Helping a Timid Dog Overcome His Fear

Is your canine buddy easily scared? Perhaps Fido runs and hides at any unexpected noise, or cowers under the bed when you have friends or family members over to visit. There are many reasons that dogs can be timid. Improper socialization, bad past experiences, or drastic changes can all make our canine buddies nervous. In this article, your local Indianapolis veterinarian offers some great suggestions for helping a shy dog gain confidence.


If your canine pal wasn’t properly socialized, this may very well be the reason for his bashfulness. You can still help Fido work through his fears, but it will take some time and patience, as socializing is much harder when a dog is past ‘puppyhood’. Start by taking your pooch out and about with you when running errands. Walk him frequently in different areas, so he is exposed to various stimuli. You can also host a ‘doggy party’. Have several people come over to pet your furry pal and pass out doggy treats. Having everyone sit on the floor may also help your nervous canine relax.

Enlisting Aid

If your canine buddy is afraid of people, try to determine whether it is any one specific gender, age, or ethnicity that frightens him. Then, see if you can get a friend from that group to help. If Fido is afraid of men, for instance, have a male in your household feed and walk him. Always follow each interaction with positive reinforcement, such as a treat or play session.

Doggy Help

If your furry pal is afraid of other dogs, you may need to enlist the help of a canine friend. Pick a pooch with a calm demeanor to be Fido’s first doggy friend. A small, friendly dog is a good choice. As your furkid gains confidence, you can begin introducing him to dogs of various sizes and ages.


Obedience classes are great for shy dogs. Once your pooch understands that mastering new tricks and commands means praise and treats, he may begin to enjoy learning and gain some doggy confidence.

Sometimes fear may cause a dog to act aggressive. If your dog shows any hints of aggression, consult your vet or a professional dog behaviorist before proceeding.

Do you have any questions about your dog’s care? Please contact us any time! As your Indianapolis vet clinic, we are happy to help!

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