Shyness is a behavioral trait that occurs with some frequency in dogs, both in puppies and adults. It can be caused by a lack of imprinting ( imprinting ) with the human being, by some traumatic experience, by poor socialization, or by inadequate education, although genetic inheritance also greatly influences its origin. In cases of lack of imprinting, that is, due to the absence of close contact with human beings during the first two months of life, a deep fear of human beings is produced that can become very difficult to reverse in adulthood. They are usually distrustful, fearful, and insecure dogs, which can have unpredictable reactions such as escape attempts or aggressiveness. In these cases, it is advisable to take these 3 things into account.
Know the cause of your dog’s shyness
In general, these are dogs that are very sensitive to external stimuli such as noise, objects, the proximity of other congeners, or the presence of people who are not family members, since for them they represent situations that they do not control, and immerse them in confusion and anxiety, they are not able to “manage” the daily situations around them, and consequently, it seems that they are always “on guard”.
Overprotection can cause shyness in your dog
Overprotection can also favor a tendency to shyness and behavior with traits of isolation, since dogs that are not allowed contact and play with other congeners (for fear of being harmed, for example) or the interaction with people outside their daily circle, may be less likely to develop healthy and stable social behavior.
Symptoms that your dog is shy
We are talking about a shy behavior that manifests itself in the form of a kind of ‘restlessness’ and constant fear and not specific phobias. A dog with a balanced and sociable character may present some ‘manias’ such as not wanting to step on a floor of a certain color or being disconcerted going down or upstairs, for example. However, in dogs that are shy, signs such as tremors, predilection to hide, sometimes to urinate in the face of any stimulus that worries them, and even, in extreme cases, stop eating can be observed.
Educate him to feel safe
A shy or fearful dog mainly needs trust and we have to work on strengthening our bond. Patience, perseverance, and serenity to help him are essential: yelling or stress only contribute to worsening his situation. Our attitude with him influences a lot since dogs are very perceptive to all the ‘signals’ that we send them.
Many experts recommend a gradual exposure, very little by little, in a soft and natural way to the stimuli or situations that generate anxiety. It is not at all advisable to suddenly ‘face’ their fears without first gaining security and confidence in themselves and in us.
Sport is beneficial for shy dogs
It is more and more common for owners of dogs with problems of shyness, fears and social ‘maladjustment’ to be encouraged to check the therapeutic benefits of practicing sports in which physical exercise is combined with overcoming mental challenges in a safe environment. positive and controlled for the dog. Practicing activities such as Agility, Canicross or Dog Skills can help them progress towards their emotional well-being.
Finally, it is also advisable to seek the advice of professional experts in canine behavior to help us make our friends feel better.