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It is normal for dogs to be scared of new things but how you deal with the fear will make the difference between a well adjusted dog and a dog who is scared of his own shadow. Follow these 5 tips to help your dog bravely face the big world outside the front door.

  1. When encountering something scary let your pup go at his own pace. You may know it’s just the trash truck but in his mind it’s a scary urban monster that is about to eat him!
  2. If he is scared of a new item (or a person), praise him if he moves towards the item. If he stays where he is or backs up, let him do this but don’t talk to him. Many people want to tell their dog that “its okay, the (blank) won’t hurt you.” This is meant to be reassuring but since dogs don’t understand English they think that you are praising them for being fearful.
  3. Do not force him into any situation. It will only confirm to him that the world is not only scary but that you can’t be counted on to protect him.
  4. To help him get comfortable with whatever he is nervous about, you should walk up to the item/person and say hi to it and touch it if possible. It sounds funny to talk to a trash can or hat but if your dog sees you calmly interacting with the “scary monster” it will help him realize that there is nothing to be afraid of!
  5. If he moves forward, praise him, if he stays where he is cont. to ignore him. If he barks, tell him No and then start to ignore him again. Give him 3-5 mins to become familiar with the situation. If he is still fearful after that time, calmly move away from the situation and try again later.