How to Help the Shy or Reserved Dog?

Dogs are great companions, and they can be very loving. However, not every dog is the same. Some dogs may be more reserved or shy than others. This article will discuss how to help your shy or reserved dog become a more confident member of your family. For a more detailed guide, see it here.

Identify Your Dog’s Triggers

The first thing to do when trying to help your pet become more confident is to identify the triggers that make them feel shy or reserved. Knowing this information will allow you to better understand what may be causing these negative behaviors. For example, if a dog does not like meeting new people and becomes aggressive towards strangers, find out where they are encountering unfamiliar faces so you can work on helping them overcome their fears without scaring anyone in the process.

If there appears to be no identifiable trigger for a fear or aggression issue, consult with a professional such as an animal behavior specialist who would know how best to proceed with helping your timid pup.

Trick and Treat

If your dog is shy or reserved, you may want to consider teaching him a trick. Dogs love tricks and will be more confident if they know how to do them! Teach your dog the “sit” command first so that he knows what it means when you say ‘trick.’ You can then teach him one of these three simple tricks of your choice:

  • Holding a paw up   
  • Rolling over on command and then back again 
  • Laying down on command. Cue the trick by telling him “trick” or whatever word you choose in advance. When he does it successfully, reward him with treats from his favorite treat jar every time he does it again.

Build a Bond with Your Dog

Dogs are pack animals, and they form very close relationships with their owners. Building a bond can help your dog feel more confident in himself because he will know that you love him unconditionally – even if he doesn’t always act the way you want him to.

Bring Your Dog into New Environments

Dogs are natural explorers. If your dog is shy or reserved, you may want to take him out in new environments so that he can get used to them and feel more confident. This will also help build confidence because it shows other dogs that they don’t have anything to fear from the new environment – not even their fears.

Canine Sports

One of the ways that a shy or reserved dog can gain confidence is by engaging in canine sports. This could be anything from agility to flyball, but it will give your dog something social and fun to do with other dogs while also getting him used to being around new people.

 This is a great way to help overcome shyness and give them an outlet for their energy, plus it’s fun.

Doggie Mentors

Some shy or reserved dogs may also benefit from meeting with a doggie mentor. These are typically other, confident dogs that will allow them to play and have confidence in themselves while not being afraid of making mistakes because the dog is so much more advanced than they are.

This can be done through group classes or one-on-one dog training sessions where you bring your shy/reserved dog out for some socialization and physical activity. The key is for the mentors to know what exercises work best on their canine friends – which means it’s really important to find someone who has experience working with this type of situation.

Create Schedule for Walks

Walks can help shy or reserved dogs find confidence. You may want to consider creating a schedule so that your dog knows when he is going on walks and what the expectations are for him during those periods. This will give them something they look forward to every day, which can be very helpful in helping them feel more confident overall!


Desensitizing your dog to fearful situations is also a great way to help him overcome his shyness. You can do this by exposing them gradually to the thing that makes them nervous and teaching them how to relax in those circumstances. 

This process should be done slowly over time so that it’s not overwhelming for your pup and he doesn’t build up anxiety about something new every day. The goal here is just one step at a time until he feels calmer around what scares him most: then work on the next occasion that makes him anxious.

There are many different ways to help a shy or reserved dog, but the key is always patience and consistency. It will take time for your dog to feel confident in himself. It’s not something that happens overnight.

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