Our human view of freedom is often about letting our dog do whatever he wants.
For an anxious/fearful/timid dog, this could however be interpreted as not having a leader to follow with no clear set of rules to observe, which can make such a dog more confused and insecure.
To a dog, freedom is about not having to doubt and worry. It is about having someone who can guide and protect them.
When we allow our dogs lots of freedom, we are also asking them to make lots of decisions on their own.
If a dog is not ready nor equipped to make these decisions, this can be a very stressful position to put a dog in.
By instilling leadership and structure, we can take this insecurity out of the dog. We can equip such a dog the skills to make better decisions while empowering him to know that he can always count on and trust us when he is unsure.
When an anxious dog knows that there is someone who will always be there to give him direction and to guide him through stressful situations, he will feel much more relaxed.
We can free such a dog from the bound of anxiety with leadership and structure so he can live a much more happy live with more freedom.
This concept is hard for lots of owners to understand. Often we picture a happy dog as a free dog running freely on the beach with many other dogs.
This is possible for an anxious dog but it will not happen automatically by just putting such a dog on a dog beach with many other dogs on day 1. More likely than not, this will stress and even traumatize the already anxious dog.
Freedom is not about letting an anxious dog do whatever he wants - it is about freeing the dog's mind from fear and anxiety, which is a process that often involves massive amount of structure in the beginning.
When you give an anxious dog a consistent structure early on, you can give the dog lots of freedom later on.