Recently a friend adopted a timid dog from a local shelter. “My dog does not want going out !” ” He is afraid of meeting people!” ” I have to find a groomer come to my house for him.”
Is this normal? By reading the article “How to confidence -building exercises can help timid dogs” written by Dr. Sarah Wooten, I have gained new insights and ideas.
Many times, a dog develops fear because something happened during the critical socialization period that scared him
According to Dr. Sarah Wooten, between the ages of 7 and 14 weeks, puppies undergo a critical socialization period, which is associated with dog fears.
Although a good amount of puppies are naturally more shy or fearful, negative experiences inevitably make dogs in fears of certain things. Consequently, those life experiences cause puppies to become fearful dogs while growing up.
Therefore, during the critical socialization period, helping puppies have a variety of positive experiences in the real world is very important.
Confidence-building exercises work for dogs. It takes a lot of courage for dogs to work through their issues
Simply speaking, confidence-building exercises is a training method that helps boost dogs’ confidence by learning how to shift their focus away from the scary thing; help dogs to establish a positive response to the object.
There are common dog fears, such as fear of strangers, fireworks, thunder and fear of staying alone.
Let’s take the fear of fireworks as an example. To start, playing a recording of fireworks at a soft enough volume. Until getting closer and closer to the real sound record of fireworks that the dog does not have a sign of fear, the approach takes step by step with each repetition.
A timid dog can become confident, people-friendly with appropriation training
Each puppy is trainable. Training a timid dog needs extra compassion and patience. Adult dogs often need more adjustment time, especially if they lived in a shelter for a while. Design a training plan is to help your dog to feel comfortable around people slowly.
First of all, finding a training reward for confidence-building exercises. Dog treats are a powerful reward to earn timid dog’ trust. Remember to reward any tiny improvement for your dog
Secondly, design a few simple steps and set goals for the exercises. Remember not to push or punish your dog.
- Step 1. Keeping distant from people
- Bring the dog to a park where has few people
- Keep walking with the dog while on loose leash
- Don’t force the dog to sit or stand
- Feed the dog treats if he stands there around people
- Step 2. Getting closer to people
- Bring the dog to a place where has slightly more crowded people
- Places like a local post office, grocery store can be daily visit
- Keep feeding the dog treats while closer to the people
- Let the dog walking around the place if he does not feel stress
- Step 3. Stay longer time with people
- Bring the dog to a place where can stay a longer time with people
- Places like pet- friendly coffee shop, restaurant
- Still, need to feed dog with delicious treats when it is associated with people around
- Eventually, you can take your dog to exposure to people everywhere you go
Last but not least, Dr. Sarah Wooten says that timid dogs need your emotional support to make progress to a point at where they feel comfortable round people. The process helping your timid dog, it is also improving the bond between you and your dog.