Activities For Shy Dogs

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Introduction

Do you have a shy dog at home? Do you often wish you could do something to help your shy dog feel a little more comfortable around people? Well, the good news is that you can. And you're in the right place - this guide can provide a lot of helpful ideas that can solve your problem. Just remember, every dog is unique. Just because your dog is shy, doesn't mean you need to be worried. The best thing you could do is be accepting, above all. Try to help your dog, and be a support system, but don't push too hard.

The Right Exercise

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Frisbee
Ball
Stick or Dog Toy
Activity description
Most shy dogs are still very active and sporty. They still like to walk or run, or swim or something. But there's always that ONE major exercise that really hits the sweet spot. And as your dog's best friend, it would be wise to find out what that is. So, for a half an hour everyday until you find it, try out a variety of activities. Maybe play Frisbee. Throw a ball around. Have your dog fetch a stick or a toy. Go swimming. Once you find the activity that really makes your dog go crazy, you've done your job! Now you know something you can do together that will encourage more social behavior.
Step
1
Set up for fun
Find a large patch of grass, whether it's your backyard or a park. Then start pulling out all of the toys and sports equipment you think your dog may be interested in. Pack these up ahead of time and then pull them out once you get to the location. The idea here is to spend the next half an hour figuring out which of these fun activities makes your dog extraordinarily happy, more than the norm.
Step
2
Test out games
Now that you've set up, it's time to test out different games. Throw a stick or dog toy, throw another toy, and another and see if any specific toy makes fetch that much more exciting for your dog. Then, try playing some Frisbee and see how that goes. Does your dog get even more excited with this than with a classic game of fetch? Try running back and forth. Just run from one end of the yard or park to the next, and see what your dog does. Do they get more excited? Do they run after you or do they just stare at you in confusion?
Step
3
Make future plans
Once you find the activity that makes your dog go absolutely bonkers, it's time to make future plans. If your dog really loves Frisbee, for instance, make plans to go to the park every week. Maybe arrange a group of your friends to get together every Sunday, and get your dog to join in on the fun. Whatever the plans, make sure you incorporate it into your weekly routine, so that you can actively do something that makes your dog feel confident.
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Coffee Shop Visit

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
20 - 30 min
Items needed
Leash
Activity description
Shy dogs think anything outside their comfort zone is an adventure. And that means most things. So although getting a coffee may seem normal and mundane to you, to a shy dog, it's like riding a roller coaster for the first time (daunting, scary, but a little exhilarating too). So with that in mind, put that leash on and walk into the coffee shop. Try to avoid peak hours, just to make it a little easier on the dog. Order your coffee, wait for your order, and sit down for five minutes just to give your dog a chance to understand the surroundings.
Step
1
Walk in and order
It may seem dumb, but before you walk into the coffee shop, make sure the leash is on, and that you've given your dog a nice show of affection. Let your dog know that you're right there, and that they can really trust you. Most people take it for granted, but dogs are like people: they really do feel bonds to others, and they really are in need of their own support systems too. Once you've done that, walk into the coffee shop, and order your coffee.
Step
2
The waiting game
Now that you've ordered, it's time to wait for the coffee to be ready. So stand wherever you need to, and just take in your surroundings. Let your dog do the same. If you sense your dog retreating, or hiding under the counter, don't say anything. It's best to ignore shy behavior and only praise the good. This lets your dog know when they've done something positive.
Step
3
Head for home
Once your coffee is done, you can optionally sit down for a few minutes, just to take in the atmosphere, and look out the window. Your dog may hide under the table and that's okay. Again, only praise the good, outgoing behavior. So if your dog pops out from under the table and decides to stare out the window, feel free to softly praise.
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Work Visit

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Any Day
Free
Easy
8 hrs
Items needed
Leash
Activity description
This is great if your office is pet friendly. And if it is, you truly are in luck! Not only do you get to go to work with your best friend, you literally don't need to worry about anything. Here's why: the whole point of taking your dog to work is passive socialization. Don't tell your dog to do anything, don't force your dog to go greet people and see if anyone has snacks. Let your dog hunker down under your desk and watch the other dogs greet the UPS man. Watch the other dogs run around with snacks. Eventually, it will get to be too tempting and your dog will explore.
Step
1
Prep for the work day
First thing is first, every morning go about your own routine. Don't change much, just do about whatever it is you personally need to do before work every morning. Once you're ready, feed the dog (it will be 8 hours), maybe take some snacks in a ziplock bag, and consider bringing a little doggy blanket to place under your desk. Your dog's water bowl may also come in handy.
Step
2
Workplace fun
Skipping over the boring car ride, which should have consisted of safety first, take your dog into the office. Make sure the leash is on. Proceed to greet your coworkers as usual, then head to your desk, remove the leash, and place the blanket under your desk. Find some water for the dog's bowl and place that somewhere in your cubicle where it won't get kicked over.
Step
3
Now the easy part: work
Now all you need to do is work. Literally, for the next 8 hours, act as if it's just another work day, and you need to meet some deadlines. Let your dog lie down under your desk, hearing everyone else talk or type away at their computers. Let them hear and see the other dogs that pass by. When your dog is ready, they will go out and explore on their own. Don't worry, they know where your desk is. This activity builds confidence over time. Try to bring your dog into work as often as you reasonably can.
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More Fun Ideas...

Agility

Even if you're not looking to compete or anything, agility helps your dog build confidence. The whole point of it is to figure out how to overcome obstacles quickly and efficiently. Sounds like something we'd all benefit from, to be honest. And it keeps your dog fit, bonds you two, and teaches your dog to listen to you. You would have a very obedient, fit, confident dog on your hands if you took up agility.

Walk, Walk, Walk

It may seem mundane, but walks are truly helpful. Not only do they help keep you in shape, they also allow you to expose your dog to the elements, the world beyond your home. They are bound to bump into other humans and animals while out and about. Suddenly, after all those walks you take, it's just another day, another stranger. It becomes normal.

Conclusion

Shy dogs are adorable in their own right. And if you're lucky enough to have one, remember that it's okay to be a little on the shy side. You can do some activities to help out, to offer support and encouragement, but don't push too hard. Read the signs, accept when you've made enough progress for one day, and try again the next.