How to Train Your Dog to Be More Confident

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June 27, 2017

DSC06208Some dogs are more shy, timid, or fearful than others. This can be frustrating for new and old owners. Fortunately, there are many actions and techniques that owners can utilize to make their dogs less afraid of their environment and to increase their dogs’ confidence. Pet Peeves, LLC has several tips that can be used by dog owners everywhere. Owners in the Golden or Lakewood areas can also take advantage of Pet Peeves’ Dog Daycare, Dog Boarding, training, and consulting services.

Exposure Your Dog to a Variety of Stimuli

People experience a degree of control regarding what their dog encounters in their home. However, this control can diminish quickly once they cross the threshold into the outside world. A dog’s confidence increases as it is exposed to more things. Take time to expose your dog to a variety of floor textures, toys, food bowls, animals, people, and noises. Regular exposure to different pets and people can be challenging to manage alone. At dog daycare, pets have frequent and regular interactions with a variety of other dogs. The more they attend, the more their confidence increases.

Pet Peeves offers daycare and boarding in the Lakewood and Golden areas, so pets can play all day. Pet Peeves is located in a rural area, so pets have plenty of room to run, play, and explore their new environment. Pet Peeves offers indoor and outdoor facilities so pets can play regardless of the weather. The indoor facility is climate controlled, so pets can have a safe, warm place to rest away from the cold while their owners travel.

Regular Exercise

Exercise can help dogs and their humans manage anxiety and increase confidence. Individuals can help increase their dog’s confidence through regular walks, runs, or regularly scheduled play time. Dog daycare can provide an outlet for extra energy, especially for dogs who would otherwise spend long periods of time at home alone. At daycare, dogs can run and play with a variety of dogs for several hours. This increases their confidence with other animals while simultaneously decreasing their anxiety and stress. Pet Peeves’ kennel and dog boarding fees include daycare, so pets can walk and run their anxious energy away before settling in for the night.

Get Behind Training

Regular training can also help increase your dog’s confidence. Dogs are social animals and look to their owners for directions, signs of safety, and praise. Using positive reinforcement and praising a dog regularly can have significant, positive impacts on its confidence. Training specific commands, such as get behind, can increase a dog’s confidence and provide a safe, alternative behavior in scary situations.

Timid and shy dogs will sometimes instinctively cower behind their owners. If a dog does this already, owners can tie a command to the action. By saying yes and providing a treat, a dog will learn to associate this action with a rewarded behavior. The owner can then start using the command name “get behind,” or their preferred variation in order to teach the dog that when this is said, the dog should get behind them. The owner can then progress to asking the dog to go behind them and sit down. When the owner encounters a situation that he or she knows will result in fearful behavior from the dog, he or she can preemptively tell the dog to get behind them. Dog training is available at Pet Peeves, LLC. Training and practicing this command can be difficult in the cold. Pet Peeves offers a safe and warm environment for dogs to learn and practice this useful command.


Targeting is another training trick that can help decrease dog’s fear of their environment. Targeting involves teaching a dog to touch various objects on command. To teach a dog to target, trainers begin by asking the dog to bump their nose to the trainer’s hand. This is achieved by the trainer placing a treat in their hand. Dogs often learn quickly that bumping the trainer’s hand results in treats. The trainer can then pair this action with a command word, such as target. This command can then be used to ask a dog to touch objects that the trainer touches. There are also dog training programs available for dog owners in the Lakewood and Golden area.

Master Distraction

Sometimes getting a dog to focus on something different is all that he or she needs to feel confident. Owners can carry a squeaky toy, treats, or other safe distractions on walks in order to distract and instill confidence in their dogs. Dogs that are afraid of the vacuum cleaner may be adequately distracted by certain toys or chews. For more information on how distraction can be used to increase a dog’s confidence, you can contact a dog behavior specialist.

Remain Patient

Change does not happen overnight but in small, incremental steps. Patience is key when working with a dog to increase confidence. Dogs read their owners well and can become discouraged by their owners’ reaction. One new trick, one extra walk, or one kennel or daycare visit will not transform a pet. However, consistent and repeated exercise, positive training, use of specific commands, and exposing a dog to a variety of stimuli can help any pet blossom into a confident, proud dog. For more information, be sure to check out Pet Peeves