There are times when you should not give attention or affection to your dog. It may seem counter intuitive, but when a dog is afraid, in pain or whose mind is a little unstable, you should not give attention to them. Turn and leave or go on with what you were doing like you didn’t know they were there. If you give attention to them at this time, it feeds their instability and can even give the dog an irrational superstition or fear of something connected with the incident.
I learned this principle from a very knowledgeable dog fan, many years ago. The cute young Drahthaar pup he had tried to jump into the back of his truck fell off and their face on the tailgate and landed on the ground like a bag of flour. I raced the next day with an “Aaaaaaww, poor puppy. ” He abruptly stopped me with a command like he would give a stray pup. He pulled me back and we just sat and watched the puppy. The dog got up, grabbed it off and trotted up to us. David explained to me that there are times when you shouldn’t give affection to a dog, or they would develop a serious fear of something, action, place or another thing they associated with the event. The more anxious you show in the situation, the more it feeds the instability.
In such a situation, you should proceed like nothing ever happened. Keep the mind of the dog moving forwards. Later, come back and start re-attempting the action again. He and I walked over for a minute to the other side of the yard, and the dog squatted along. We gave him a few minutes to explore that part of the world and let his mind move to other things then he circled back to the truck and loaded the pup up without issues.
There are lots of times when a dog should be praised, but also moments when a dog should be guarded from attention. When the dog is unstable or frightened, turn and move forwards like you don’t even know they are there. I believe that as a pack animal, they surrender to you, the pack leader, their fears. If you are not afraid of something, they see there is no need to fear it and they proceed.