Most people thoroughly enjoy going for walks with their beloved Golden Retriever dogs. These dogs are such happy dogs to begin with and most of you know how excited they get to go outside. Many times they will bring you their leash to let you know they are ready, now!
One particular beautiful day, we took our Golden (Missy) for a walk near a trail/bike path along the river close to my home. It is a beautiful scenic route with lots of “smells” for our dog and many folks going by, giving her a lot of attention that she thrived on. Things changed drastically when we decided to go over the slatted bridge to the other side of the river. It was a sturdy bridge, not one of those suspended swaying type bridges that I myself would not cross.
As we started across, there was no problem until you could see the water below the open slats over the river. Suddenly Missy’s paws were quadruple in size as she was petrified and “holding on for life”. We were not aware of any fears that she had prior to this day, as she was always a very happy, carefree dog. She was, however, too heavy to carry, so we had to try and get her attention off the bridge and river by redirecting her focus on us as we proceeded to the other side. Being so trusting of us, as we kept calling her name and talking to her while we walked forward. It also helped to have small bits of treats in our pockets which kept her focus on us the whole time. It took some time and lots of patience to keep her focus and forget her fears temporarily.
If you have a dog such as Missy who has issues with heights or other stresses in life, your dog is not alone. These fears can be conquered with a lot of patience on your part. Analyzation is that a fear of heights is a deep emotional fear of losing one’s balance. A natural dog training called “pushing” is incorporated to teach a dog to overcome fears of imbalance. The concept of “pushing” is to hold one hand against your dog’s chest and food in the palm of your other hand. Slowly keep pulling the hand with the food further away while your dog pushes the chest against your other hand which would cause a feeling of “losing balance”.
Play with your dog on a higher level such as rushing up stairs or on a table with a favorite toy or ball, coaxing your dog to fetch it from you. Most times when a dog is playing, on top of the thing they fear the most, they forget their fears and in getting used to the situation, it becomes second nature to them.
Training your dog to overcome fears and anxieties takes a great deal of patience and focus. But with their deep desire to please you, especially the dedicated and loyal Golden Retrievers, the response to training is remarkably successful. Your dog can overcome many obstacles with special training, patience, persistence and love.