What To Do If Your Dog Is Shy

photo credit: thinkstockphotos.com


What To Do If Your Dog Is Shy

January 7, 2014

By Angie Woods

Atlanta Dog Whisperer and Dog Behavior expert


When meeting new dogs I believe you should always be quiet and calm. This is especially true for shy or fearful dogs.


I know how tempting it is when you see a cute dog to immediately want to pet and interact with it. For a shy dog this is simply an overwhelming and scary situation. So where do you start and what should you be weary of doing?


The eyes. You must not make any eye contact with a shy or fearful dog. Eyes are such a key mode of communication for a dog. Shy dogs are overly sensitive to eye contact.


Playful, silly, social dogs will come to you excited and may even be jumping on you. Fearful dogs will retreat and they may also bark and growl. Be patient, if you do not put any social pressure on them curiosity will eventually override the fear.


Remember, dogs investigate everything with their nose. One little trick I use is to put some game animal scent on a towel. Allow the scent to dry. Then you can rub the scent on your shoes and pant bottoms. This is a very interesting and instinctual scent for the brain to seek out. You can’t force a dog to engage you. He must do it of his own accord.  Dogs that are uncomfortable with people need to learn to be around people first….with no pressure from them.


Shy dogs also need other dogs with them as they engage other people. A dog that behaves like a social butterfly can be a great example for the nervous dog. Many times they will follow them to greet people. Dogs learn much quicker by having other balanced dogs with them. As hard as we may try we are not dogs. Playing hard to get is the way to go with the shy dog.


We must remember that all petting is for people. For shy, fearful or insecure dogs you must resist. After all, when is the last time you saw a dog petting another dog? Many people are bitten by fearful dogs as they reach for them. Rehabilitation cannot be accomplished until we get all people in the dog’s life on board with your new way of being.  pz


Angie Woods has been giving dogs a leg up with their behavior problems for more than 20 years.  She has been labeled the “Dr. Phil” of the dog world.  For dog owners who want real techniques that really work, Angie delivers real solutions with her tell it like it is approach.  For more on this topic (and many more great reads) go to Angie’s websites uscanine.com/ and dogpsychology101.com


photo credit: Angie's portrait courtesy Angie Woods all other photos: thinkstockphotos.com

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