Jack Learned Fear-Now We’re Retraining His Brain

If you ever met our dog, Jack, he wound instantly be your best friend.

We always say Jack is the kind of dog who never met a stranger.
He thinks every person and every other animal is on this planet to just to play with him!

You simply can’t discourage Jack, even when you scold him. He bounces right back.
Strangers comment that he looks like he’s smiling.
We call him the Guru and aspire to “Be like Jack.”

He literally has no fear.  Well, he didn’t until last week.

Last week a bear got into our trash during the night.
The bear was long gone when we let Jack out the next morning but trash was everywhere and Jack could smell the scent and it has him completely freaked out!

A smell alone has changed Jack’s entire personality.  Now he sits inside and stares at the door or window on full alert.  When we go outside, he is glued to my leg never going more than 4 feet away from me.
He walks in a WIDE circle to avoid the trash can. He hasn’t smiled in days.

In a simple second from only a smell…..Jack has learned fear.

I share this with you because Jack is not that different from us.
He lived in his little happy bubble for the first 3 ½ years of his life and now an experience has formed a new neural pathway in his brain. Nothing bad actually happened but the scent has stored a memory that there is something to fear.

What do we do?

Same thing you can do. Rewrite the neural pathway.
Everyday we take Jack by the trash can and distract him with a game of fetch.
We love up on him with hugs and pets even more than before (if that’s possible).
When he walks or runs a far distance from us, especially if he goes by the trash, we praise him
“Good Boy, Jack!”
We walk him right by the trash can to get the horses…which he loves.

Little by little, Jack is forgetting about the bear.
All it takes is practice, practice, practice.
We’re on day 12 of practicing and his smile is coming back.

3 Steps to Tame Your Fear:

  1. Notice when your fear response is triggered.
  2. Explore to see if what you are thinking is true
  3. Practice putting yourself in that very situation to move past your fear

Lesson In This: Be The Jack!! Keep on practicing!

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