Jack Russell Chihuahua mix Rollo is scared of hands. Until a couple of years ago he was a friendly little dog who enjoyed gentle petting from most people.
Then something happened. Some friends had been looking after him and he bit the man. Maybe the man was playing too rough or maybe trying to take something off him. We can only imagine what followed the bite, but after that Rollo has been wary of men. Now scared of hands, he avoided people touching him unless he knew them.
Some months later a second thing happened that caused him
Scared of hands, even friends’ hands
Rollo’s so scared of hands that he will no longer let the lady’s best friend touch him, let alone have a cuddle like they used to.
The little dog is stressed and on alert most of the time. He guards food items. A hand coming towards him may take it from him. This may be what happened on the occasions mentioned. When he growled a warning, snarled or nipped, a hand will have punished him.
To help him calm down, I dropped a couple of chews on the floor. Immediately, instead of picking them up, he lay looking at them, guarding them.
This was near my chair and soon I would need to move. I knew if I didn’t do something, it could trigger trouble.
I demonstrated how we could pick them up without upsetting Rollo.
I threw tiny bits of food, first near the two chews and then further away. I did this several times to reassure him that I wasn’t tricking him.
Then I threw the
As he’s scared of hands, I wanted him to trust my hands were neither going to touch him nor take something from him.
Soon I was dropping food and lifting a chew, no problem. At the end of the meeting, I let him keep one.
Hands should deliver only good things
For a dog so scared of hands, hands should deliver only good things.
The young lady will encourage him to see her as a ‘giver’ and not a ‘taker’.
I started to teach Rollo to himself choose to touch my hand. He would trust me. I began teaching him to come to me and touch my open hand, using a clicker.
I’m reading a book at present by Pippa Mattinson (Total Recall) and have just read this:
‘Generally speaking, all animals ‘repeat in the future’ behaviours that have led to a rewarding consequence in the past, and ‘avoid in the future’ behaviours that have led to unpleasant consequences in the past’. Rollo, in his reaction to