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Hello!

I'm a new puppy parent and so far I feel like I've done everything the wrong way. I've never had any animals before besides a cat, and growing up I was always told that if an animal eliminates on the floor you stick their nose in it and spank them. So when I got my first puppy I did what I was always told to do and as a result my dog is fearful of me. I have since read up on ways to potty train a puppy and I now understand that spanking is wrong and I should instead use positive reinforcement. So my question is now that my 10 week old puppy fears me, how do I cure her of this?
 

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Hello!

I'm a new puppy parent and so far I feel like I've done everything the wrong way. I've never had any animals before besides a cat, and growing up I was always told that if an animal eliminates on the floor you stick their nose in it and spank them. So when I got my first puppy I did what I was always told to do and as a result my dog is fearful of me. I have since read up on ways to potty train a puppy and I now understand that spanking is wrong and I should instead use positive reinforcement. So my question is now that my 10 week old puppy fears me, how do I cure her of this?
High five for positive reinforcement! You and your dog will have a much better relationship this way. You can feed your puppy meals from your hand for a while, so he'll learn that now good things come from you. Talk in a happy voice. too. :thumbsup:
 

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Well, it's better you're on the right track now! That is a truly unfortunate old wives' tale that, as you have found out, only creates fear and discomfort. Depending on how many times you did this and how affected by it your pup was watch out for her hiding when she has accidents in the house from you and be extra nice when she does go to the bathroom in front of you (ie, be very liberal with the treats).

The way to a dog's heart is almost always food. Ply this little guy with treats. Carry treats all the time- something like cooked chicken is good because large amounts won't cause diarrhea unlike a lot of other treats- and every time she so much as looks at you give her some. If she's just sitting hanging out near you, give her some. If she even looks less scared than she usually does in any way, give her some. You want to establish yourself as the #1 most fun, interesting thing ever- something that is constantly and unexpectedly dispensing a really yummy treat. Be especially nice around her- be careful about tone of voice and body language until she realizes you're actually not to bad. Fin a voice she likes (high and squeaky, whispering, whatever she responds well to) and talk in it around her.

Another great thing is to work on basic obedience commands with her. Get a partnership relationship going.

I would highly recommend clicker training- the clicker is a really efficient way to let her know she's doing something right and is a completely neutral sound. Unlike the human voice, it is constant every time and there is no prior emotional link to the sound (for example she may feel like your voice= something scary happening). A good site for getting started:
Clicker Training Basics | Karen Pryor Clicker Training
 

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I can't really add on more to this other than do fun things with her, feed her, talk nice, and everything everyone else said.

Let us know how she's acting in a few days from now when you do that. Also, in general when you treat a dog a certain way--if you thought someone was going to treat a person that way and in your head you think "Wow, that's really cruel", then don't do it to a dog. If you wouldn't rub a 2 year old's face in a soiled carpet and spank them (which I hope no one would) then you shouldn't do it to a puppy. You have to keep in mind for some species differences but if something sounds cruel and emotionally damaging, it probably is.
 
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