I've joked in the past that Bella is afraid of everything. Today we're going to get a little more specific about what that means. She's not afraid of much, really, just people, places and things. Oh, and sounds. But you know, other than that...
Over the years, as I've been talking to folks about fearful dogs though, I've discovered something a little different about Bella. Yes, Bella is fearful and she's reactive as a result of that fear, but Bella's not really a shy or timid dog. In fact, she's a very curious and sometimes even bold little critter. While her modus operandi is "run first and ask questions later", that's not necessarily a bad life skill for a street dog to have. And it's probably that response which was responsible for keeping her alive on the streets.
The trick for us has been to help her understand that she's not on the streets any more and she doesn't have to live in constant fear. So even though she's still working on some of her issues, she has really overcome a great many fears since she joined our little family. I thought maybe it was time to celebrate just how far she's come.
So you see, she's actually done very well for herself. Her few lingering fears we are working to help her overcome and some we're just managing for her.
There are a few I think she'll never get over and I can't blame her. She was attacked by an entire nest of yellow jackets so I suspect her fear of things that buzz will never quite go away. That was a lesson she needed to learn. And to be honest, with such an inquisitive nature, it's probably in her best interest to harbor a little fear, it might spare her some pain in life even now that she's in a much safer place.
What we really want to help her with is her general anxiety. I want her to someday be able to hear a noise while she's stretched out on the couch and not run for cover. I want her to finally understand that while she's in our house, she is safe. All the rest is gravy.
So how about you? I know we've got lots of scared-y dogs out there but what is it your dogs are afraid of? Is it one specific item or event or is your dog in Bella's camp - afraid of everything new? Are you trying to overcome those fears or just managing them? Have you had any success? (Bragging is always encouraged.)