Kyra Ensbey and her dog Chilli from Bright Bessy dog training.
Kyra Ensbey and her dog Chilli from Bright Bessy dog training. Rachel Vercoe

Building your dogs confidence

Question: We bought our five month old puppy Molly from the RSPCA, a few months ago. At home she is a confident, playful and enjoys being handled.

If anyone strange visits and tries to be friends, she is terrified, often cringing in a corner.

If ignored, she gets brave enough to sit near me in time and will make eye contact with the visitor.

What can I do to get her confident around strangers?

Answer: Your pup may have become frightened and developed trust issues even before you adopted her.

I am assuming she didn't attend a pup school which needs to happen between the age of eight to eighteen weeks.

This is the period in dogs life during where they gain socialisation skills not only with dogs but other people and when they start to develop confidence and also fear.

If a dogs fears are not addressed, they become exacerbated.

Try providing your dog with a crate and keep it covered except for the door.

Keep the door tied open, this will give her a cave to feel safe in.

Continue to get visitors to ignore her and avoid eye contact with her, they should also make themselves smaller and less threatening by sitting down

You can throw high value treats such as chicken on the floor near her crate when visitors are there so she will begin to associate their presence with something nice.

Be aware that a stressed dog will usually not eat.

There are also calming sprays and plug in diffusers you could use to help her.

For more help with the situation, contact Kyra on 0402 795 716.



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