2. I don't allow anyone to pet him while he is working and I've gotten pretty good at body blocking kids. So by that I am trying to prevent the "scary thing." He never barks or growls, just try to get away, avoid, or get as close as he can to me.
3. Theo (my dog) loves other dogs so I've tried to use that to my advantage. During doggie play dates or dog park visits, because he is comfortable and having fun, I enlist the help of people he doesn't know to come meet him and reward him with food. I also use this method (giving the "stranger" food to give to Theo) on walks and such. So he gets practice both on and off leash. I never force him farther than he is comfortable because I want it to be a positive experience. Sometimes I will even have him sit or curl up on my lap to help him be comfortable with other people touching him. If he is in my lap he is a lot less anxious and will let a stranger touch him without trying to get away. Really I focus on trying to make every interaction with a "stranger" a positive one. I try not to coddle him too much just be as "involved" as I need to be so that the experience is positive.
When people do pet him I instruct them to pet him under the chin or on the chest because he doesn't like it when they reach over his head or hover over him.
1. He is also scared/wary of random objects. Somethings I know he has issues with (balloons, open umbrellas, covered things i.e. a covered grill or motorcycle) the dumpster. When he is scared he tries to get away from it till he is at the end of the leash or he backs into me. He never barks or growls, just tucks his tail and backs away, or if we are going toward it, he will refuse to go forward.
2.With these things I try to expose him trying to keep it as positive as I can. For example, I put a closed umbrella in the living room and reward him with food as he gets close to it until he will eat treats off of it. I moved it around closed on the floor/in my hand so it makes noise and repeat the process. This is as far was we have gotten. Next I would open the umbrella slightly, then move the slightly opened umbrella, then open it all the way on the floor, then move it, then hold it correctly, then have someone else hold it, then repeat the process in different environments other than home. If it is something like the dumpster or a covered thing, I reward him with food as he will get closer to it. He will usually get a little closer but that is it, he never gets all the way where he is touching it.
3. Sticking with the umbrella issue for a moment, I did get the suggestion to turn an open umbrella upside-down and feed him his meals in it. He is food motivated but not overly food motivated so if I did this he would just refuse to eat at all.
1. Random "scary" things. Ex: a rowdy kid rolls one of those plastic walmart balls at towards him, there is a worker rolling a huge stocking cart at the store, that random sound, or random object, etc. He acts the same way as with the previous examples. He doesn't bark but backs away or into me.
2. If I can I will work him with food rewards, never pushing him, just encouraging. Sometimes I just take us away from the thing or situation. Depending on what it is he will get closer, but never super close.
3. Lately more often than not I just remove us from the situation
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