Originally Posted by SamIam
It is not important that every stranger off the street can touch your dog, but it is important that she can be handled by you, your family, and your vet. Give your dog a massage and mock check-up. Touch every part of her body, poke and prod as if you were a vet feeling for anything unusual, look in her ears, in her mouth and eyes. Pet her in ways you don't normally pet her, on her head, backwards, imitate the actions of a potential stranger or small child. Pick up a foot and pull gently, touch the hollow between each of her toes, pull gently on her ears and tail, grab your hand around her muzzle and apply gentle pressure. She may resist you, she may even yelp out of surprise. Practice, practice. When you are sitting on the couch or floor, help her relax and lie down and gently roll her onto her back. Repostion her legs and head all different ways until she becomes completely comfortable with you doing whatever it is you want. Once you've had success with it, teach your husband and then your children. Help your dog to learn complete trust in her family and to lose any inhibitions to touch.
Excellent advice, all of it , SIA. I have people tell me they can't get their sheltie to lie down for grooming, or that they don't lie them down, yet if the dog is trained to it and is comfortable with it, as you say, they also don't mind lying down for a vet to go over them. A tip I was given for showing shelties nervous when up on a table might help with little dogs too. I was told to stand them on my lap, front feet on one leg, back feet on the other, then while holding them gently and talking to them, move one leg up and down slightly at a time so they get used to balancing . Just makes them feel more secure up high on a vet's table.
Teri M, you wrote
It is very common for dogs to have a second "fear period" between the ages of 6-14 months .
Golly, I've even seen big strong male cattle dog pups become nervous around that age. The smart exhibitor just leaves them in peace at home till they get past it.