Does your dog wince at the smallest of sounds or cower in fear when life gets a little bit too much? Some pooches simply aren’t as brave as others. Just like with people. There are the super confident nothing phases me type dogs, and then there’s the, I’m terrified to leave the house type dogs.
There’s obviously a scale, so your dog will probably fall somewhere in between, but if they are leaning towards the scaredy cat side of things, we’ve got some advice for you. Here’s how to help your nervous pooch get more confidence.
Fearful Fido wants you to take things slow
Would you put someone who’s got arachnophobia in a room full of spiders? We didn’t think so. Although with some things taking a harsh approach works, it certainly doesn’t work with dogs who aren’t very confident.
In fact, trying to get them to do too much too fast could even make them worse and go into their shell even more. Imagine a crab in a shell, if you startle them, they go straight back into their home to hide, but if you wait patiently for them to come out on their own terms, they become more confident.
So, in a nutshell, don’t take fearful fido to a summer fair if they can’t handle going out on a walk. Think baby steps. Maybe take them for a walk and meet a friend with a dog, and then gradually build up their confidence by doing more things.
Give them plenty of reassurance
These types of dogs tend to need quite a bit of reassurance from their owners. By no means should you mollycoddle your pooch, as you could end up with a bit of a drama queen, but some gentle reassurance can be just what they need.
If they achieve a milestone, like being able to go to the dog park without freaking out, then make sure they get a paw on the back (not literally obviously). If they are reluctant to leave the house, or go say hi to another dog, be their cheerleader and give them plenty of encouragement. #goteam
Find fearful Fido friendly dogs and humans
The last thing you want is for your dog to be forced to spend time with a dog that’s extremely overbearing, or a person who just doesn’t know how to act around scaredy cat dogs. So, be on the lookout for well balanced dogs and try and meet up for walkies with Fearful fido.
If you do have friends round, explain to them that your pooch doesn’t enjoy being showered with loads of attention from strangers, and teach them how to greet your pooch appropriately. E.g. letting your dog come up to them, offering a close fist for them to sniff, and then if they get a positive response, stroking your dog under their chin rather than over the top of their head.
It’s a bit like when you have children and you want them to be around friends who are a positive influence, well, it should be the same with your pooch.