How To Help A Nervous Dog Be Braver

Sept. 17, 2018


Whether a dog is nervous and timid by nature, as a result of mistreatment or just a lack of experience with hoomans, they have to build up their level of bravery and trust. Some dogs may always remain somewhat timid when dealing with other dogs, animals or even people, but with patience, love and understanding, you can help a shy dog overcome some of their hesitation and learn to build confidence.

We have put together some of our tips to help nervous pups become a bit braver!

The Way You React Is Important


When you try to interact, a nervous pooch might run and hide, whine or pull away. They may even growl out of fear or discomfort to keep strangers from getting too close. They are not misbehaving, they simply feel afraid or overwhelmed. A loud, commanding voice and high energy could actually be making a timid dog even more fearful. Soft speech with firm but gentle control and a calm aura will do much more for a skittish dog than physical force will. Let the dog come to you on its own and reinforce that approach with a favorite treat/toy and verbal praise. A dog’s fears and discomforts are more easily overcome with kindness patience and positive rewards.

Trust Exercises Will Help


The best way to build up trust and help your pup to face their fears is by showing them there is nothing to be afraid of. A good technique to help your dog be more comfortable being introduced to different things is by using the ‘touch it with your nose’ game. You can start off by holding your hand out, closed into a fist and each time they touch their nose on your fist you reward them with the treat. Once they understand that it is okay and trust, try having them touch your fist near a ‘scary thing.’ A big box, an umbrella or even trusted strangers. Eventually you can work up to them touching the ‘scary thing’ without the need for you to do so first! They will learn to trust that if you have told them its safe, then it is!

Locations Matter

Your shy pup may do fine at home with you and your family, but revert to nervous behavior in unfamiliar locations or when around strangers. Thinking about how you feel in new places and uncomfortable situations can help you to understand that your dog is not being bad, just adjusting in their own way. Loud, large gatherings such as concerts, parties etc be overwhelming to a timid dog. If you really need them to get used to these types of locations and events, work up to it with smaller ones. Over time, your dog may get more used to the idea. Socialization and trust are learned over time. Start with less intimidating situations such as quiet walks with only a few people or other dogs around, and work up to more!

Remember To Consider The Dogs Personality And Upbringing

This is especially relevant here in Bali, with so many rescue organisations. You should remember that if a dog comes from an abusive situation or wasn’t properly socialized, nervousness is not surprising. These dogs have to learn that there are good and loving people in the world who will care for them. Some of the more shy dogs may never feel completely at ease in social situations, but as long as they feel secure with you and other family members, they will find trust over time.Love can work wonders with dogs that have never really experienced it. With kindness, training and patience, you may see a terrified dog become more friendly and sociable.

Follow these tips to help your pup become braver, with some pups it may just be a matter of time! You should always encourage your dog to be braver when you need to, but allow them to express their fears and be themselves as well. Not every dog is outgoing any more than every human is, but your four legged friend trusts you. Do your best to honor that trust and keep them safe.

If you keep a watchful eye on your dog, you may discover the specific things that make them withdraw. Then you can figure out how to handle things. Just take it one step at a time. When you are out and about, stay near your dog until they are comfortable, to help them feel secure.

Do you have any stories about you and your pup? Comment below or email us at!


Emily For PawHi