Dear Daisy Dog
Bonnie, our new Sheltie puppy, is quite timid. We enrolled her in puppy kindergarten, hoping to teach her basic obedience, socialize her and increase her self-confidence. Unfortunately, she’s so fearful, she won’t play with the other puppies. Do you have any recommendations?
I had a similar experience and overcame it, so perhaps my suggestions can help.
First, join a small class. Bonnie won’t feel as intimidated as she might in a large class filled with big barking Labradors.
Arrive early, so Bonnie has time to get comfortable with the room.
Take special treats reserved only for puppy kindergarten. The moment Bonnie does what you ask, reward her with praise and a treat.
Finally, place a DAP collar around her neck. This collar is impregnated with dog-appeasing pheromone, a natural chemical that reduces anxiety and fear in dogs.
In one study, 45 pups in a puppy kindergarten class wore either a DAP collar or a placebo collar with no active ingredient. The puppies with the DAP collars played more and were less fearful and anxious than pups wearing placebo collars.
This finding doesn’t surprise me, because my mom uses DAP collars and plug-in diffusers to minimize my canine sisters’ fear of thunderstorms and fireworks. DAP products also reduce canine separation anxiety and travel stress.