Do you have a dog that is super submissive? Scared of everything? Terrified to go into vehicles or go to new places? Unsure of new people or new dogs? Then we need to work on building your dogs confidence.
Low confidence can create bigger issues if not addressed. Fear aggression and separation anxiety are two serious behaviors that can develop because of lack of confidence. Your dog may bark more or be reactive towards new dogs, people, things. This can cause issues when taking your dog for a walk.
There are a few things you can do to help build confidence in your dog. One thing you can do is work on building trust using counter conditioning. Counter conditioning works by building a positive association with whatever your dog is scared of. If your dog is scared of nail clippers you can use counter conditioning to help your dog overcome the fear. Counterconditioning works well with objects.
Another thing you can do is training. Teach your dog something. Anything. Training your dog using positive reinforcement can help to build trust between dog and owner. By building the trust between dog and owner you are strengthening your bond. Your dog will become confident that you are there to help him. This can help a dog to relax a little more in intimidating environments.
Teach your dog to relax in a spot. I like to use a towel or a small mat that you can take with you. Teach your dog to relax on that spot at home. Then take the “spot” with you to the vet, obedience class, park etc. Work on teaching your dog to relax in his “spot” everywhere you go. His spot will be his safe place. He will utilize it when he feels intimidated or scared. As his owner, it will be your job to “protect” your dog from whatever is intimidating him. You can do this by having the intimidating person toss treats at the dog from a distance. You can simply not allow the intimidating kid or dog near your dog. Basically, help him feel safe on his spot when around whatever intimidate your dog. Some people will use a crate instead of a mat and that is fine too.
Do you have a shy dog? What are some things you have done to help your dog overcome his/her fear? Let me know in the comment section below!