|Fear Impact / Impression Periods and Dog Classes|
From "Teaching Dog Obedience Classes " written by Joachim Volhard & Gail Tamases Fisher.
Here is what they say about the Second Fear Impact Period ( 6-14 months)
This Fear Impact period, is also called the fear of New situations period, it is not as well defined as the others. The second fear impact period corresponds with growth spurts. Hence it may occur more than once as the dog matures.
What marks it is a change in the behavior of the now adolescent dog. He may suddenly be reluctant to approach something new, or be frightened of something or someone familiar.
When a dog is exhibiting fear or reluctance, he should not be forced into a confrontation, bullied into being brave, or reinforced in his fear through soothing tones and petting. Force can frighten the dog further, and soothing tones only serve to encourage his fear, What the calming, praising voice says to the dog is , " Mom pets me and coos at me when I`m frightened. It`s good to be afraid."
His fear should be handled with patience and kindness. The dog is permitted to
work it out for himself without being forced to deal with something he perceives as dangerous. Training during this period puts the dog in a position of success, so his self confidence will be built up.
Because the second fear impact period corresponds with the age at which most dogs are brought to obedience class, it could have far reaching implications.
If the dog perceives the class as a frightening place, he may generalize this fear to all situations where there are groups of dogs, such as dog shows and obedience trials, or he may generalize this fear to the specific event, for example, training, or the particular location.
If on the other hand, the dogs perceptions of class is that its a nice place and that training is fun, the positive ramifications are obvious. It underscores the importance of starting puppies in class before the onset of the second fear impact period.
Since a lot of students wait until the dog is older than six months before enrolling him in class, the need for selecting training techniques and running the class in such a way as to reduce the dogs anxiety becomes clear.