How to Build Your Dog’s Self-Confidence

Alberta | April 25th, 2010
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Written by Renee Premaza
Work on obedience everyday, minimally twice, preferably 3 times/day for about 3-5 minutes each time. Work on Sits and Downs and Attention exercises, and reward with good treats. Always end each training session where the dog has earned a treat reward and praise.

Tell your dog several times/day that she’s a good dog. Make a huge fuss over her anytime she does something that you like. When you teach new behaviors, ALWAYS praise her whenever she does something good – she needs that feedback in order to know what behaviors you are requiring of her.

Always remember that a dog is a dog – not a human in a furry suit. All behaviors that dogs do are natural to dogs – we just need to teach them what WE want them to do in order to live in harmony with US.

If your dog is undersocialized, DO NOT FORCE PEOPLE ON HER! However, you must work very hard to expose her to all sorts of people; i.e., short people, tall people, men, woman, men who wear hats, fat people, white people, black people, young children, older kids, kids who are playing in a park and who are running around screaming. BUT DO THIS AT A SAFE DISTANCE!!!!!!!! If you are walking with your dog in a park, and she is scared by approaching people, walk her off to the side of the path in an arc formation. Keep your dog at HER safe distance. AS LONG AS SHE REMAINS CALM, GIVE HER LOTS OF PRAISE AND A FOOD TREAT EVERYTIME SOMEONE WALKS TOWARD HER OR BEHIND HER!

When walking with your dog, or when you want to introduce her to someone she doesn’t know, tell them you need their help in training your dog. Here are the instructions to give other people:

1. Do NOT make eye contact with her.
2. Do NOT reach out to pet her.
3. Do NOT even speak to her.
4. Do NOT approach directly from the front.
Approach her in an arc formation.
5. Allow your dog to make the first moves.
Allow her to sniff this person. If she
seems okay with this individual, this
person can drop treats on the ground for
her to eat. YOU praise her to the skies
if she eats them (if she is really
stressed, chances are she WON’T eat the
treats!
6. Do NOT let people lean over your dog.
7. Do NOT let people pet her on top of her
head!!
8. Do NOT console your dog by picking her up and telling her, “it’s okay, mommy’s here.” Your dog will see this as a reward for being scared, and she will also respond as if YOU’RE also scared, and that’s why you are holding her so closely!!
9. Exercise, exercise, exercise your dog. This is not a mis-print. The more exercise you provide for her, the more “feel good” hormones are released in her brain; i.e., seratonin. Lack of exercise causes many, if not most of behavioral problems in dogs.
10. As soon as your dog learns to sit on command, require her to earn every single privilege by sitting before:
a. she gets fed her meals
b. she gets to go for a walk
c. she gets petted or played with
d. she gets a bone or chewy
e. she gets a tug toy
f. she gets to go outside
g. she gets ANYTHING that SHE sees as
valuable in her life!
11. If your dog likes a good game of tug, play with her often! Teach her that this is YOUR toy, and never give her free access to it. In the situation where a dog is lacking in self-confidence, you can let your dog win AT LEAST HALF OF THE TIME.
12. Take your dog for rides in the car A LOT! This will help her get socialized also. Go and get gas and ride in traffic areas so she gets used to the noises of cars going by and people crossing streets.

IF SHE SEEMS TERRIBLY STRESSED AT ANYTIME, TRY TO REFOCUS HER ATTENTION ONTO SOMETHING THAT WILL MAKE HER FEEL BETTER, LIKE DOING SOME OBEDIENCE SO SHE CAN EARN SOME REWARDS.

WHEN SHE IS BEHAVING CALMLY, NEVER FORGET TO REINFORCE THAT HEAVILY!

Renee Premaza
Dog Obedience Trainer & Behavior Consultant
(609) 280-9338
www.jerseydogtrainer.com

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