It is very common for a dog to be nervous. Most common things to be nervous of are:
- Social shyness: fear of new or unfamiliar people. Sometimes this can be very specific, like a fear of men with a beard, or children, or other dogs.
- Fear of new situations, places, specific objects (e.g. vacuum cleaner).
- Traffic shy: fear of the sounds and movements of cars in the street.
Nervous dogs may shake or try to hide or run away, but sometimes can also bark and even bite.
When your dog is scared, the best thing you can do to make the fear go away is to… get away from the fear source. Stay calm and take your dog away, to a place where they can feel safe.
Then you can start to help your nervous dog overcome their fear, with mild and gradual exposure.
Try to recreate the situation, but in a controlled manner: introduce your dog to the fear source from a distance, ensuring they remain calm. Use treats to reward your dog when they calm down.
If at any point they are distressed or not coping well then abort the session. Forcing them could make them worse.
Remember that your dog will also react to your emotions, so you must remain relaxed and speak with a confident voice.
Repeat, and come a little bit closer every time. Go slowly, and give them time!
Using an ADAPTIL Calm Home Diffuser or ADAPTIL Calm On-The-Go Collar during the whole process will help your dog feel more confident.