4 Effective Tips for Training Your Fearful and Anxious Dog

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4 Effective Tips for Training Your Fearful and Anxious Dog

Most dogs are associated with the characteristics of being very social and fearless, excited at almost every turn. To a certain extent, most dogs do get to that kind of state. However, it can be quite a process for more dogs who are afraid of just about everything.

You may start to wonder what you can do to ease your dog’s anxiety and fears of other dogs, foreign people, and more. And, well, the answer is in training them to get into that state and counter-conditioning them from everything that can make them run away.

It certainly won’t be an easy process as your dog will be much more obedient to their instincts rather than your commands. Yet, slowly, they should be able to listen to you a bit more as you coax them out of their shyness and fearfulness into being completely free.

Here are four tips that can help you with training your little hound.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Some dog trainers may suggest using negative reinforcement like punishments to elicit the reaction that they want from a pup. However, keep in mind that your dog already has their own trauma as is. Don’t add to it while training them to come out of their shell.

Practice doing positive reinforcement instead. Encourage your dogs with treats and praises when they’re able to do something new. That way, they would be able to associate that those acts or movements are equal to good. 

Learn Your Dog’s Triggers

If you haven’t done any checking, try to observe what triggers your dog’s fears and anxiety. Some of the most common contacts with other strangers and pups, while others may just cower because of the sounds or scents that they pick up.

Be conscious of these triggers while training your dog, as well as their reactions at the moment. Your canine may be specifically more sensitive to certain triggers more so than others, so take a mental note of them as well. 

Exercise Patience

Some dog owners may find a lot of progress in a week, but others may take even longer than that. Remember to be patient and understand that your dog is adjusting too. Just like any other form of change, it can take some time.

Slowly exposing your dog to some of those triggers is honestly the best approach so that they’re more or less desensitized in future situations, but keep it gradual and manageable for them. If they can’t handle being in another dog’s presence, keep them at a considerable distance until they seem comfortable to be brought closer. 

Consider Your Dog’s Emotions

Lastly, don’t forget to assess your dog’s reaction all throughout the training. If they’re showing an aversion to an exercise, an object, or another living being, know when to stop pushing it. Pull back and postpone until further notice. 

Be sure to provide the comfort and care that they would need in order to feel calm again. If you don’t like seeing your dogs this afraid or anxious, remember that they probably don’t enjoy feeling this way either.


By applying these tips, you should be able to train your dog to be more outgoing without forcefully dragging them out of their comfort zone. Be as gentle and understanding as possible, and your pup should be able to meet you halfway eventually.

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