What You Need to Know About Anxious Dog Training

Cover Image - Anxious Dog Training

There's nothing like being greeted with the love of a friendly pooch, right? Although we love a good dog cuddle, it's important to note that not all dogs are bold and friendly. In fact, some can be more shy and cautious, where they prefer to hang back from fearful situations. This can especially be true if there are stronger dogs in the pack!

As in people, dogs have different personalities, and each character brings its own set of challenges. Pet owners who are looking at adopting an abused dog or for training shy dogs tip will find this article super helpful! We will jump into the different dog training tips and ultimately help you discover how to get an abused dog to trust you. These tips can also come in handy for anxious dog training. 

training shy dogs

Training Shy Dogs: The Warning Signs

One important reason to build confidence in a fearful dog is to prevent biting. High fear dogs often become biters to deal with their fear of new situations, and this type of fear response can be dangerous for you and your dog. It's essential to teach your puppy or dog that new situations and new people are nothing to fear and that they are not out to hurt him.

Signs of fear in both puppies and dogs include being afraid of strangers, being suspicious of new environments, and avoiding certain people or objects. A fearful puppy or dog may also snap or bite, especially when cornered. 

If you recognize signs of fear in your dog or puppy, it's crucial to act quickly. Fear responses can soon become ingrained in a dog, and once those fear memories are planted, they can be difficult to erase.  


The Do's and Don'ts of Anxious Dog Training


Do Encourage Socialization

Properly socializing a young puppy is essential to making sure your dog doesn't get anxious when meeting new people or pups. It also helps ensure that they will not become a fear biter either.  

Many puppies are raised as only dogs, but even these puppies should be allowed to play with other puppies. It will also help to take your pup out to spend time with well-socialized older dogs and friendly cats as well. The more novel situations your puppy encounters when they are young, the better they will be able to adapt to new conditions as an adult dog.

Adapting to new and changing situations is a vital life skill that every puppy must learn and a pawsome step in training shy dogs. As you know, the world is continuously evolving and adapting. Both you and your four-legged companion must learn to take these changes in stride.


Don't Reward Bad Habits

When we hear our pawsome pal cry or whine, it's natural to want to comfort them. However, as pet owners, we need to be cautious that we do not inadvertently reinforce or reward these behaviors. When we comfort our pooches when they're hiding or crying, this can be misinterpreted by the animal as a sign of approval from the pack leader. The problem with this is that it can be counterproductive in training an abused dog or a shy pooch.

When the dog or puppy displays fearful or shy behavior, the best strategy is to ignore him. The dog must be able to learn on his own that there's nothing to fear. If left alone, a dog will often start to explore the fearful object on his own, thereby learning that the initial fear reaction was mistaken. It's our job to help our dogs explore things on their own, and not try to coddle or overprotect them.

 training an abused dog with treats

Do Be Patient

If you're looking for ways on how to get an abused dog to trust you, patience is key. The window for proper puppy socialization is relatively short. Once this window has closed, it can be tricky to teach a dog appropriate socialization strategies. 

Likewise, a dog that has been abused probably has all sorts of negative associations. These poor pooches need our help to work with them and replace those fear reactions with more appropriate responses.

When working with an older fearful dog, don't try to rush the socialization and fear abatement process. It is best to simply allow the dog to explore things on their own, even if it means they spend a lot of time hiding from the perceived monster. Trying to force the dog to confront the things he fears will do more harm than good.


Don't Rush the Process

Just as you'd take introducing your dog to a new pet, you have to take things slowly. Addressing already ingrained fear-based behaviors, such as biting, snapping, and growling, doesn't happen overnight. If the dog is frightened and reacts defensively to strangers, it is helpful to introduce him slowly. 

Although it's vital to correct these potentially dangerous behaviors, we have to be firm in teaching our doggos that their fear isn't an excuse. Any growling, snapping, or biting should be reprimanded and corrected as soon as it happens. 


Do Reward Good Behavior

Who doesn't love a tasty treat after they've done something right? Your doggo loves them! Promoting positive behavior goes hand-in-hand with a good reward system. The moment your dog stops displaying signs of aggression, you should give them their favorite treat, or even a tummy rub will do the trick. 

If you do find yourself having to reprimand your dog for displaying aggressive behaviors, you may have tried to move him along too quickly. It's essential to avoid threatening situations as much as possible until the dog has built up the confidence to deal with those situations. If you think you have moved too fast, take a few steps back and let the dog regain their confidence. 


Don't Wait to Ask for Help

Training an abused dog or anxious pooches isn't for the faint-hearted. Adopting an abused dog means that you're also embracing their history. The same goes for anxious or shy dogs - these problems could be a part of their personality or from a couple of troubled first weeks. If you're facing issues with your dog training, we highly recommend seeking professional help. Consulting your vet or behavior specialist will aid you with what your dog needs and how you can adequately help them. 

anxious dog training with specialists

Dog training is known to be a constant process. Unfortunately, there's no quick fix in training shy dogs, but the reward is well worth the wait! Remember, the goal is to help your pooch feel comfortable and confident by building up your trust. The more trust there is in your relationship, the better they will be able to handle any anxious situations. 

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