Overcoming Shyness Or Fear In My Dog

For convenience, we will refer to your dog as “he” rather than “he or she”.


There are many actions you can take to teach you dog how to overcome and eliminate a shy and fearful temperament.


1       Never reward his shy behaviour.  Instead, encourage and reward the behaviour you wish him to have and are training him to adopt.


2       Expose him to a variety on new places.  Move him gradually from his familiar environment and give him a chance to see new sights and explore new territory.  Use a leash when taking him on these excursions.  This will help him to feel safe and secure and protected by you.  If he is not used to a leash, then introduce it in his familiar territory, such as his house yard, for a short while each day.  Do this until it is apparent that he is relaxed and enjoying being on the leash.


3       In the early stages of this training do not let strangers come too close to him.  This period can be stressful for you as well.  At the beginning, while he still exhibits fearful and submissive reactions to new situations in public, his behaviour might be somewhat embarrassing for you.  Be patient during this phase and keep gradually leading him outside his zone of comfort.  Keep building up his confidence.


4       Maintain a steady and constant routine.  There is comfort in routine.  Continue the training daily and keep praising him and rewarding him each time he makes progress.


5       Begin these public walks to regions that are close to home, and gradually extend your travels to new areas as he builds his confidence and improves his behaviour.  He needs to realize and understand as soon as possible that no harm will come to him from these walks.


6       When you feel he is ready to interact with strangers, allow only one person at a time to pet him.  Introduce this stage of his training in a gradual manner.


7       Set a goal to steadily progress from short and uneventful walks to the stage where you can both stroll through busy places where he will experience frequent petting by people of all age groups.


We wish you every training success and years of enjoyment for both you and your dog.