does come inside, which is rare, he’s a bit better socially and will literally lean on you to pet him constantly if you are sitting down, but will scatter if you move to get up. And will hardly venture into the kitchen, as if there’s a monster around the corner ready to pounce on him if he does. We’d prefer that he stay in the kitchen, as Mason did, on his “rug.” Josh has never adopted a spot inside, other than leaning on us if we are sitting.

    We live in the country, so the dogs have free roam. We both work days, so he is there on his own all day, and I know that doesn’t help. But we’ve had other rescue dogs that were fine with that set up. We can’t understand why Josh is this way.

    As my husband says, we’ve been nothing but nice to him, so there’s no reason for him to be scared of us, but we basically feed him and let him live there, but there’s apparently “no love” on his end.

    In the a.m. when my husband is leaving for work, Josh will come to me (standing up) and let me pet him as long as I’m standing at the edge of the garage door. When I take one step inside the garage, he runs out and watches me get his food in the bowl and waits for me to go in the kitchen before he’ll go skittishly to his bowl to eat. He even eats in an awkward stance as if he’s ready to run for his life at any moment.

    Any advice??


  9. Debbie says:

    We have a rescue dog (Buddy) we have had for 5 years now. He was 9 months old when we got him from paws. They said no abuse. He has 2 problems we can live with but would rather not. 1. He won’t go outside to potty until we step out the door with him. Then you tell him to go potty and he watches you walk back in the house. I have sort of trained him to bark to get in. Most of the time he jumps on the door windows and just really wants in. I get him to bark and he comes in. The shelter told us that the guy had to leave him in his car at night because he lost his home and his sister wouldn’t let him in the house. Even if I let him out front to run free he will come back just pounding on the door wanting in. Of course we always let him in.
    2. He also is afraid of loud noises, thunder, fireworks and gun fire and we live by a gun range. He is also scared of men in hats.
    We love him dearly and have just figured it was some form of abuse. We won’t get rid of him either way. just looking for suggestions.

    We also have a 16 month old Akita (Tebow). We thought he would help get him outside. He doesn’t seem to help either. Tebow loves it outside. They will both go out if my husband mows the yard or I weed but when we come back in Buddy is right on our heels.
    Any suggestions??? Thanks


  10. Christine Pielenz says:

    I have a question about the video you mentioned. I could look this up myself, but I’m afraid it’ll just make me cry and wreck my next few days… mainly I’d like to know whether you think there’s anything one can do about this, like send the link to the Humane Society, the ASPCA or whatever else. If you think there’s any chance that might get them to prosecute these brutes, you could send me the link privately so I don’t even have to watch it to find out whether it’s the right one, and I’ll send it along.


  11. ladyrob says:

    ITS MY BONE, Grrr…THE BOWL HAS MY BONE..quivver and shake.

    Hi Minette, as always interested in your colum. I’ve written before about my Neapolitan Mastiff that has bone aggression..(I give him a bone but he defends it even from me when I should be able to take it back if I choose,) This behaviour has been somewhat modified to the point where he will actually come to me and give me his bone like one of his toys after he’s had a good chew but I still find that he will defend it even against me if he has not finished with it or if he’s guarding where he has buried it.

    A couple of times, not thinking, I’ve walked behind him and his bone whilst going inside and he has turned to defend his bone in a knee-jerk reaction only to realise that it was me and he backed off looking very afraid because of what he’d done…I’ve never hit him or reprimanded him for this ‘bone guarding’ just ignored him.
    For him to look afraid for having nearly attacked me was not something I was expecting…and it seemed that he felt he’d done wrong, Ears down and like many Neos do for many reasons, his teeth were chattering so loudly as if he were freezing in the snow.
    I walked away and later I could pick up the well chewed bone right in front of him and he let me have it no problems…it had become one of his ‘collectables’. Also, if I put a bone in his big bowl with other food and it gets wedged in the bottom of the bowl he grizzles and whines when he is perfectly capable of getting it out and, if the bowl slips along the ground he gets upset at it as if it is taking his bone and he seems afraid to just grab the bowl and take the bone….so I or anyone else may not take his bone but the bowl is something he fears when his bone is stuck in it.

    I don’t put bones in his bowl anymore, and occasionally I’ve not used a bowl but put his food and bone in a brown paper bag and made him chase it down the paddock…he seems to like that.

    All I’ve done to counteract this behaviour is ignored him when he has had a bone on the ground and I’ve encouraged him… from afar… to “Get the bone…you get it” etc when the bowl seemed to have taken it!

    Its hard to see a large,level-headed in all other ways good-natured dog carry on like this, and I do not know what to do in his best interests in this respect.

    He reacted to my friend with her umbrella the other day but soon realised it was nothing to protect me against and that a friend was under there, so when he works out all other situations easily its
    really strange to me that he has a problem like this.
    He is a clever dog afraid of nothing,gentle natured and he.. “gets it”.

    He deftly took the brethaliser from a cop’s hand through the car window last week then just glared indignantly at the cop without any other threatening behaviour…

    Minette can you solve this puzzle please? I want to understand what’s with my big boy’s head on this “bone and bowl has my bone” problem.

    One thing I wonder about…When he was younger, I had to go to hospital and left him home with a stranger supposed professional dog-minder.I came home to a cowering dog…so something may have gone on in my absence. I will never do that again!. Maybe could she have hit him with his own stainless steel bowl?
    THANKS for listening. Robin


    Minette Reply:

    Its not about figuring out WHY it is more about keeping it from happening.

    I can tell you if he was my dog he would never have a bone! If I felt like a hostage in my own home or on my property I would not allow my dog to have whatever it was.

    If I decided he needed a bone of some sort, I would make it a completely edible version and put him in a crate where he could eat it and not terrorize anyone.

    He learns how to keep you away from things he wants every time he is successful with this behavior. So I would make sure it is not an option. The dog I had possession issues with, only got goodies in his crate.

    And, I would seat belt him in and make sure he is safe and restrained in a car. I hear numerous tales of dogs being shot by cops for behavior that can be taken as even slightly aggressive.

    And, whereas often the cop is out of line… these officers also have family and don’t want to be injured to the point they can never work again. I have many police officers as friends, and I would rather they shoot a dog than lose a finger or be disfigured and not be able to feed their families.

    You may think that the behavior was acceptable or wasn’t that bad… but you might run across a police officer someday who is less amused.

    I was once ordered out of my car and told if I did not quiet my dogs they would be shot. Which thankfullly I could and did and it was simply because they barked and the officer saw a bite suit in the back of my car.

    For me it comes down to more control and obedience and working obedience and control all the time.

    I discussed last time how to take things away in a positive manner. But nothing matters if you allow him to make his own rules and don’t make him listen.

    He needs constant obedience so when you tell him to leave it, or be quiet, or whatever your desire, his default is to listen to you!


  12. Linda says:

    Why was your puppy kept outside in the pouring rain?

    My dog begins to shake and pant when he senses thunder approaching. It’s not the clapping of the thunder because he begins to shake when the thunder is minutes away. He did the same thing when they were blasting underground for the subway, but he did it a few minutes before the blasting.

    What would you suggest I do? Right now, he runs to me and jumps on my lap.


  13. ladyrob says:

    Hi Minette, thanks for your response but you have demonised my dog and misunderstood entirely. You did not address the bit about my boy being afraid of his bowl having taken his bone…that should explain something.
    I have a traumatisesd Neapolitan Mastiff juvenile here who is exhibiting behaviour that scares even him, he knows he’s doing something wrong and he is relying on me to be his psychiatrist! Yes, they THINK and they reason and are perhaps the only dogs in the weorld that are not “Doggy” dogs for man to train…they need to be moulded and that’s a lot different.

    In this instance I apologise to you for putting you on the spot, these are not the dogs you work with, not the kind of dogs you understand and not the dogs that any of the forces work with, (yet they were once the Mighty Molosser Dogs of war)…that acted and discerned the need of the moment alongside their masters/warriors. It was a natural collaboration.

    Thanks to my boy’s breeder Maria Bryan of Charleville in Outback Queensland, they may be again what they were created to be before the show dog people turned them into lumbering hyperthyroiditic dwarfish+ legged hulks of blinding dewlap.
    Maria Bryan’s Neos are the best natural protective breed alive and they do know the difference between when they need to act and when not and exactly how much pressure to apply.
    My boy would never bite me. He backed off when he realised what he was doing. Something has happened to him in my absence and since he can do everything but speak English I need to find what to do to help him.
    My boy is not holding me or my property to ransom and that cop (who in this country needed to respect what was in my property harnessed on the passenger seat) was in no danger of losing his fingers! I do not own an irrational aggressive beast and I know it even though he is afraid of his own bowl taking his bone!
    BONES,are not “goodies”, especially thigh marrow bones but are an essential ingredient in the BARF diet (Bones And Raw Food) including mushed up greens, vegetables and fruit…the stomach contents of ruminant prey for dogs in the wild.

    Can’t see any of the brave guys with guns runnung into battle with a mighty Molosser by his side as his only protection…and one needs to ask why. Might it be that the Neo can anticipate faster and discern better and put the man to shame?
    So, apologies Minette, seems I asked the baker how to cook a chook this time…more silly me!

    See ABCalert Neapolitan


    Minette Reply:

    I have worked with many Neos over the years and even lived with a few.

    No dog is really any different than another in what they need or how they should be treated.

    I stand by what I say, I would not want to feel held hostage in my own home and if he is stiffening or growling or showing any kind of possessive behavior he is telling you he is willing to bite.

    Not a big fan of the BARF diet either, so another recommendation would be to go to kibble which is less likely to be guarded.

    Sometimes I like understanding why and other times it doesn’t matter, it is a simple matter of keeping something bad from happening.


  14. ladyrob says:

    Thanks again for the response Minette.
    I will not argue the points with you, you have your experience with your beloved Malinois.
    I will say though that the “Many Neos” you worked with “over the years” may not have had had the energy nor the mental stamina to rise to challenge your training experience based on the exhausted, deformed, sad example that won Crufts just a couple of years ago, and that the original Molossers did not run into battle with their bag of kibble!
    Thanks for your opinion though.

    No Neo goes out the gate of ABCalert if it is not healthy or stadfast.
    Nothing is going to happen here except that my boy continues to grow into the best version of a Neo and that I find the exact ways with whuch I can help him to do this.
    I am sure you wish me that.
    Some of Chet’s advice in all sorts of training things may have some gems I can use. I have a good Neo in all respects and he won’t be biting anyone or anything out of fear. I’d bet you my last dollar on that.
    You still did not address what you think caused him to despair that his bowl is running away with his bone wanting me to get it for him.
    Anyway, we’ve solved that.I just dislodged it from his bowl and gave it to him and bought him a bowl with a flat bottom!
    All the best in your dog training career, Minette.


  15. Curtis says:

    Big Fan of Minette But this time I feel u r 1/2 off on this one.
    I have not read any of the comments that followed, just the ones about K’9 and firecrackers.. first know I agree NO!! The fire crackers should not have been so close The dogs eyes where in danger by BUT some of this training is needed! With the fireworks, just as we take our dogs out (dog parks, in town LL Games dog shows so on) so the Dogs (puppy for sure)to become Social, these dogs have to train in real life and sometimes Life brings Firecrackers (Mardi-Gras, spring break so on)So unless they’re training was for law enforcement, Military Why would you not use firecrackers for Training? Dogs saves life’s Just the way it is And You may feel I am off the mark but for Retrieving and other sports even home Protection Why would you not train them without a Gun (without eye danger and more realistic sound noise with the dog at a safe distance of course.

    As always We can agree to disagree best to learn by Debate then war or hate.
    open minded comments even disagreement is always kindly welcome


    Minette Reply:

    I never said not to use noise. I am a proponent on training my dogs to accept all kinds of noises including gun fire and getting my dogs use to all kinds of noise distractions.

    I can fire a gun right next to my dogs without any negative response, but this is not how I started training. I started with gunfire in the distance and associated the noise with fun and excitement and gradually worked up closer and closer.

    I don’t even mind utilizing fire crackers if done at a safe and far distance and working up.

    I usually even use the fourth of July as an opportunity to train my dogs with fireworks and help them enjoy and adjust.

    You would have to watch the video to understand the horrific response. It was clear that the fire crackers had not been used from a distance and then worked closer as the dog tried to scream and run.

    Having them this close only encourages phobic responses.

    Starting with noise in the distance and desensitizing dogs with positive response, games and treats is the way to train, and this is the way young dogs and puppies are trained for police and military.

    I don’t mind the premise, I find the way it was done in this video sad and horrific.


  16. Curtis says:

    I did see the video and all I have to say… I SURE HOPE THERE NOT CONSIDERED CERTIFIED TRAINERS! I’ll have to agree mind blowing What some people do in the name of training even a slow wit should know better SO SO many wrongs in the video… its sad. Some of them dogs may never recover CRAZY FOR SURE!!


  17. Susan King says:

    I don’t know if Loki has a phobia or what it is. It makes no sense. Anytime I get out the harness and leash he runs to hide. If I really have to catch him (like a trip to the vet, which he loves) I have to think ahead and lock him in a room where he has less area. He loves food of any kind, but even holding out a treat won’t bring him to me (even if I’ve hidden the harness). I always give him a treat to munch on while I put the harness on. Once it is on and I put on the leash, he’s fine. He’s never had a bad experience while on the leash and the harness is as comfortable as they come. We got a 2nd dog when he was 9 months old and she is fine to get harness and leash on. He watches me put hers on but still cowers and does anything to get away. He actually slinks away with his ears down and has a different expression on his face. He was pretty much that way from the beginning and for no reason. What’s strange is he replaced a dog of the same type mixed breed (Boston Pug) that I had to put to sleep before he was 2 years old and he acted exactly the same way, also for no reason. Once harnessed and leashed, both of them are (were) totally back to normal behavior and excited about going somewhere. Any ideas out there? I’m totally baffled.


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