Meeting Maggie on this week’s ‘For the Love of Dogs’ has got us thinking about how we can help our nervy pooches feel more confident. Just like humans, our four-legged friends can be worriers. Some are particularly upset by loud noises, and some get scared when faced with unfamiliar people and new canine pals. Others may simply be shyer and more cautious on a day-to-day basis. Whilst Maggie’s case was extreme and will certainly require expert care, there are some minor adjustments you can make to help your nervous dog feel more self-assured.
Here are 4 Top Tips to help your nervous dog feel a little more bowl-half-full:
1. Consider a training programme
There are numerous training programmes across the UK which can help to build and boost your pet’s confidence. Some use techniques like counter-conditioning and desensitisation whilst others focus more closely on improving dog-owner relationships. It can be difficult to decide which style of training to choose (e.g. one-to-one or class based) and what sort of trainer you should pick for your dog’s unique needs.
We’d recommend going to watch a class and meeting the potential trainer without your dog in tow before signing up. That way, you’ll get a feel for whether this is the appropriate training style and set-up for your pet and you’ll avoid putting your nervous dog in a situation which may stress them out unnecessarily.
2. Learn the signs of nervousness in your dog
Every dog is unique. We love this about our pets and enjoy discovering new quirks and personality trains in our pooches. However, these differences can make spotting the signs of nervousness somewhat tricky. Whilst some dogs may display the more obvious signs like shaking, tucked in tails, and hiding, others may indicate their nerves in a subtler manner with wide eyes, yawning, and turning away. It’s important to take notice of the physical symptoms of your dog’s nervousness as it will help you to remedy the situation moving forward.
Here’s a link to our article to read more about spotting the signs of an anxious dog.
3. Never punish a nervous dog
Punishing your dog for being nervy will only make things worse. Dogs are very empathetic creatures; they’ll pick up on your mood, especially if you are visibly stressed out. Remember that putting pressure on your pooch to be confident can also be a form of punishment. Building confidence takes time, so don’t punish your dog by pushing them into stressful situations before they’re ready and be mindful to remain calm and collected regardless. Give your dog time and space to be brave – it will be worth it in the end!
4. Try a natural calming supplement
Calming supplements are not just for hyperactive dogs, they can also help nervous dogs by making them feel more relaxed and at ease with their environments. The natural ingredients in YuCALM can help to support healthy brain function whilst maintaining the hormones responsible for happiness. This sort of calming supplement is something which can be enjoyed regularly to help your pooch to tackle their nerves and be more confident every day.
We really hope that Maggie on ‘For The Love of Dogs’ combats her nerves and overcomes her anxiety! All dogs deserve to be in happy homes with loving, caring owners. Remember to keep these top tips in mind if your pooch is struggling with nerves so that they can feel more confident, contented, and relaxed.
Watch ITV’s ‘For the Love of Dogs’ every Wednesday on ITV at 8pm.