September 12th is the National Day of Encouragement. This one doesn’t only apply to animals, but it certainly fits. Our canine friends are very emotional, and can be quite timid and shy. If you’ve recently adopted a scaredy-dog, read on. In this article from, Armitage Animal Clinic, a Newmarket, ON veterinarian offers some advice on helping your nervous furry friend come out of his shell.
Training can help a lot with this. Dogs are very loyal, and they really strive to please their humans. Plus, they get a huge confidence boost when they get something right, and they know they’re a good boy (or girl). Start with basics, like Sit, Stay, and Come. Once Fido has those mastered, work on some tricks. Don’t skimp on the rewards! Encourage your pet by giving him lots of praise and (small) treats for doing well.
Socialization is generally supposed to happen in puppyhood. However, while your nervous pooch may never be that outgoing dog that thinks everyone is his best friend, he can learn to function around new people and in strange places. Have some calm, animal-loving friends and family members come over. Treats and baby talk can go a long way, but sometimes just having someone else there, simply relaxing and talking with you, will help. If your guests have happy pets of their own, even better. Fido will pick up the other pooches’ scents, which can help reassure him.
Dogs feel more secure on a set routine. Keep your canine friend on a consistent schedule for things like walks, meals, and playtime.
Dogs are very social, and they’re really ‘wired’ to run in packs. If Fido is nervous around other pooches, he may learn a lot from interacting with calm, well-behaved pups. Meet friends for doggy playdates, and take the pooches on some hikes together. Just put safety first: this may not be a good idea if your canine buddy has any aggressive tendencies.
Time itself often makes the biggest difference. Offer Fido lots of love and TLC. Walks, toys, and playtime are also important. Sometimes dogs just need to be dogs! Be patient, and don’t give up. Seeing a timid pup thrive with good care is a beautiful experience.
Do you have questions about caring for your pet? Contact us at Armitage Animal Clinic, your Newmarket, ON animal clinic, today!