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dog, puppy, golden doodle

Having a dog that’s shy or timid can be quite concerning. Well, for me it is. Sometimes that shyness can trigger some nervous energy when facing a new experience, and might cause your dog harm or to harm others.

As my dogs grew I’ve learned that games can actually help build their confidence. Apart from the fact that I was spending quality time with my dogs, the games we did made them less scared and less hesitant. I just had to make sure to keep everything on a positive tone.

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Games will help keep your dog busy physically and mentally. It will help ease any trauma that he’s had that’s causing the shyness or timid behavior. Here are some games that will help build your pooch’s confidence.

Shaping games

This is basically allowing your dog to react on an item and praising him for every behavior he exhibits. The game’s goal is to let your dog become more comfortable with showing behavior or reactions.
First off you’ll need a box, a bag of treats, time and patience. Just put the box on the floor and let your dog discover the box. Do not give him any commands or try to get him to pay attention to the box. Just leave the box for him to discover.
Observe him, when you see him showing any behavior like sniffing or checking out the box give him a treat. Give him a treat for every behavior he exhibits. This will allow your dog to be more expressive with his behaviors and reactions.

Find it

This game, for me, is a lot of fun and it helps sharpen your dog’s sniffing ability. From the name of the game you’ll have a good idea of what it entails.
You start off by letting him sit in front of you and give him the command to stay. Then walk away a little and let him show where you are placing the treat. Then give the command to find it. Praise him when he finds it.
Once he gets the hang of the game, you can take it up a notch. After giving the command to stay, hide the treat and don’t let him see where you placed it. When you give the command to find the treat he will have to sniff around to find it. You can do more than one treat at this point. Praise him when every time he finds a treat.

Target game

This game will help your dog to not be afraid or intimidated by “the hands”. All you’ll need are treats and your hands.

Hold up your hand with your palm facing your dog. Let your dog sniff, lick, or touch your hand using his nose. If he does any of those give him a treat. Then do the same with the other hand.
Once he’s comfortable with the routine, say the word “touch” the same moment he does the same. Then praise him and give him a treat. Do this repeatedly until he becomes comfortable with the command.

Trick exercises

This one, I know you know how to do. There are a lot of simple trick you can teach your dog. And I can help boost his confidence as well.Just make sure to start off with simple tricks and always use positive reinforcement. Yelling at your dog and punishments won’t help, those might actually make your dog more shy and anxious.

There are a lot more games you can use. Just make sure to use praise and rewards system rather than punishments.

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