The Fearful Dogs Project is devoted to improving the world of and for fearful dogs, including feral/feralized, traumatized, and other marginalized and disadvantaged dogs, by guiding people through best practices for working and living with these often misunderstood animals. The Fearful Dogs Project helps canines and the humans who care for them move beyond fear so that they may enjoy their lives together with as little distress and as much joy as possible.
The fear specialist program that other organizations large and small strive to emulate, The Fearful Dogs Project has been seeing scared, distressed, and traumatized dogs through to recovery unofficially since 2007 and officially since 2014. Puppy mill survivors, feralized dogs, international hunting-tool dogs (podencos, galgos, Hawaiian hunting dogs, etc.) who lived chained to each other in small, dark, bunkers, who were purposely maimed before being abandoned to desolate countrysides or to live as "street dogs," and many others have found hope, protection, and eventual joy via TFDP and its programs. We invite shelters, rescues, trainers, behavior professionals, vet staff, animal welfare organizations, pet parents, and any others who find themselves living with or working around scared or otherwise marginalized dogs to join us. Whether by supporting, learning with, or hiring The Fearful Dogs Project, you’ll get the help you need to move you from general knowledge to specific, transformational outcomes. Learn more at https://FearfulDogsProject.org or by emailing us.
Fear leads to learning, not loss.
“The funny thing about the heart is: a soft heart is a strong heart,
and a hard heart is a weak heart.” -Criss Jami
The Fearful Dogs Project is directed by its creator, Rain Jordan. Specializing in feralized, traumatized, and other fearful dogs, Ms. Jordan is a Certified Canine Behavior Consultant (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) via the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), a Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP), a graduate of Behavior+ Works' Applied Animal Behavior program (LLA), and a professional member (canine behavior/training) of the Pet Professional Guild. Ms. Jordan wrote the first ever essay on learned helplessness in racing industry greyhounds; this seminal work appeared in a 3 part series in The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds magazine. Jordan also writes a twice monthly canine behavior column for her local newspaper and articles for other publications In addition to running her private training & behavior practice, she also develops and directs animal welfare programs for companion animals and their humans. The Fearful Dogs Project was one of the earliest of these programs. Ms. Jordan holds a terminal degree (M.F.A.) and has more than 15 years experience teaching adults, including teaching in California colleges. She is the author of several books, including Such Small Hands: An Anti-Aversives Primer and The Dog Who Couldn't Be Petted.
Developmental stages and Phase 1 of The Fearful Dogs Project were a result of support from the founder and a few private donors. The Fearful Dogs Project, Phase 2, run in the Pacific Northwest, was supported by a research grant from Maddie's Fund, #ThanksToMaddie. We currently seek funding for Phase 3 and invite interested shelters or other animal welfare organizations to chat with us about possible collaboration. Fees from the Fear Abatement Mastery (FAM) programs also help fund our work.
Anti-Aversives: In addition to possessing the necessary expertise (including depth and breadth of experience and credentials), an anti-aversives animal behavior & training professional is a professional who provides their services 1) refusing to use pain, force, coercion, intimidation, or fear to rehabilitate / behavior modify / train; this means the person will not use, recommend, or condone aversive equipment or methods -- for example, no shock collars (aka e-collars, stimulation units, remote collars, remote communication devices, ultrasonic devices, etc.), anti-bark collars/devices, prong collars, choke collars or other equipment designed to choke, no corporeal punishment or other corrections, no shake cans or other startle equipment, no squirting, leash popping, collar dragging, scolding, yelling, etc., AND who 2) believes they must do everything possible to avoid accidental and/or inadvertent aversives for your dog, WHILE 3) helping you to achieve an anti-aversives lifestyle for your dog.
An anti-aversives professional is committed to the positive approach, not an approach based on "balanced" (indicates aversives are used), "pack leader," or "dominance" type beliefs and misconceptions. The "consequences" an anti-aversives fearful dogs professional provides are keeping the dog safe, protected, and happy, helping the animal feel safe and protected, and providing positive conditioning since this is what evidence-based research and practice have shown will continue to improve behavior and well-being. An expert behavior & training professional understands that, especially for fearful dogs, consequences do not need to be aversive, nor should they be, and such a behavior & training professional does not need or choose to implement aversive consequences in order to help an animal, least of all in order to help a fearful animal.
While it is impossible to be truly "fear free" since fear is an emotion of the animal in treatment and cannot be fully controlled by the human practitioner, The Fearful Dogs Project further believes that some practices still commonly taught and accepted are not actually "fear free"practices. For example, restraining an animal rather than implementing cooperative care and handling will almost always result in fear in the animal, since to restrain is to force, and being forced, especially physically, is very likely to result in fear in the restrained animal. Therefore, except in the case of 'life and limb' emergencies, even small aversives such as restraint should be avoided. There are many other examples like this; if you'd like to learn more, consider our Fear Abatement Mastery certification program.