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Some dogs just naturally have lower self esteem and they need an owner willing to work with them to boost their confidence levels. Dogs suffering from low self esteem will look to their owner for support and encouragement. You can help boost your dog’s self esteem through a variety of activities that will also help you bond. Do not be afraid to try new things with your dog, they will sense your uncertainty or hesitation and will act with the same trepidation. When trying a new activity, keep things upbeat and happy so your dog will be more willing to dive in with you.
A dog that knows what is expected of them is a happy, confident dog. Obedience training is a great way to teach your dog manners and lift their self esteem. Join a local basic obedience class and learn the simple commands that will help transform your slinking, shy pup into a confident side kick strutting by your side. Most obedience classes will last about an hour with only about 30 to 45 minutes of actual instruction and work. Most basic obedience classes are more laid back in their teaching styles. You can begin training for competitive obedience once you have mastered the basic commands. Obedience training can be done indoors or outdoors and only requires a collar, leash, treats and a little patience.
Rally, also known as rally obedience, is new twist on competitive obedience. You and your dog work together as a team to complete a course of generally 10 to 20 different tasks or stations. Rally is a much more relaxed activity and communication between handler and dog is greatly encouraged. The American Kennel Club has recognized rally as a sport and even awards titles to dogs ranging from novice to master. Find a rally event in your area and go check it out to see if this is an activity you would enjoy with your dog. Performing in rally is a great way to boost your dog’s self esteem.
This is an easy activity for any dog and is offers instant gratification which is perfect for a dog with lower self esteem. Targeting simply is teaching your dog to touch a designated target for a treat, toy or praise. Your dog can use their foot or nose to touch the designated target. Many people use target training as a way to teach house training by placing a bell on the door handle and having their dog touch the bell to signal they need to go outside. Targeting can be trained during any weather and is a cheap activity to do with your dog; all you need are treats and a designated target, a collar and leash are optional.
Dogs that have a specific job to perform will be a more confident dog. Teaching your dog a trick will help boost their self esteem. When teaching your dog a trick, consistency and praise are the way to build them up. Never scold or act angry with your dog during a training session. This will make them more anxious and will undo any confidence boosting activities you have already done.
When you watch agility, you see happy, confident dogs. By teaching your dog agility, they will also build their self esteem because as they conquer each new obstacle it will make them feel good and they will work hard to earn your praise and a reward such as a treat or toy. The obstacles will seem scary and may overwhelm your timid dog, however, be patient and provide plenty of praise and treats. A seasoned agility dog can also help a timid dog learn how to perform each obstacle.
Some dogs are born with a softer nature while others have had bad experiences that strip away their confidence and cause them to have low self esteem. It is their owner’s job to provide activities that will help them overcome their fears and build their confidence. There are numerous activities that will help give your dog’s self esteem a boost and do not be afraid to try a few to see which ones are the best fit for your dog. Just remember when working with a dog that has low self esteem to keep things lighthearted and give them plenty of praise and rewards.