Are you the proud owner of an extremely shy puppy? This fear-based behavioral characteristic is very common if you have a toy dog breed. However, it’s a known fact that every litter will have at least one shy puppy that will need to be treated a little differently than the rest of the pups.
When these shy puppies grow up they can become extremely needy and look towards their owners for reinforcement in almost every situation they come across. Unfortunately, while this need to “run to mommy or daddy” every time it gets scared, your dog may start to initiate aggression if it is not getting the soothing attention needed. This could be labeled as aggression induced by fear.
Ironically enough, if you constantly caress and soothe your puppy when it demonstrates extreme shyness and becomes frightened, you are only reinforcing the behavior. I realize that it’s hard to imagine ignoring your shy and scared puppy when it needs you, but if you would like to change its behavior and help your puppy become a bold and social animal, you are going to have to quit letting it know that it is “okay” to be afraid.
Helping Your Shy Puppy Change
If your dog is showing signs of fear and timidness early, then you will have to be patient when desiring to help it adjust. You must coax the dog to realize that you will not be its protector anymore. Behaviors that it used to do when scared will need to be stopped, such as barking and hiding behind your legs when startled. Darting away whenever seeing a normal part of the outside, such as a person walking by, or a bush swaying in the wind, etc.
Here are some tips that you can use to help your puppy become less shy:
- Tell your family and friends to ignore your puppy’s fear-induced barking or crying whenever they approach. Up to this point your dog has acted out of fear whenever someone approaches and when these people naturally stop the approach, your dog has learned that this behavior works in its favor. From now on your dog will start to understand that fear-induced barking will not work anymore, so long as your friends and family respect your training wishes.
- Whenever you are expecting guests to arrive at the house, be sure to keep your puppy secured by a lead. Take it with you as you approach the guests, if you can allow the dog to be with you all times. The difference from now on is that when it starts crying, barking, or hiding behind your legs, you will now act in a confident matter, without petting or soothing your pup. This will help your pup become braver, while teaching it that the old behavior will not work anymore.
Secrets to Dog Training is a helpful resource to your dog behavior problems.