It may seem like a challenge to play with a nervous dog. You don't want to scare them but, at the same time, you want them to have fun and be active. The best way to go about setting up activities for a nervous dog is to go slow, plan things you know your pup will like and reward them when they engage with you rather than shy away. With those pointers in mind, here are a few activities your nervous pup will be sure to love!
This game is perfect to help nervous dogs get accustomed to new people. You will be rewarding your dog for approaching a person that they may not know very well rather than running in the opposite direction. You can play this game every single day with new people or with the same participants, however, you will need a few friends or family member to help be the "new faces". As always with a nervous pup, go slow and let your dog lead the way as far as the pace of the game, You want them to get more comfortable but also do not want to push them too far before they are ready!
Some dogs are so nervous that any object flying toward them or near them may be scary. For example, throwing a ball may start your dog on a nervous shaking fit. Even a treat being tossed in their direction could make your dog nervous. Whatever the reason behind this automatic reaction, it is an easy one to break. All you need to do is be patient and teach your dog that flying treats are, well, a treat! There is no need to be scared of a dog bone or a ball and both objects are meant to be fun, not make your dog nervous! Time for some training!
This is an activity you can do every day with your pup to help them be less anxious in day to day life. It is as easy as talking out loud and singing to yourself, all the while, soothing your nervous pooch. This activity is especially good if your dog is scared of new sounds or if the sound of people talking makes them run away. The idea is to get your pup accustomed to noise and different tones of voices. You should try to do this activity constantly while you are home and you will see that you can even help your pup relax when you are away. How, you may be wondering? Easy.
Sometimes, all a nervous dog needs is a good cuddle. Curl up beside your dog in a soft blanket and just give them lots of attention and love. Nothing is more relaxing than this!
Give your nervous dog something to do to get out some of their anxious energy. A treat puzzle is a great idea as it is not intimidating and will reward your dog for putting in effort to get a treat.
All dogs deserve to have fun and even the most nervous ones will thrive when set up with the right activities to play. Learn what makes your dog nervous and work on an activity that will calm these nerves. Your dog doesn't like to feel nervous so it is your job to help them! Start slow with any activity you do and soon your dog will be thriving and running toward the thing that used to make them nervous.