She said they had their dog, Dawn for close to three years and that the Dawn has hated her husband for almost that entire time. She described Dawn as growling as soon as her husband pulled into the garage, and then Dawn would bark at the husband when he entered the house. After a few minutes, Dawn would finally slink off into a bedroom and avoid her husband. The clients were at their wits end and not sure they could continue living with a dog who seemed to hate the husband.
I was talking to a new client whose dog is afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks. She said when the thunder started her dog would crawl into her lap trembling. A previous dog trainer told her that she should not comfort her dog because it could reinforce the dog’s fear.
One of my own dogs had to be hospitalized during the critical socialization period… She had debilitating fear of common neighborhood sights and sounds, such as leaves blowing across the sidewalk or cars passing on the road. She would flatten herself on the ground and not move.
The most common reason for a dog to hesitate when asked to do something is fear, so I look for fearful or submissive body language (they pull back their ears, lower their bodies, tuck their tails, and avoid eye contact).