How To Increase Your Dog’s Confidence

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by Floella McFee


A likes to know his place in the scheme of things; being a pack animal their understanding of their world is based on hierarchy. If a dog does not have this sense of place, then it will become insecure. These can have all kinds of effects on its behaviour. Of course just as there are naturally shy people, there can be naturally shy and timid . What is required in theses circumstances is a regime to improve the dog’s confidence.


Exercise, is a great reliever of stress. Agility training can be a good form of this as it improves social interaction and gives opportunities for coaxing with the right amount of praise and treats. It’s not necessary to invest in a set of expensive equipment for this; it’s possible to improvise with items. Even basic where good behaviour is rewarded and negative behaviour ignored can work wonders. Set aside regular times with your dog: at least 30 minutes, in 10 to 15minute bursts.

Shy of People?

If the dog has problem with people-interaction, then perhaps a friend can be employed to assist with this side of the socialisation process. Calm, quiet stance and in effect, ignoring the dog, will allow the animal to approach in its own time. If the friend then makes their physically appear smaller by crouching or lying on the floor this will be less of an apparent threat; also the friend might have their back to the animal but have treats in their hand, which the dog should be allowed to investigate. Once this small amount of confidence is built, the friend can then speak quietly to the dog before finally looking and gently petting.

Good Owner Behaviour

Improving your own behaviour patterns will lessen the chances of the dog exhibiting behaviours that requires scolding. It’s not a good idea to place a temptation in the dog’s path such as a slipper to chew on, or an open bin to raid: the dog cannot be held responsible for behaving as a dog. Dogs also rely on body language as a major form of communication: how you approach a dog, how you look at dog, even vocal tone, will have an effect on his behaviour. Put yourself a doggy-eye level; keep the voice low, calm and measured: no extremities of volume or pitch.


Never be abusive to your dog as a method of teaching (or at any other time), as this type of treatment may have lead to confidence problems in the first place. In many ways, dogs are similar to children. Confidence in dogs comes with praise and gentle instruction. Follow this method and your dog will definitely feel much better about his life, and your house won’t smell quite so bad!

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