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Emotional Support Animal

1325 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Blacksheep
Hi, we are new here.
I have a 1 year old Australian Shepherd named Tanner. He is my Emotional Support Animal, which some of you may be against but he is very helpful in situations where I get stressed and anxious.
Anyways, Tanner was trained and he is very well behaved but lately since he wears a vest that says "do not pet, I'm working" he is getting wary of strangers when his vest is off. He will be fearful and bark if they make eye contact and approach him. Especially kids and men. This breed is very protective and I know he will never do more then bark but its still embarrassing and unfair to him.
Does anyone have any ideas of how I can go about fixing this but for him to still ignore people while working?
I have contacted the trainer that worked with him but she is in another province.
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I don't know. Mine barks at people to tell them his life story i think, i haven't had any luck getting him to be quite. He will listen still and sit and such but he is barking away. If you have any advice that works let me know!
Groundwork! Depending on what kind of emotional support animal he is, you may or may not be able to participate. A good trainer helps. If you're like my sister with anxiety, you probably shouldn't participate at first because your dog can feed off your anxiety.
I am quite calm when Tanner is with me. We are like one, in our own world :)
I work at a dog camp so I know to be calm around the dogs. It's just people that make me nervous, I have SADs (social anxiety disorder). Tanner is also trained not to feed off of my nervous or anxiousness. He is perfect when his vest is on. It's when the vest comes off and someone (mostly a man or child) approachs him and makes eye contact. He starts barking and backing up. If I go up to them and tell him to sniff their hand he will but he will still bark if they approach him again. Eye contact really intimidates him.
You know what...I wonder if it has something to do with the vest making him feel safe. They sell vests specifically for dogs that are scared (ex Thundershirt) but you can use sweaters to do the same. So try ground work without the vest.

Eye contact is a threat to dogs and most animals.
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