Training Tip Video Series: Personality Type #6 -The Fear Biter

Hi Everyone! The final personality type we are going to take a look at is the Fear Biter.

The fear biter is an insecure dog who will attack people that show fear. This is a very scared and frustrated dog that does not make friends easily. If cornered or threatened, this dog will bite. Most will attack only when your back is turned. Fear biters are not limited to just large breeds -many terriers have been known to be fear biters due to a lack of socialization. It’s common to confuse the fear biter with the aggressive dog. The difference is that the fear biter does not want to bite.

This personality type is often caused by a lack of early socialization. It can also be caused by a lack of any formal obedience training. Some dogs have been encouraged to be aggressive by its owners or were bred to be protective but lack confidence.

This can be a very dangerous dog to have around children. They often will isolate themselves from certain family members. It is also a big liability with your neighbors.

All personality types have the possibility of becoming fear biters. Until the dog gets to know you, you are the enemy. The fear biter will want to always be behind you. If you face off eye to eye they will back down because they lack confidence. A good description of the fear biter is the dog that stands up on the porch barking as you come walking down the street. As you pass the house they come off the porch still barking. They bark on the approach because they are afraid, as you pass they have the confidence to bark at your back believing they have scared you away. Fear biters are often car chasers or bicycle chasers – running behind biting at tires.

In training the fear biter you must approach very calmly. Sit on the floor with your back against the wall. The dog will eventually come over and sniff your hand and develop some trust. Spend some time making friends. You cannot train the fear biter with a harsh hand. Start slowly. If you move fast you will scare the dog. If the dog tries to bite and you correct it, you scare them even more. The fear biter will growl, a warning that he or she is not ready to trust you. Don’t dwell on the growl – ignore it. Be very careful in how you use eye contact. If the dog is growling you do not want to be eye to eye. On the other hand you cannot back down. Just divert your eyes until the dog seems relaxed then look at the dog and use a very soothing voice. You will soon develop communication that is crystal clear to the dog. You want to teach the dog that your eye contact is always a good thing. Remember if you are harsh or if you fight with the dog the dog will only fight back. This is not about confrontation to show the dog who is the boss. This is about teaching a frightened dog to have confidence and develop trust. Dogs only grow into behaviors; they do not grow out of behaviors. So if you give a fear biter a reason to fight or be aggressive you are only encouraging the very thing you are trying to change. So remember to be very calm, start slow to build confidence, praise without coddling. We want to teach the fear biter two things, first there is no reason to be afraid and act aggressively; second the aggressive behavior will have no affect. When the fear biter can face their fear and learn to trust you,you can train them to be really great dogs. There is never a guarantee you will totally train aggression out of the dog. If you start early with the fear biter though, you can have amazing results.

Watch the video below to learn more!

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