5 Things You Must Know About “Confident Dogs”

Do you have a dog who seems uneasy, anxious, or afraid of particular situations? Fear, insecurity, and anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways in dogs. Some dogs may rush and bark at whatever it is that is frightening them. Others bunker down and freeze until the terrifying object passes. Or, your dog may show more subtle symptoms of distress. You’ll be able to tell when your dog is feeling upset if you become familiar with his body language.

It Takes Time To Build Your Dog’s Confidence:

There is no quick answer for assisting a nervous dog with gaining confidence. It will take time and patience on your part. But, as you begin training on obedience, you will notice a change in your dog’s focus. They’ll start looking to you for their next clue, rather than fixating on all the terrifying stuff.

How Training Can Help Your Dog Gain Confidence:

When confronted with anything frightening, our dogs tend to focus only on that. They’ll dismiss everything else. Giving your dog something to focus on offers them something else to think about. The more they observe that nothing horrible happens while they’re in that situation, the more confident they will become.

Desensitization to frightening situations takes time, and success does not come quickly. Fear is a strong emotional reaction that can be difficult to overcome.

If you’re scared of heights, you know that no amount of delicious delicacies can help you overcome that fear. It takes time and gradual, consistent exposure. Plus, in an ideal situation, it takes a good companion to help you redirect your focus away from your fear and onto something else. That’s what obedience training is like for your dog.
You can be that person. Shift your dog’s focus away from their fear, and towards something constructive, such as training.

Why Do Some Dogs Lack Confidence?

  • Early learning and genetics:
    Confidence is not an innate attribute. But, your dog’s genetics, early learning, and maternal influence all play a role in whether your dog is confident or not.
  • Socialization is lacking:
    All puppies need to be gently, favorably, and consistently introduced to a wide array of sights, noises, smells, surfaces, animals, and people in order to comfortably travel through the environment (of all ages, colors, mobilities, etc.)
  • Mistakes and Misadventures are common:
    Even in a naturally confident dog, failures can occur that can shatter their confidence. You must defend and advocate for your dog, even if you don’t want to coddle him. Yes, it can be a delicate balancing act.

5 Ways Your Dog Be Confident Around Strangers:

It takes patience and devotion to help a timid or fearful dog. It’s something you’ll need to work on every time your dog becomes nervous in a new scenario. But, teaching your dog a few basic instructions they can focus on in new situations will be quite beneficial. Here are the five actions I took to help my dog gain confidence.

    • On Walks, Begin With Basic Obedience:
      You never know when you’ll run into something or someone that will trigger your dog. Every time you leave the house, it’s great to prepare for anything. Take a bunch of yummy treats along, like chicken, to make sure you have something that would be able to keep your dog’s attention if need be.

      If your dog’s not that into rats, try using a game of tug to keep their attention instead.

    • Moving On to New and Unfamiliar Situations
      You can go on to the pet store and vet’s office once they are comfortable with others approaching you on walks. There will be a lot of new individuals to get used to, as well as a lot of unusual sights, sounds, and scents.

      Your first few trips might be a complete disaster.

      It might be far too much, far too soon. And you’ll have days where you’re disheartened when working with a timid dog – but don’t give up. It’s always possible to start over. The more you practice, the better you’ll become acquainted with your dog’s anxiety threshold.

      If your first few trips go bad, start by going during the evenings and weekends. Or, times when you know there will be significantly fewer people in and out. You can practice “look at me” down one aisle for a time before moving on to the next.

      It will become a seamless, smooth process when you take your time.

    • Begin by Staying as Far Away From Scary Things as Possible
      When confronted with something new or frightening, dogs have a stress threshold. The closer you get to the frightening thing, the more uneasy your dog becomes. It’s crucial to remember not to cross that boundary too quickly while working with a nervous dog. Allow your dog to become accustomed to the new scary person or dog in the distance before approaching it.

      If you discover that you’ve come too close to the scary circumstance and can’t grab his attention, back up. You’ll be able to determine where your dog’s fear threshold is after a few tests. Then, you’ll be able to pick a region that works for your dog.

    • Your Dog will Learn to Associate Training with Positive Experiences
      You’ll want to offer lots of praise and goodies whether you’re brushing up on old abilities like “sit” or teaching new commands like “look at me.” Make these small obedience lessons enjoyable for your dog. The more you praise them and make it exciting for them, the more likely they are to listen to you when you ask them to do something in a new circumstance.

      If you penalize a fearful dog, you risk encouraging and exacerbating his or her fear.

      If you keep the training positive, your dog will learn to link obedience exercises with praise and goodies. This will make it easier for them to face frightening situations.

    • Continue to Put Forth Effort in New Situations
      You can keep moving on to new settings if you take your time and make sure your dog is comfortable. That’s why something as simple as obedience work is so appealing: it’s easy to do and can be done almost anywhere.

      If your dog is comfortable around the youngsters in your area who ride their bikes, take him to the park, where there will be even more bikes.

Final Thoughts

Always keep in mind that confidence is a fluid attribute that can be enhanced or weakened. If your dog has a high level of self-assurance, you now know how to keep it up. If your dog’s confidence needs a boost, you have several options and every reason to believe you can succeed!

I hope these suggestions help you get started on boosting your dog’s confidence. Remember the classic dog trainer’s mantra: “Patience, Persistence, and Consistency!” And before you know it, you’ll have a more confident dog!

Are you ready to take the next step in training your dog? Call Patriot K-Nine Dog Training today to see how we can support you and your furry friend.

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