Is your dog or puppy shy and leary of people; afraid of
strangers, certain situations or objects? Is your dog fear snapping
or is your puppy fear biting?
Is Shyness a Problem
It is natural for some dogs to be shy of things that are
new and unfamiliar. During development, a dog becomes socialized with familiar people, animals, objects and situations. But
they will still tend to shy away from the unfamiliar. Shyness in itself is not a problem. It is only a problem if the dog's
shyness inhibits your lifestyle or if the dog develops other problems related to shyness such as fear biting. Shy dogs often
bolt when frightened, endangering themselves by running blindly into danger
Dog or Puppy to be Shy
In a well meaning attempt to calm their dog's fears, many
people end up actually reinforcing the dog's shy behavior. In effect, the owner inadvertently trains the dog to be more fearful.
Be careful not to reinforce your dog's fearfulness by offering reassurance. When our timid dog hides, barks defensively, whines,
screams or snaps, our response is only natural. Our protective instincts cause us to reassure the dog by talking soothingly,
petting or even picking up the dog for a hug. These actions flagrantly reward the dog for fearful behavior. It is best to
just completely ignore your dog when he acts fearful. Let him learn by his own experience that there is nothing to be afraid
of. Save your praise for times when your dog acts with confidence
Shyness, Fear and Socialization
Many people try to rehabilitate their dog too quickly,
forcing him to socialize with other dogs and people. This usually reinforces the dog's view that other dogs and people are
frightening. On the one hand, the dog needs to be socialized as quickly as possible, but on the other hand, he should not
be forced into it. If you push your dog to do too much too soon, your dog will only become more fearful and may be forced
into a situation where he feels he must defend himself. Socializing a dog and helping him build his confidence is a time consuming
task. Thrusting him into the arms of every visitor and dragging him out to socialize with many other dogs can be counter-productive.
Strangers should never be allowed to approach your dog to pet him. It should always be left to your dog to make the first
contact. If your dog does not want to approach, that is OK. Just give him plenty of time to 'hide and peek' and eventually
he will come out of hiding. It's up to you to provide ample opportunity for socialization, but it is up to the dog to proceed
at his own pace. Don't verbally try to encourage him out of hiding. He will probably interpret your encouragement as praise
for hiding. Don't try to force him to come out this will only frighten him more
Growling and Aggression
Shy or fearful
dogs can react defensively when approached by unfamiliar people. They may try to keep strangers away by growling, snarling
or snapping. These behaviors must not be ignored. No dog should be allowed to get away with acting aggressively towards humans.
The fact that your dog is shy is no excuse to condone growling or biting. You must instantly and effectively reprimand such
behavior. As soon as your dog stops acting aggressive, it is essential that you praise him. We do not want your dog to think
that the presence of the stranger brings on the reprimand, but that his own obnoxious behavior causes you to get angry. If
it is ever necessary for you to reprimand aggressive tendencies in your shy dog, you have probably been trying to push him
along too quickly. Avoid similar threatening situations until your dog has developed sufficient confidence to deal with them
without resorting to aggression. Do not allow strangers to reprimand your fearful or shy dog.