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How to Help Your Dog Build Confidence

February 1, 2015
Is your canine buddy very timid and frightened? There are many things that can cause Man’s Best Friend to become nervous. Perhaps Fido was rescued from a bad situation, or maybe he was never properly socialized as a puppy. Or possibly, a medical condition is the cause of his fear. Breed can also be a factor, since certain types of dogs are more likely to be timid than others are. Toy breeds, for instance, may frighten more easily than larger dogs. In this article, your local vet Ingersoll gives some tips on how to help a scared dog get past his fears and become more relaxed and confident.

Watch For Signs of Fear

Whimpering, pacing, excessive urination, panting, and whining can all be signs that a dog is feeling frightened or uncomfortable. If your dog starts to behave this way during a training session, stop the session, walk away, and let Fido calm down.

Never Raise Your Voice

Use only positive reinforcement when working with a frightened dog. Treats, toys, and gentle words will help soothe your dog, while snapping at him may only make him more anxious. Don’t coddle him too much when he’s scared, though: you don’t want to reinforce his behavior.


Make sure your nervous dog gets plenty of exercise. This will help him burn off excess energy, so he’ll physically be a bit tired and more relaxed. Follow each session with a treat.

Give Fido A Safe Den

Timid dogs may really appreciate having a safe place of their own to retreat to when they are scared. Give Fido a comfortable crate, and leave the door open so he can come and go as he pleases.

Introduce Your Dog To New Friends … Slowly

As your dog gains confidence, you can slowly start to broaden his horizons by taking him to fun new environments. Taking your dog on walks or to parks where there are happy dogs may help your pooch relax. You want to be sure to remove your dog if there are any hints of aggression from other dogs. Having some friends bring their dogs over to visit may also help. Never force a shy dog to interact with other people or dogs, though: if Fido just wants to watch, that’s fine, and if he wants to leave, let him.


Yawning signals dogs to be calm. If you see minor signs of nervousness, yawning may tell your pooch that it’s safe to relax. Please click here for more articles from your local vet Ingersoll.

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