Activities For A Fearful Dog

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Introduction

Not all dogs run toward strangers and bounce with joy at new adventures. Many dogs are shy, timid or fearful of anything new, loud or just downright intimidating! That doesn't have to limit your dog's activities, though. There is plenty you can do with a fearful pup that will allow them to have a good time without being afraid. The key to keep in mind with any activity and a fearful pup is to go slow and always make sure your pup is happy!

New Toys

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Cheap
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
New Toy
Activity description

Most dogs are over the moon when they receive a new toy; however, a fearful dog may react the opposite way. A new toy may induce fear and make the dog shy away. At the same time, you probably are dying to give your fearful dog a new fun toy. They are, after all, probably in need of some new fun and comforting things to play with! Once your dog gets over the fear of the toy, they are sure to like it too so don't just skip the toy section of the pet store, just use these guidelines to help you give your fearful pup new fun things! 

Step
1
Toy choice is important
Choose a toy for your dog that is not too overwhelming. A toy that has tons of bright colors or makes loud noises should be avoided. Even a toy that subtly squeaks may be tricky especially if your dog is afraid of certain sounds. Opt for something subtle, possibly soft but still a toy your pal can really play with.
Step
2
Introduce the toy
Remove any tags or packaging before giving your dog the toy. Show your dog the new purchase while they are in a place that they feel comfortable, like a dog bed or cozy corner. Bring they toy out slowly and hold it in your hand to show your dog it is safe and harmless. Let them take a good sniff while you are holding the toy.
Step
3
Play tIme
Place the toy in front of your dog and let them sniff it again. If they want to take the toy in their mouth, let them! Allow your dog to move at their own pace. Once they seem comfortable with the toy, try gently tossing it in between your hands to show your dog that it is a playful object. Let your pup play at will!
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New Faces

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Any Day
Free
Normal
10 - 30 min
Items needed
Dog Treats
Activity description

Many dogs are afraid of new people, but who can blame them - strangers can be intimidating! However, it isn't good to run and hide anytime a person comes into your house especially when they are your friends. It can take a while to teach a dog not to be afraid of people they don't know, so expect to spend a good deal of time on this training activity. Keep in mind that your hard work is not in vain, your dog will be happier and less anxious when they are trained not to be fearful of people - and of course, it will be less stressful for you as well!

Step
1
Find a friend
Enlist a few friends or family members to help you with your dog training. While you won't need these people to visit your house every day, it is good to have people who can commit long-term to assist you. Having regular visitors, especially people you do not want your dog to be afraid of, is important to training.
Step
2
Set up the space
Place a bowl of your dog's favorite treats near the door of your home. Have one of your friend recruits come over and knock or ring the doorbell as they typically would. Open the door and have your friend immediately grab a dog treat, call your dog's name and place the treat on the ground. Go about your visit with your friend and allow your dog to find the treat on their own. While your dog may not have come running to the door, the association of a guest and a treat has begun!
Step
3
Keep visiting
Have everyone who walks in your door grab a dog treat, call your dog's name and place it on the ground as the first thing they do in your home. While it may take a while, eventually your fearful dog will come running to the door for a treat! One fear conquered!
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Build Confidence

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Free
Normal
10 - 30 min
Items needed
Treats
Activity description

Building confidence is very important for a fearful dog. Any activity that you can do to help them on this mission is a good one. A dog who has confidence will automatically be less fearful of everyday activities. Confidence will help your dog be more outgoing and less stressed in day to day life. Praise is the basis of building your dog's confidence and a positive attitude doesn't hurt either! So don't tiptoe around your dog's issue of being fearful, instead, face the issue head-on and with a smile. Training your dog to be confident will also give you the confidence in yourself to train your pup!

Step
1
Hide and seek
Start with an easy confidence building game like hide and seek. Have your dog wait in a room while you hide in your home. Call your dog just once and let them come and find you. Once they do, give them lots of praise, love and treats to let them know they did a great job. Play this game often to continue to build your dog's self-assurance.
Step
2
Find it
Play "find it" with your dog by hiding their favorite toy. Have your dog sit and stay while you hide a toy that they love in a dramatic fashion so as to get them excited and interested in what you are doing. Have your dog search for the toy and, when they find it, give praise, love and treats again!
Step
3
Fetch
Even a basic game of fetch can help your dog build their confidence. If your dog likes to play fetch and isn't scared of the ball, then this is the game for you. When your dog retrieves the ball and returns it to you, give them (you guessed it) praise, love and treats! Your dog will be a confident pup in no time!
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More Fun Ideas...

Cuddles

There is nothing a fearful dog will enjoy more than quiet time with you. Cuddle your pup in a cozy spot to comfort them and make them feel safe and loved.

Walks

Bring your fearful dog on walks as frequently as possible. The outside world is ever changing and exposure to this kind of variation in day to day life is so beneficial for fearful dogs.

Conclusion

It can be difficult to have a fearful dog, and the first thing you should do is identify what they are afraid of and try to conquer that fear. Getting a fearful dog to be confident and playful can take a long time but know that all the training you do with your dog will pay off in the end. While you are training your fearful dog, try to have some fun with your pooch as well!