When we say “shy dog” we mean dog’s who become fearful or anxious in social situations. Does your pup have a favorite corner he likes to go to when new people and dogs come over? Sometimes it’s underneath the kitchen table, or an empty room in the house. Socialization the right way, can help your shy dog find his happy place in the world.
2 Thing’s You’ll Need
Its actually a good thing for shy dogs to have a space that they consider a safe haven. It allows him to retreat to a place that is more comfortable and familiar to avoid stressful situations that could lead to aggression. The goal however, is to widen that comfortable space into various social situations.
Socializing your shy dog can be a slow process, and requires patience. It is important to remember that the older your dog is, the longer this could take. If socialization is new to your adult dog, you may have to spend a little more time learning the basics of socialization.
How Shy Is He?
Is he comfortable around groups of 10-15 new people? Small groups of friends? Other dogs? Start teaching your dog to be social in the smallest setting possible first, and then work your way up. Start by sitting in a room with your dog and one other new person. Slowly reward and comfort your dog with treats as you encourage the new person to come into contact, slowly. In this scenario your dog is meeting a new person in a comfortable situation, and as occurrences like these increase, he will learn to associate meeting new people with comfort.
What About Socializing With Other Dogs?
If he’s shy around other dogs its best to teach him to be social in the same way. Start with private training. Make sure he has found a comfortable space to retreat and there is a mutual understanding that you will remove him from a stressful situation if need be. Once this is clear, introduce him to a calm, socialized dog at a distance. As he sits by your side, reward his calm behavior with treats as the other dog comes closer. The most important thing is that when he meets a dog for the first time, he is in a comfortable non-stressful place. The more you practice socialization, the more your shy dog will find that meeting new dogs and people is comfortable and non-stressful.