We've thought for a long time that Gus has some issues with fearfulness so I was interested to meet a fearful farm dog when I was away on holiday. The other farm dog had no fearfulness issues and loved everyone (though I've posted about his alleged felicide). This is Jet: And this is Jet again: The pictures are not the greatest as I was some distance away and leaving! But he arched his back like a cat, tucked his tail between his legs and growled so much there was as much gum visible as teeth. He chose to stand off at a distance rather than approach. I felt I needed to tell him I would listen to his signals so I would call out, "Hi Jet" and walk away. I know that might be rewarding him for reacting but I didn't think he was enjoying reacting. I thought if could trust me to listen to how he felt and not approach him he might not be so afraid and he might not feel he had to react so violently. Over several days he began to accept me but only if there were members of his family around when he first saw me. Here he had met me coming out of the milking parlour with the farmer. This photo was taken after the farmer had gone. Although Jet was still nervous I think he was enjoying being with me. He wasn't under any constraint and there was a lot of space for him to run into if he decided he'd had enough. Yep definitely still nervous, he took himself off a few paces and lay down: It was easy to scare him, once he was coming towards me happily and I stepped towards him. He instantly started to hunch up and skulk away. I backed off and called out cheerfully to him, then knelt on the ground. He ran to me straight away, he was very affectionate. Jet's family were very concerned that I must not trust him in case he suddenly turned on me. I didn't get the impression that he was like that. He was honest about how he felt. If he was scared enough to bite he reacted dramatically while he was some distance away. If he trusted me enough to give him affection he would approach. Maybe I was wrong but I felt the only real danger was that he was close to me and then got swamped and couldn't get away. I never held him and went away if he looked like he was tensing up. He could not completely relax in my presence for another couple of days. After I'd ridden with him in the car I seemed to get a slightly more trusted rating. Afterwards he slept at my feet at lunch time, I was a bit nervous in case he woke up suddenly and was swamped by how close I was to him if he had forgotten I was in his good books just then! Although he still reacted to me if he met me without his family I also started to see his silly side as he ran off with the garden kneeler and threw it in the air! One day he took me for a walk up the lane, I think he was pretty relaxed here: Though I think he really liked me I know that even after a week he could have been thrown into a reaction by me but he wasn't as full on reacting as the first couple of days. If the family were around he would run to me happily and even follow me around especially if his favourite family member had gone off site. He hid behind me when the cows were on the move - he wasn't much of a cow dog . I can see why people are fascinated by working with fearful dogs though I don't think Jet was a really bad case. I'm sure Gus would have been similar to Jet if he hadn't grown up in a town environment with a lot of people coming through his home. Although most of the time you wouldn't know there was a problem with Gus there are a few things like last time Gus was at the vets he was really friendly with a vet nurse then she went through a door washed her hands and came back out. Gus went towards her gladly then suddenly reacted fearfully and I'm sure it was the hand soap. Similarly he was cheerfully approaching a guest to greet him when suddenly he freaked out backed off, crouched and started barking. The guest was afraid of dogs and I think that makes Gus afraid too. But anyway back to Jet... Did I read Jet right? Was I right to "reward" Jet's reactions/fear by backing off? Was I right to trust Jet to tell me how he felt?