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How To Increase Your Dog’s Confidence

06.06.2008 · Posted in Miscellaneous Articles

IntroductionrnrnA dog likes to know his place in the scheme of things; being a pack animal their understanding of their world is based on hierarchy. If a dog does not have this sense of place, then it will become insecure. These can have all kinds of effects on its behaviour. Of course just as there are naturally shy people, there can be naturally shy and timid dogs. What is required in theses circumstances is a regime to improve the dog’s confidence.rnrnDog Training ActivitiesrnrnPositive social interaction is key, and basic obedience training can be a good place to start. The best system to use would be one that rewards good behaviour with praise and treats, but ignores bad behaviour. Fido will have fun and learn that he will be rewarded when he gets things right, but not punished if it goes a bit awry. Nobody responds to constant negativity. Agility training is to be recommended in particular as exercise is great for relieving stress.rnrnShy of People?rnrnIf dog is nervous around people, have a friend help out with gradual desensitization. The friend should not make any bold moves: basically anything that might appear potentially threatening to the dog, particularly do not look the dog directly in the eye. Slowly allow the dog to investigate the friend, with the aid of treats held in the hand, use a low stance, and a calm and measured tone of voice. Once the friend can look directly at the dog without any adverse reaction, then physical contact can be made via petting, such as gently rubbing the chest. Attending classes in obedience and agility are also a good way to stimulate social interaction with other dogs and ownersrnrnGood Owner BehaviourrnrnHowever, all this will be as naught if you do not recognise your own bad behaviour. A dog is a dog; Fido cannot be blamed for raiding the bin if you leave the lid off. Do not blame Fido for chewing your favourite shoes if you leave them where he can get at them. Also be aware that dogs communicate strongly through body language: upright postures are read as very domineering, so get down to Fido’s level. Always talk in calm and measured tones as extremes pitch are upsetting for sensitive dogs. Above all, never be abusive: if you don’t like to be beaten and shouted at, imagine how it feels to poor old Fido!rnrnConclusionrnrnAbove all, never be abusive, as that may have lead to the confidence problems in the first place, particularly with a dog that had similar experiences in the past. As with children, confidence in dogs comes with praise and gentle instruction.

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