Do you have an overly shy dog? Shyness can happen as a result of a prior bad experience, poor socialization, or the way you’re raising them. Bringing your dog out more will help him to enjoy the company of people and other dogs, rather than shying away all the time. Here are some suggestions to encourage your shy dog to be a little more confident.
Don’t feel sorry for your dog. While you are emotionally connected with your dog and care about him, trying to shield him from situations by pitying him does him no favors. Indeed, since dogs sense emotions, you risk him viewing pity as a sign of weakness. Your dog is more likely to be confident when he knows his pack leader is powerful and ready to protect him.
Try not to reassure your dog by petting him. This is like you saying, “It’s all right, that’s good, good boy for feeling afraid, it’s all right” this will actually reinforce the shyness. When he’s being overly shy, the best thing that you can do is to ignore him. Really! By giving him absolutely zero attention, you’ll be helping him to overcome his shyness.
Avoid threatening actions. For example, do not stare at your dog or make long eye contact––to him, this is threatening and can create fear responses, causing him to run and hide, pee or possibly bite. Remain calm as possible, still while retraining your dog out of his shyness.
Remove your shy dog from his “safe spot. Many overly shy dogs will choose a place which lets them feel safe, like under a table, behind a door or couch or simply somewhere they’re less likely to be noticed. You need to get your dog out of this safety zone for the rehabilitation process to begin.
- You can do this by quietly putting a leash and collar on him and pulling him softly but insistently out.
- It’s extremely important that you not feel sorry for him: you have to focus on getting him out of there in a gentle but firm way. Once he comes out, let him go in again.
- Wait for ten seconds or so, and then repeat.
- Practice makes perfect, and hopefully your dog will stop constantly going to his safe spot.
- Naturally, be aware of any aggression shown toward you. If this happens, don’t allow yourself to be bitten.
Set boundaries. Decide what he’s allowed to do and what he isn’t––as with children, this will give him a sense of security. If he breaks the rules, give him a quick correction a hand movement and command or strictly spoken “No” or Uh-uh”. But never hurt him, this will undo months of work. And be aware that forceful behavior can reinforce feelings of being traumatized––always prefer gentle, positive training over forceful training.
Confront situations that create shyness gradually but consistently. For example, if your dog is shy around certain individuals, seek to create a new bond between the dog and this person. Take it slowly though, as the dog will need time to adjust:
Let’s go for a walk! Exercising your dog will get him into his natural state of mind, which will be a great time for you to bond with him. Remember to keep him in a heel position – body block him or give him a quick correction with the leash if he goes in front of you.
Watch for future episodes of shyness. Once your dog has learned shyness as a response, it’s conditioned. It is best to nip it in the butt with quick corrective action should it ever rear up again. Hopefully it won’t given he will be living in a loving home but you can’t control all situations that will be put in front of your dog outside the home, so be ready to help your dog get over fear-inducing situations where needed.
Well I hope this helps you, and remember together we can accomplish anything with patience, kindness but most of all LOVE.