Tips To Train A Shy Or Nervous Dog – Part 2 of 4

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


Remember the title of the old song; “Little Things Mean aLot”?  We need to bear this thought in mind when dealing with and training a shy or nervous dog.  Here are four tips which should prove useful in training your dog if he is shy or nervous.


1       You, the trainer, need to set the tone and he needs to realize this.  Communication with your dog in a positive, confident and joyful manner is crucial.  Your positive body language, the correct use of your voice and your constant encouragement will ultimately lead to lasting success.


2       Be sure not to reward him when he exhibits any shy or nervous behaviour.  That would only reinforce the wrong thing in his mind.  Instead, you need to encourage the right and desired behaviour or action and then praise and reward that behaviour or action.  Again in the words of an old song, you must: “Accentuate the Positive; Eliminate the Negative”!  Do not despair if things seem to progress too slowly at first.  Remain patient and persistent and confident.


3       Praising and rewarding him when he achieves the desired outcome of a particular training session will not only encourage him and build his confidence, it will also give you extra encouragement and belief that you are on the right track.  His confidence will grow when he observes growing confidence within you.


4       When you take him for a walk, do just that.  Resist the urge to carry him when he exhibits some shyness or nervousness.  Again, you are aiming to reinforce desired correct behaviour.  Of course you must be sensible in this regard.  If a threatening situation develops then by all means pick him up, remove him from this situation and take him to a place which is familiar to him and full of fun memories.


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