Helping Your Shy Puppy Come Out of Their Shell
1. Repeatedly telling a shy puppy "it's okay" when they are uncertain about something is not recommended as it can reinforce their fearful behavior, rather than encourage them to be more confident.
2. Continuously picking up a fearful puppy can strengthen their fear response. Instead, it is better to demonstrate to the puppy how to act in the situation by encouraging them to keep moving forward while being on a leash.
3. You can train your puppy to focus on you by using a marker word like "Ready?" and rewarding them for making eye contact.
One way to do this is through the "Ready? Get It!" Game, where you use the marker word to grab their attention and then reward them for maintaining eye contact with you.
4. Rather than making excuses that your puppy is a rescue and shouldn't be pushed to do things they don't want to do, it is better to guide them to walk on new surfaces or in new areas.
By doing this, you can help them gain confidence and overcome their fear, rather than perpetuating it.
To lead your puppy, you can use food, body language, and your own confidence. It is important to remember that just because your puppy stops, it doesn't mean you should stop as well. Your puppy is relying on you to show them the way, so it is important to keep moving forward and guide them with patience and encouragement.
5. Every action, or inaction, is a choice. You have the option to either allow your puppy to be consumed by fear or guide them through baby steps in the right direction.
It is important not to use the excuse of your puppy being a rescue to avoid taking action and allowing fear to persist. You can adopt a playful approach to help your puppy become calm, confident, and loving without feeling embarrassed or guilty.