Reinforcing Fear: Why the Debate?
People with dogs who are fearful of certain things or events have probably heard at least one of these statements as they looked for ways to help their companions “get over” their fears: “Do not give your fearful dog attention or you will reinforce his fear.” “Do not tell a fearful dog ‘it’s okay’ since you are giving him praise or permission to be fearful.” “Never pick up a fearful puppy or small dog since you are reinforcing his fear.” “Do not pet a dog that is fearful
I recently found a lovely videotape of my senior dogs. A smile came to my face seeing them hiking through woods, swimming in lakes and calming lying by my side during a summer picnic. Isn’t this why we have pets, to enjoy them throughout all stages of their life? Thankfully, my four-legged family members lived full lives. Why? It is simple. I've kept them all physically and mentally active. Just as it is important for humans to remain busy and stimulated during their re