Most of us would prefer that our canine companions felt safe and secure whenever we are with them but for some dogs, this just does not come as naturally as it does for others. For pet parents who have anxious or hesitant dogs, these activities fun, interactive activities are all about instilling confidence and allowing your dog to learn that the world is not quite as scary as it might seem and that adventures can be fun instead of frightening.
Obedience training classes can be a great way to give your hesitant or nervous dog a confidence boost as well as providing socialization for your dog in a more structured setting than at a situation like a dog park. Gentleness should be used when correcting the hesitant dog and positive feedback is typically much more effective than heavy-handed methods. The training class that you choose to attend can be for either basic obedience, learning commands such as come, sit, and stay, or it can be more advanced obedience training that includes more specialized tricks or routines.
Getting used to dealing with new objects, people, and environments is a large part of what is referred to as socialization. Hesitant dogs often have difficulty dealing with anything new in their environment and in some cases may not have had proper socialization when they were younger. Giving hesitant dogs with low self-confidence an opportunity to see and experience new things in a somewhat safer or comfortable environment can help them to learn to be more confident in multiple situations. There are several different fun ways to introduce your dog to new people, places, and things, both indoors and out.
The box dog activity works the mind of your canine companion, teaching them a little bit about thinking outside of the box by rewarding them for certain behaviors without giving them a specific command to follow. This activity is particularly good for helping a hesitant or uncertain dog grow in confidence as it uses only positive feedback and teaches the dog critical thinking skills. While this example uses a box as the focal object for your canine companion, other objects can be used as long they are safe for the dog to use their paws, nose, or mouth to interact with.
Not all dogs like car rides, but for a large percentage of dogs, car rides allow them to get out of the house and enjoy new sights and sounds from what feels like a safer vantage point.
While not all botanical gardens allow dogs, there are many that do allow leashed canines to have access to at least part of the gardens. Call ahead to find out your local garden’s pet policy and give your dog a little time to smell the roses.
toys and other sorts of puzzle toys are particularly good at releasing nervous or
anxious behaviors and can help your hesitant dog to become calmer and more
Even nervous and hesitant dogs need exercise and mental stimulation but this can sometimes prove to be a challenge, particularly when sudden changes or loud noises make your dog too uncomfortable to enjoy their excursions. Although introducing new activities too quickly or in an overstimulating way may exacerbate the situation, utilizing confidence building activities like those listed here may help your hesitant hound to become much braver and more adventurous overall.