What can I do to instill confidence and a feel of security in a shy dog?
Many dogs are not confident in themselves for a variety of different reasons. A shy dog could have been abused verbally or physically at some point, or just not have had enough human or dog contact to really trust others. This sense of insecurity can manifest in many different ways, including bad behavior, separation anxiety, aggression, hiding, sickness and more.
In order to help a dog achieve a sense of confidence, you’ll need to work with your dog consistently and patiently. Enroll your dog in an obedience class, where he will experience a controlled environment with other dogs and humans. Alternatively, you can work at home with your dog by taking him outside more often, introducing him to new people in a calm and controlled way, and allowing him to be in the presence of other dogs. Always respect your dog’s personal space and don’t allow any new situation to become overwhelming or too exciting.
There are many other ways you can work to build confidence in a shy dog. You can teach your dog to play games with you, such as fetch, to establish a close bond. You can also have friends and family meet your dog and offer him treats without petting him or talking to him. You should also ensure that a shy or anxious dog gets plenty of exercise to let out some of that tension.