Tips For A Timid Dog
22 January, 2013

My friend, Amy, adopted a dog named Rufus who is very timid and has had trouble interacting with her and her kids.  Amy has given her pup a lot of love, attention and is trying her best to get him over his anxious nature.   I explained to her that with time and effort, most fearful dogs will come around.

Below are some tips to help a timid dog overcome his or her fears:

Your dog is always hiding

If your dog is always hiding and won’t come out when you call him, try a different approach.  See if you can put a treat near his hiding place and walk away.   Your dog will be curious and come out to try to grab the treat and will most likely take it and go back to his or her hiding place.

Try this again later in the day but have the treat a little closer to you or in the middle of the room.  Keep trying this until your dog is where you want him to be.  As always, give your dog encouragement for coming out with a lot of love and kindness.

Your dog is afraid of new people

If your dog is fearful when meeting new people, try to conquer the fear head on by inviting over a friend to help you.  Have your friend come over and, at first, completely ignore your dog and not make eye contact with him or her.  Let your dog investigate the person at his own pace and keep up the ‘game’ until your dog approaches.

Your dog will let you know when he’s ready to meet and greet your friend.  When your dog does approach, your friend should pet and encourage him with a friendly voice.  This will encourage your dog that new people are OK.  Have your friend give your dog a treat to make his new friendship that much more rewarding.

Your dog is afraid of your other pets

If your dog is afraid of your other pets, it is best to introduce them to each other slowly.  Try to keep your pets in separate rooms and spaces.  Bring your fearful dog into another room where your other pet is situated.

If you can, try to hold your other pet while letting your shy dog investigate the other pet in the house (this might take two people).  Start with short introductions and hopefully with time and effort, they will become best friends.

Your dog is afraid of objects

Dogs can be afraid of the strangest things like a full trashcan.  Try showing your dog the ‘scary object’ with a soothing voice or a chuckle.  Lean down next to the trashcan and in an excited voice say ‘what is this?”. Call your dog to help you. Stay enthusiastic and have as much fun as possible.  Once your shy dog sniffs around, he will understand that this new object is fun and not scary at all.

Your dog is scared of loud noises

If your dog is scared of loud noise, such as the doorbell ringing, thunder or even a garbage truck passing by, it is important to get your dog acclimated to them.  When you hear a loud noise that scares your pup, then you can howl along with it or raise your voice in a fun manner to match the sound.

You can also try creating a loud noise by dropping a pan in the kitchen, let your dog react and show your pup that it really isn’t that scary at all.  Again, make a game of it so that your dog will hopefully understand that not all noises are bad or scary.

All dogs have some sort of fear, but if you take the time to understand it and practice methods to overcome these fears, you and your dog will be happier for it.

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