How Dog Training Can Relax Your Dog

If your dog is uncomfortable with strangers, jumps at sudden movements, or shows fear at ordinary everyday occurrences, you may be concerned that his life is not as enjoyable as it should be. There are a number of dog training methods you can use to overcome his fears, but caution is needed. Going about things the wrong way can do more harm than good.

Signs That Your Dog Is Nervous

You may not realize that your dog is shy or nervous until you contrast his behavior with that of other dogs. Signs that your pet may be less confident than he should be include:

  • His tail low down or between his legs.
  • Urinating in the house, although house-trained.
  • Hiding away, or withdrawing.
  • Trembling, or rigid muscles.
  • Eyes wide, with pupils dilated and whites of eyes showing.
  • Destructive behavior such as chewing.

If your dog is also aggressive and dangerous, this is not something you can handle yourself — you need professional help. For milder forms of nervousness, however, dog training and socializing can make a difference.

What Causes Nervousness?

There are a number of reasons why dogs might exhibit nervous tendencies.

  • Sometimes they may have experienced abuse by a previous owner.
  • Occasionally, a dog may have been deliberately trained to be wary of humans, for instance for use as a guard dog.
  • Most often it is due to inadequate socializing in the first four months, when a pup should be exposed to positive experiences in a wide variety of environments.

How You Can Help Your Dog

Although you can never get those first four months back, it is not too late. There are some types of dog training you can use to help your dog become more confident. As well as helping him to enjoy his life, it will help you to enjoy being with him.

  • When you know which situations trigger the signs of nervousness in your dog, try to avoid those situations. In dog training you should never push your dog towards one of these situations, and never use a treat to lure him towards them. This could simply result in his becoming nervous of treats.
  • If the fear is of visitors to your house, ask your visitors to ignore the dog, not to try to be friendly, as this will make him more nervous. Once the dog no longer reacts to visitors, ask a friend now and again to drop a treat casually in front of him and walk away without making a fuss of him. The dog should gradually come to realize that visitors are not a threat.
  • Other dogs can be a big help in dog training, as dogs imitate other dogs. If you have a friend with a well-adjusted dog, arrange for the two dogs to have play sessions together, and your dog should soon start to absorb the other dog’s confidence. Make sure their initial introduction to each other is on neutral ground, such as the park, and only bring the second dog to the house when the two know each other well.
  • Establish a stable dog training regime, especially for regular exercise. Exercise is especially important for nervous dogs, as it releases endorphins in their brain.
  • Spend 30 minutes a day massaging your dog, and use aromatherapy oils.
  • Your dog will respond to calming, soothing music — it will really relax him.

Dog Boarding

If the time comes when you have to go away, you may wonder about dog boarding. Many experts say that dog boarding is not appropriate for a nervy dog, and in fact is cruel. However, if dog boarding is your only option, choose your kennels carefully. Some kennels do have special pens for nervous dogs. Above all, ensure that your dog will be in a pen which does not face directly on to other dogs’ pens.

It takes time to help your dog overcome his problems, so don’t expect a quick fix. You will need a lot of patience in your dog training, as you are trying to change established and deep-seated responses. If you only help him relax more around strangers and find the world a less stressful place, you will have made his life happier and it will have been worthwhile.

By Robert Gold

Robert Gold, an avid blogger in the pet industry and author for Paradise 4 Paws. Paradise 4 Paws is a luxury boarding facility that offers luxury pet boarding in Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth.  For more information on what Paradise 4 Paws has to offer, be sure to visit our website or stop by.

By Guest Author

Puppy Education is a site dedicated for dog owners on how to train and look after their puppy. If you have a puppy and would like to share your own experiences and knowledge, you can write for Puppy Education.