Shy & Fearful Dogs

When helping dogs, it’s important to be aware that some might never have been in a home environment before; others might have suffered previous abuse. It takes patience and a kind hand and heart to gain the trust of a shy or fearful dog – but the love of this pet companion can be worth the extra effort. Here is some information that should help in the transition of your new family member.

Bringing A Shy Dog Into Your Home

It may take your new pet a few days to settle in; during this time his appetite may be decreased. If your pet is not eating in the first few days, do not be concerned. After three days, if he is still not eating, try to mix in some wet food.

Some of our animals may have never been in a home before. She may be hesitant to go through doorways and go up stairs. To help her adjust, start her in one room of your home and slowly introduce her to new rooms. It is important for you to give her space the first few days. Give her time to explore on her own.

For potty training, we suggest using a 30 ft. training lead in the back yard or on walks. Even if your backyard is fenced, your new pet may be frightened to re-enter your home, so keep him on the lead to help him back into the home. It may help you to also use the 30 foot leash if you are walking him for potty breaks. This gives him enough room to feel comfortable going to the bathroom with you there. Some dogs may not understand their walk is their potty time.

Make sure you have the collar and leash securely attached before you open any doors. Collars can easily slip over a dog’s head if too loose. Consider using a Martindale collar. We do sell them at ADL. Others have them too. Always have a good grip on your leash; there can be many things that may scare your new pet on walks.

Be very watchful of children around your new shy dog. In a time of fear, dogs have two options: fight or run. If a child corners a shy dog, or takes away her option to run, she may bite. To avoid any possible incidents, make sure to always supervise when children are with a shy dog.

Have all members of the family be prepared to give small treats to your new pet, and reward your dog every time he comes to sniff or say hi. This will help your new pet feel comfortable with all members of your family.

Pacing and circling can be expected the first few days. These are signals your dog just hasn’t quite settled in yet. This should go away as she becomes more comfortable.

It is a good idea to give your new dog a crate. Don’t shut the door; just make it nice and comfy inside with food treats and a bed. He may want a quiet place he can go.