Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Building Confidence

It's no secret that when we first brought Tess home she was a nervous dog.  After some serious crate training, she began to be able to relax at home.

But in new situations, she still lacked confidence.  She had next to no social skills and other dogs made her nervous, even though she really liked the idea of meeting them.

So we began taking her to Mud Puppies for social hour.  For the first few months, she hid under the chairs - the bigger dogs were just too scary!  After talking about how much she liked my neighbor's cat, it was suggested that Tess try out "Yippy Hour" for smaller dogs.

This was a great fit!  It allowed Tess to work on her social skills and confidence around other dogs while staying in her comfort zone.  That, paired with weekly outings to social hour, were a great prescription for Tess's confidence!

A year later, we brought home Edison, who definitely stretched Tess in new ways.  He taught her how to play, gave her a great tolerance for rude dogs, and showed her the joy of a squeaky toy.

We'd love to get Tess into the agility class we took Ed to for even more confidence-boosting activities.

Do you have a timid dog?  How did you build her confidence?


  1. It sounds like you're doing some awesome things to help Tess. Dottie is similar, she can get really nervous but it doesn't seem to happen all the time, so I'm working with her on walks getting her to check in when I think she's going to have a melt down. So far it's slow going but I think she'll catch on.

  2. That's awesome, she looks so peaceful in that last photo! Kaya & Norman are pretty confident though Norman really likes to play with little dogs and giant dogs. I think social hour sounds great, a lot better than a dog park for a timid pup:)

  3. As the mama of a nervous dog (Turk), we have done countless training activities to help ease his fears. Our trainer told us that one of the best things we can do for Turk is taking him on daily walks. We started making a point to do this last week and I think it is helping a lot! We are also going to enroll him in a fearful dog class and an agility class!