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Training A Dog to Overcome Fear

During a group training session at the West Virginia’s Lakin Correctional Center for Women, we were using a variety of fear response distractions to prepare our K9’s for their upcoming outing with various handlers and program officials to socialize them with new people and environments.

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WINDE and Umbrella

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WINDE w/ Umbrella

A few minutes into our training session we noticed that WINDE (a Golden Retriever) was scared of our program supervisor while she was petting her with a closed umbrella in her hand. Upon this revelation steps were taken to be able to get WINDE to adapt to this new object she had never encountered. We started by placing the Umbrella in the floor and leaving a trail of Fruit Loops leading up to the Umbrella.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Once WINDE got close to the umbrella we placed Fruit Loops around the metal rings of the umbrellas end, allowing her to eat the Fruit Loop off of that ring. Once she realized that the umbrella was safe, it was then that the handler closed the umbrella and allowed WINDE to retrieve the umbrella off of the floor and to bring it back to the handler.
 
 
 

paws for vets

WINDE w/ Umbrella

 
 
 
 
 
 
These steps allowed WINDE to overcome her fear and to continue her efforts as a confident service dog. This is just another incident proving that it is possible to overcome anything by going that EXTRA MILE!!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 

paws for vets

WINDE w/ Umbrella

 
 
 
 
 
 
By Senior Trainer Amber D. and Primary Trainer Jessica W.

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