Hand Shy, Head Shy - 7 Steps to Help Your Dog Overcome This Behavior

Many dogs, more often than not puppies that have not been handled by the breeder, or animals that have been abused, or are rescued from shelters shy away from hands. This is especially true of a hand going toward their face or going over their head. Unfortunately, they cannot tell you what negative experience they had with human hands. Many perceive this action as a threat. Usually, some form of abuse, lack of socialization or neglect, is the cause of this heartrending behavior. Never grab at a dog with this behavior issue. It can cause them to become more apprehensive, and/or possibly aggressive! Fearful dogs can be dangerous dogs. Be patient. You can help them overcome this fear, and make a positive association to your hand.

What You Can Do To Help Your Dog Overcome Hand Shyness:

1. When approaching your dog, approach slowly, and at a slight angle. By approaching at an angle, you will not appear as big and threatening, than if you approached straight on. You may also squat or kneel, so as not to project a threat.

2. SLOWLY reach your hand out, and stroke your dog under the chin, keeping your hand in sight. Avoid “jerky” motions with your arms. Speak softly and calmly. Praise him/her for allowing you to touch them. If they will accept it, reward them with a treat.

3. Enroll your dog in obedience classes as soon as possible. Find a local trainer who practices positive reinforcement, punishment-free methods. Work on verbal corrections, a calm tone of voice and non-threatening body language, rather than physical corrections.