How to Build Confidence in Dogs

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Build confidence in your dog by training him, socializing him and spending quality time working on behavioral skills.

Consistent Training

When your dog understands what you want from him, he becomes more confident. This is achieved through consistent obedience and behavioral training. Teach the essentials at home or enroll in a group dog training class that will give you the added benefit of introducing your dog to other people and animals. Everyone in your household should be committed to regularly enforcing the same house rules in the same manner to reinforce training and build confidence in your pup.

Ongoing Socialization

Dogs must be properly socialized to become confident. Take your pup to dog parks, pet-friendly public venues and out into your neighborhood. Keep him leashed and under control, employing your training commands to help him understand the behavior that’s expected from him when he’s away from home. Your dog should learn where it’s OK to eliminate, how to greet strangers and other animals and how to follow your instructions in various settings -- even noisy or hectic environments.

Tip

  • If your dog is shy or fearful of particular people, places or things, build his confidence by associating something positive with the situation. For example, if he's shy around strangers, employ the help of a friend to sit quietly and offer treats to your pup while you're in the room.

Consistent Scheduling

Dogs thrive on consistency, and maintaining a regular schedule helps them know what to expect and when to expect it. Try to maintain consistency when it comes to bathroom breaks, feeding and exercise times. Getting into routines builds confidence and lets your dog know he can count on you. If you have a wildly unpredictable schedule yourself, enlist the help of friends, family members, neighbors or even a hired dog sitter to help establish a routine schedule for your dog.

Be Present

Dogs love spending time with their human families, so strive to include your pup in as many aspects of family life as possible. Take him on short car trips when you’re running errands, put his kennel in a central location in your home and don’t leave him unattended for long periods of time. Regularly interact through brushing, give praise when he obeys commands and never yell at or strike your dog when he makes a mistake -- this will decrease confidence and build mistrust.

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