Thanks to everyone who submitted "Good Goldens" questions for Chris McLeod at our fabulous training partner --- The Canine Ranch in Canton, GA.
This month's "Good Goldens" question is regarding excessive shyness with a newly adopted Golden Retriever. Here are some great tips from Chris on what you can do to help out your adopted furry best friend.
I recommend a three phase approach for shy dogs. First -- contrary to what a lot of dog trainers say online -- please don’t take cookies everywhere and ask a million people to touch your dog for a cookie. Instead, take your dog to a million places and let THEM learn that a million people will give them the space they need to learn to adapt to people at their own pace and time. Most dogs won’t eat when they’re stressed anyway, so simply go to as many places as possible and have a good time. Eventually, you both will!
Second, become more active with fun activities that engage the mind AND build confidence. Of course, at The Canine Ranch, we always recommend sports. Nose Work and Agility are our favorites for shy dogs because they seem to instill the most confidence quickly. But if you can’t go to a training center, just teach your shy dog tricks at home. The more they learn, the more confident they will become (just like kids).
And third, remember not to touch them when they’re unsure or shying away from something. Touch is a reward, so you never want to reward an insecure dog. But our human nature wants us to go to that scared dog and stroke it to let them know that we’re a team and we’re “there for them”. The dog sees that body language differently than we do though, so it’s best instead to pick up the leash and go for a walk when the dog is in that low place and showing insecurity. Keep the mind moving forward and they’ll start to feel better about themselves in no time!
Thanks so much, Chris. Do you have any behavioral or training questions you'd like Chris McLeod at The Canine Ranch to answer for assistance with your adopted Golden Retriever? Please submit via GRRA Facebook comments on this post and we'll be happy to pass them along to her for you. Have a Good Golden Day, everyone!