How Do You Befriend a Nervous Dog?
Nervous dogs can be more problematic than dogs that you know are aggressive. The reason is that a nervous dog is somewhat unpredictable, whereas an aggressive dog will give you warning signs to indicate that it is about to attack. This article will give some helpful hints on how to befriend nervous dogs and help them feel more comfortable around people.
Nervousness in dogs isn't always such a terrible thing, but when the dog's owner wants it to be less fearful or learn to trust people, nervousness can become a big problem.
As Daniel recommends:
"To gain the confidence of a nervous dog, go for a walk with the dog. A good, structured walk or pack walk and a good feeding ritual will solve a multitude of problems in the dog world. But, number one, I think it will help you connect with any type of dog, especially the nervous ones."
Techniques for Calming Nervous Dogs
Dogs can be very scared of new things. For example, have you ever put on a mask or new clothing item and your dog flips out? What seems like a small thing to us humans can be a horrifying experience for dogs as they are irrational beings trying to make sense of the rational world of humans.
So if you introduce the dog to new items, try doing so in a controlled environment where the dog can't get hurt or traumatized. For instance, start by leaving old clothing with your scent on it in the dog's bed or toys that are familiar to the dog near these new objects. After a few days, place these items on the floor and let the dog investigate them. By doing this, you are tricking the dog into thinking that these new things are no big deal.
Another way to calm a nervous dog is to pay attention to how you approach it. The way that the dog perceives sudden movements are very different than how we do, so try making slower movements when trying to make friends with a nervous dog. Keep your eyes down and speak calmly to the dog as you enter its space instead of bending over or crouching down to greet it.
If the dog still seems nervous, you can try feeding it treats before petting or playing with it. The treat will initially make the dog more interested in your movements and give you a chance to interact with the dog without scaring it. There really is primal power in food when interacting with dogs. After you have won the dog's trust, you can move on to regular playtime and interactions.
Some dogs will benefit from using a Thundershirt or other types of pressure vests to help calm them down. These vests work by applying gentle but constant pressure on the dog, which is supposed to recreate the feeling of being held by the mother. If you have a nervous breed that might do well with a vest, it's worth trying because many dogs have become less anxious over time by using them.
If you have a nervous dog, it is important that you never punish the dog for being scared or shy. This will just make him feel worse about himself and you. Remember that this is normal behavior for your dog so you should try to work with your dog's personality instead of changing it.