I've always been aware that Claire's anxiety mainly manifests itself in that she is leash-reactive, and we have continued to work on that; I'm seeing improvement there, mainly because we work on it every time we go for walks. But as I look back on the past few months, I find that, when we're at the park, she is only 100% comfortable around the dogs she knows. She hates when puppies jump all over her, and she gets nervous when dogs get in her face - even if they're just coming up to say hello. Her reaction is to give them one quick bark, and then she removes herself from the situation. I'm proud of her for doing this, but ideally, she wouldn't react at all and would just walk away. What are your thoughts? Am I overreacting and making this a bigger deal than it needs to be?
I'm big on positive-reinforcement training. It promotes trust and confidence. That's why, if you're around me and Claire, you'll notice that I praise her a lot with either treats or "life rewards" such as positive touch and verbal praise. I don't yell at her for doing something wrong, and I would never ever cause discomfort or pain. On the rare occasions that she needs a scolding, she gets a stern voice and a time-out immediately after whatever incident occurred. Instead of saying "no" all the time, I redirect her to do the correct thing and then I praise her for it. I'm a firm believer that positive-reinforcement training is the best training method for all dogs, but especially for dogs who deal with anxiety. This is why it's the best fit for Claire. So now it's time to kick it up a notch to get her over this hurdle.