Treatment Type: Training Techniques
Rated for: Border Collie
Posted Nov 25, 2017
Desensitizing a dog to fearful stimuli and lots of different types of things that it may encounter throughout it's life is extremely important as a preventative measure. Doing so can prevent things like barking, aggression, timidness, whining, escaping while panicking, and other fear based behaviors.
A dog that has been desensitized to many new and strange things is well prepared to handle what it encounters as it ages. It is more calm, confident, and relaxed in general.
Treating a dog that is already struggling with fear or anxiety, such as noise phobia, barking at the door in anticipation of strangers, acting defensively aggressive towards strange people, acting fear of and reactivity towards children, whining out of anxiety, and generally acting skittish and reactive is much harder than preventing the issues through desensitization to begin with, but it is still effective for treating many dogs.
Desensitization can help a fearful dog learn to be calm around fearful stimuli, to be less reactive, to be more confident, and to be more open to other training while in the presence of the things it previously was fearful of.
Treating fears that are already ingrained can take time though. Although it is often effective, it sometimes needs to be combined with other training methods and can take time and patience in order to pay off. Desensitizing puppies through socialization and rewards and exposure to many things is an effective practice for every owner and dog.