Who knew – sensitive dogs need different training than a dog that is assertive, stubborn or even defiant (yes, dogs can be defiant).
How do you know if your dog is sensitive?
Well, I’ve had two sensitive dogs:
Before I got Bunch, I had only one truly sensitive dog – Kingfish. Kingfish was a Lab/Chow mix that I got as a puppy. He had distemper when he was a pup. I was also very impatient with him while he was growing up. I was young, in a job I hated and in a marriage that exhausted me emotionally.
Kingfish’s distemper might have been a trigger. But, if I had been a better, more empathetic, more creative dog owner, he would have been much calmer and happier.
Miss Bunch is even more sensitive than Kingfish. I didn’t know this when I adopted her. After all, she was a pitbull – pitbulls are confident, very trainable but often stubborn, right? My other three pitbulls had been. But not Bunch.
Bunch is curious and cautious. I first became aware of this when I bought a new water bowl for her and Hudson a few weeks after Bunch joined us. She crept up to it and retreated several times. It took her a good two days before she trusted it enough to drink out of it.
Sensitive dogs need special attention and training, often in many different areas. You can’t force them to submit, for instance, as you can with some other dogs. There’s a myriad of ways to train a sensitive dog which we will look at the Tips Section.