Shy Dogs Meeting the Special Training and Home Requirements of the Shy Dog

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Shy Dogs Meeting the Special Training and Home Requirements of the Shy Dog

by Kay King


Some dogs from birth are excessively shy and cowering, and in some cases that shyness may lead to aggression as a result of fear. An owner may label this as bad behavior - yet the dog is just being what he is. Such a dog is certainly not trainable as a guard dog but can be a wonderful and gentle family pet when provided with gentle handling and safe havens in the home.

Most bad behaviors can be handled by careful and consistent training...but you can no more change the personality of a dog than you can that of a human. Training must have the aim of creating new habits rather than eliminating instinctive and inherited behaviors.

A shy dog is a prime candidate for crate training. A good size crate located in a low traffic area of the home can provide a safe haven when the dog becomes threatened or nervous. From the den of his crate he can observe activity around him without having to be part of it.

Once a shy dog accepts that the crate is comfortable (clean and with a pad or bed to lay on) and that it belongs to him....most owners can simply leave the door to the crate open and the dog will voluntarily go to the crate when the need arises.

Training a shy dog can be very rewarding but must be done with the utmost respect for the animal. Harsh corrections and raised voices are not effective and actually can cancel out prior training. The shy dog requires training that uses gentle corrections and a calm demeanor on the part of the training.

Training should cease at the first sign of nervousness in the animal. Above all, the training should focus on creating a feeling of safety and control for the animal. This might mean that on a leash the dog will always walk close enough to touch his person once trust has been established.

Such a dog, when faced with strange people, may hide behind his owner once trust has been established. Under no circumstances should the owner allow anyone to violate the dog?s hiding space. Although exhibiting shy behavior by retreating behind his person, the dog is also stressed by his wish to protect his person. Thus, allowing a stranger to reach toward a dog exhibiting such behavior is asking for at least a growl, and perhaps a bite.

Shy dogs may also exhibit extreme anxiety during weather events such as heavy rain or thunderstorms. This is a good time to guide them to their crate and to close them in it for a bit. The alternative is for you to sit in place while your dog friend seeks reassurance by staying as close to you as possible.

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