Message Us

Confidence Building In Dogs: An Underrated Training Essential

By TamsinPeachey. | Dog Training

When it comes to training our dogs, the focus tends to be on those all-important obedience skills we use in our everyday interactions with our canine companions. Yet, although these skills are important for the management and enrichment of our dogs' lives, how often do we think about training our dogs to be emotionally resilient?

Emotionally resilient dogs are more likely to avoid long-term behavioural problems and tend to bounce back quicker from negative experiences. They are more relaxed in new environments and willing to explore. They are more confident interacting with others and better able to adapt to change in their daily lives. They are the kind of dogs who are quite happy to say hello to everyone in the pub at Sunday lunch, remain nonchalant in a play park full of screaming children and are un-phased by the over boisterous dog in the park. In summary, they are better able to cope with whatever life throws at them.

To some extent, your dog’s level of confidence will depend on their genetics and overall temperament combined with their early life experiences as a young puppy. However, this does not mean you can’t build confidence in more nervous dogs it just takes a little bit more time and patience. To start with one of the most important things is to build your dogs trust in you. You need to become your dogs advocate so that your dog can always rely on you to keep them safe. This means always being positive, consistent and predictable in the way you interact with your dog and avoiding situations that cause them anxiety. To achieve this in your training, make sure you avoid any punishment as this does not tell your dog what you want them to do and will decrease their confidence. Keep all rules the same across all family members to avoid any anxiety and confusion. Plus keep your responses to your dog’s actions predictable e.g. don’t suddenly get annoyed about things your dog has always done! Being safe and predictable may sound boring but it’s one of the best ways to create a high level of trust between you and your dog.

On the other hand, if your dog is too dependent on you and struggles when you are not around it may be of benefit to teach them to be a little more independent. If your dog has to follow you to the toilet every time then you probably need to instill a little bit of distance in your relationship. Don’t let your dog follow you everywhere all the time. Also, try not to give your dog attention every time they ask for it. Wait until they are settled on their own and then give them a bit of fuss. This will teach your dog that attention isn’t always available on demand and attention is given on your terms when they are settled on their own. Build in a tolerance to periods of separation by waiting until your dog is settled with a chew or food toy in their bed and see if you can leave the room for a few minutes without your dog getting up (for puppies and less independent dogs you will need to remain in sight to begin with). Start by leaving the door open to begin with. However, if your dog follows you, lead them back to their bed, distract them with a food toy or chew and try again but this time return almost immediately. Keep repeating this until your dog shows no interest in you leaving the room. Then increase the time left gradually until you can leave your dog for at least half an hour without them becoming distressed. Start to close the door for short periods when you leave, again building this up to half an hour without causing your dog distress. Once you are at this point, your dog should be able to cope much better at being left on their own

Now you have established yourself as a trustworthy human without allowing your dog to be too dependent start by introducing your dog to new experiences in a positive way. One way to do this would be to introduce your dog to new surfaces, smells or activities whilst using some positive reinforcement as a reward (such as a treat or a game with a toy).

Another great confidence booster is to take part in training activities that involve teamwork such as scent work games or agility. During scent work your dog will look to you for direction but also will learn to move away and search different places. There are lots of different groups, courses and books on scent work games that you can do with your dog that you can easily begin at home.

Agility is another fun way to increase your dog’s confidence by introducing your dog to challenging experiences such as walking across beams, going through tunnels and performing jumps. Some parks even have outdoor logs, tunnels and beams which you can use for free during your regular walks. Wobble boards and other fitness equipment are another low-cost way of introducing your dog to something new. Why not see if your dog can balance their paws on a wobble board or even jump through a hoop? 

If you introduce your dog to new experiences in a positive way then your dog will learn that new experiences are something to be enjoyed rather than feared.

The more positive experiences your dog has, the more you will see their confidence will grow. 

Dog Training and Dog Seat Covers: Cargo, Dog Bed Liner, Bed Cover: 30% Off Premium Seat Covers


Tamsin PeacheyTamsin Peachey

Tamsin is a qualified animal behaviourist having obtained an MSc in Clinical Animal Behaviour from Lincoln University in 2013. In 2017 Tamsin started running Puppy School classes in Solihull, having received tutor training from renowned author, dog trainer and canine behaviourist Gwen Bailey. Prior to running Puppy School Solihull Tamsin spent over two years working at Dog’s Trust gaining valuable experience in caring for and training a wide variety of rescue dogs. In 2014 Tamsin and her husband adopted their own rescue dog, Milo, with whom Tamsin has worked successfully to reduce his reactivity towards other dogs. In addition to dog training, Tamsin enjoys writing articles and resources on the topic of dog behaviour for both professionals and dog owners.

Comments

Signup/Login to post a reply

 

Reviews From 4Knines Customers VIEW MORE »

The best evaluations of our products come from the people who’ve bought them.

Cordura seat cover

Great product. Have them on all my seats to protect them from water sand and nails of from all the dogs that travel with me in my camper van to the beach, rivers and woods.

READ MORE »
peter.kowler

EXCELLENT SEAT COVER

We liked the first cover so much that a few days later we purchased a second one. The cover installs very, very easily, fits and covers the rear seat and the back of the front seats of our Subaru Tribeca perfectly, has flaps that cover the door-side edges of the rear seat, and stays perfectly in place. Spilled or tracked water beads up on the material and can be easily wiped off. At first our dog did tend to slide just a little on the new cover, but he soon learned to stand, sit, and lay just as well as he did before on the uncovered seat. The hammock portion seems like it might provide some little bit of protection in a sudden stop (our guy will chew apart any "doggie seat belt" type of restraint in very short order - so that option is out of the question for us). As to keeping him out of the car front-area - well, our long-legged Standard Poodle has no problem in still looking closely out the front windshield by putting his front feet on the center console - straddling the hammock - with no problem whatsoever. But we did discover that having the hammock in place does allow us to safely keep his water bottle and dish, his leash, and an old towel on the floor under the hammock - where he can no longer get at them (especially the leash and towel) to chew on them. All in all, an excellent seat cover.

READ MORE »
KENNETH MONSEY

My furbabies don't like leather seats!!!! But they love this seat cover!!!

Very hard to find a split bench seat cover at a reasonable price, this one fit the bill. Easy to install, very durable and looks to be easy to clean. Wanted something that would protect the leather seats and was pet friendly (hate it when the material of regular seat covers snags toenails and collars). I don't think I will have to buy another for many years!!!

READ MORE »
Jackie Carter

My Doodle approves!

Received on time, fits great and easy to install. Color is a great match. So far, so good. Durability? Time will tell. It appears to be well constructed.

READ MORE »
Donald Fish

Fits my 2018 VW Tiguan perfectly

Very happy with our purchase. Fits perfectly, was easy to install and keeps the leather seats in our brand new vehicle perfectly clean.

READ MORE »
Chris Campbell

great cover

This is actually a replacement for my original 4 knines cover which was 4 years old. I used it daily (bringing my pup to work with me) and washed it weekly, so the backing finally started to flake apart and come off. This newer version is easier to put over the headrests, great improvement in the strap and closures. Also the best improvement is the side flaps, the old cover didn't have these. These flaps help to catch the dirt from dogs feet when they are jumping up into the car, instead of it going on the side of the seat.

READ MORE »
Diane Breland

Fantastic

This is my 2nd seat cover from 4knines and love them both. The product and service were both fantastic.

READ MORE »
GREG BATEMAN

Repeat customer VERY satisfied.

We have made several purchases from 4Knines and are VERY satisfied with products (cargo liner, back seat cover, bucket front seat cover...). I volunteer at a shelter and take dogs offsite daily. Always a Pleasure doing business with 4Knines. Highly recommend.

READ MORE »
Cristina Jones

4Knines.com

For all general inquiries, please call or email us
Phone: 888.602.2509
Email: support@4Knines.com

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Nothing but the best for your best friend!
© 4Knines. 2017. All rights reserved | Terms | Privacy