Shy And Timid Dogs

Do you have a dog who is shy and timid? It can be a challenge socializing a shy dog particularly if he has been adopted from an animal shelter and has been subject to abuse or neglect.

Terrier dog hiding behind wood

Certain breeds of dogs have a tendency to be shy by nature. These include the Border collie, Chihuahua, German shepherd, and some Spaniels. Even if a dog is genetically prone to shyness and timidity, there are ways to bring a dog out of his shell and encourage him to be more confident around people and other dogs. Here’s some ways to help a very shy dog:

Be patient

Socializing a shy dog can take a great deal of time and patience. Most shy dogs gain confidence slowly over a long period time. It’s important not to force him into uncomfortable situations too soon. Allow him to gain confidence at home before exposing him to strangers or taking him out into public.

Moderate your voice and movements

Dogs are intimidated by fast, jerky movements and loud, low voices. When you’re working to gain a dog’s confidence, speak in soft, even tones and move slowly. During this time, it’s important to keep young children away from an extremely timid dog since the rapid, spontaneous movements of a child can be intimidating and may even provoke a shy dog to bite. Once your dog is socialized, he can gradually be allowed time with kids under supervision.

Give your dog his own private spot

A shy dog feels most comfortable when he has a soft, comfortable place to retreat to. Consider buying a roomy cage and outfitting it with soft padding and blankets along with a few stuffed animals. Dogs feel more secure when they can retreat to an enclosed area.

Build confidence

To start socializing a shy dog, try to gradually build up his confidence. One way to do this is to teach him simple tricks such as “sit” and “lie down”. When he performs a trick correctly reward him and give him praise. When you teach a shy dog tricks, never raise your voice or use any form of punishment. This will only cause the dog to retreat further into his shell. You’ll find that as your dog performs the tricks correctly and receives praise his confidence will gradually build.

Consider obedience school or home obedience training

Once your dog has the confidence to leave home without feeling frightened, consider attending a series of obedience classes with your dog. This will help to further build confidence and aid in the socialization process. Another alternative for a very shy dog is to have an obedience instructor come to the home and give your dog private instruction.

Use the power of play

To help a very shy dog, it can be helpful to teach your dog to play. Once you’ve worked with him on basic tricks and feel as if he’s making progress, introduce him to ball. Start by letting him sniff the ball for a few sessions and praise him if he puts it in his mouth. Gradually work up to rolling and then throwing the ball. Use praise when your dog responds to the ball. Once your dog is comfortable, play ball with him on a regular basis to further build his confidence.

The key is to approach new situations with your dog on a gradual basis while giving him positive reinforcement and praise. Socializing a shy dog is a gradual building process that’s well worth the time and effort when you’re rewarded with a happy, confident canine.