Everyone dreams of grabbing their dog’s leash and going on an epic adventure with their pup. But what if your furry friend is more a nervous nelly than a social butterfly? This can put a damper on any venture out of the house.
Don’t let life pass your dog by. You can become your pup’s confidence champion and help your furry friend embrace life.
Positive Obedience Training
Spend time with your pup working on obedience training. This will help build their confidence as they successfully develop new skills. It will also strengthen the bond you two have as you spend time working together. Then, you can use these skills to refocus your pup’s attention when something scary is around.
Try teaching them a “look at me” command. This will direct their attention to you. When you two are out and about, and your dog starts feeling nervous or anxious, refocus their attention on you by asking them to perform their skills.
This helps your pup focus on something positive and not dwell on whatever is triggering them. It also helps your pup associate positive things with the scary situation. Over time, the scary thing will be less frightening as your dog associates positivity with it.
The trick to successful socializing of your shy pup is to let them work at their own pace. Don’t try to force them into a scary situation. Instead, bring your dog along, but then let them decide when to approach.
Try bringing your pup to work and letting them quietly observe from under your desk. In time, you’ll find them slowly venturing out. Or you could move their crate to a more active part of the home. If it’s currently in the back bedroom where it’s quiet, move it to the kitchen or living room. This lets them hear and observe more sounds and activities.
Running errands is a normal part of everyday life for you. But for your shy pup, these are big adventures. Bring your pup along on these short trips every chance you get. This could be grabbing a cup of coffee, getting the car washed, grabbing drive-through food, or stopping at the bank.
While you’re out, give plenty of positive feedback every time your four-legged friend does something social. If they backslide or retreat, don’t offer praise and resist reassuring them. This will only reinforce this behavior. Instead, ignore shy behavior and continue praising when they’re social again.
Playtime with a Favorite Toy
Does your dog have a favorite game or toy? It could be a tennis ball, rope, or frisbee. Try different types of toys until you find the one that makes your dog’s eyes light up. Then use this toy as a tool for positive association.
If your pup is scared of people, try playing with the toy when the “scary people” are around. Or if your pup is afraid of an object, play with your pup while holding that object. The idea is to boost their confidence in a fun way while also associating these positive play feelings with your pup’s triggers.
Help Your Shy Pup Become More Social
Living life in hiding is no way to live. You can help your furry friend embrace life by helping them build confidence and become more social. Don’t force your pup into scary situations. Instead, build their confidence by strengthening your bond. Become your pup’s support system as you expose them to new experiences. Then let your pup face them on their terms.
With consistency and patience, your shy pup will come out of their shell and embrace life.
Grab your rope leash and head out to face the world with your shy four legged friend.