Training A Timid Rescue Dog: The Best Ways For a Happy Pet!

Adopting rescue dogs is such a beautiful experience, with a lot to learn in the long run! I know I have a lot of fun with my rescue dogs today, and sure they don’t have a specific breed, but they still are beautiful with loving hearts. But did you know that prior to who they were today, they were very shy?

This can make socialization and training a bit difficult because of their fear and lack of confidence. Fortunately, training a timid rescue dog IS possible and if done right, you can enjoy a lifetime with an active and affectionate pet. So if you’re trying to break the shyness loose, read on as I talk about how to train your rescue dog.

Training A Timid Rescue Dog
Girl with her dog at a beach during sunset.

Training a Timid Rescue Dog

I think as expected, most rescue dogs tend to be very timid and fearful. After all, they are going into a whole new environment with different people, and it would be quite intimidating for them! With that in mind, you should try following these steps to keep your dog at ease and trained well:

1. Earning Their Trust

The absolute priority, once your rescue dog is with you, is earning their trust. How can you train a dog who’s too fearful or doesn’t trust their owners? They won’t obey just anyone, and most likely, they will shy away from the interaction.

To earn your dog’s trust, you need to show your dog that if something they fear happens, it will be okay since you’re there. Don’t force your dog to come to you, but give them space until they’re ready to go to you. During this time, have positive and calm energy to encourage your curious dog to learn more about you.

2. Build Confidence Over Dominance

Yes, it’s important to show that you are the alpha of the family to prevent your dog from feeling dominance. BUT, that doesn’t mean you want to build dominance over their confidence. He needs to realize that you are the alpha WHILE staying confident.

To do so, you can introduce your dog to different people, dogs, and situations for him to observe. It’s best to show him small and new things daily, like walking on busy streets or making friends in the dog park. Stay calm and assertive while doing so, looking positive for your dog to trust the newness.

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3. Give Them Treats and Rewards

If you want your dog to follow what you say, then you need to provide the positive reinforcement to help them out. This is where treats and praises come along, encouraging him to follow commands.

Put out a few treats on your hand and give your dog a few when he comes near, teaching him that you can be trusted. Praise him with a “good boy/girl” when he comes near you again, which can replace treats.

Through rewarding good behavior with treats and praises, they will admire and trust you even more. This helps develop their behavior AND training.

dog abandoned waiting for a home
Dog behind bars – abandoned waiting for a home.

4. Introduce Them To New Experiences Gradually

When you have established your relationship a bit and see that your rescue dog has grown in experiences, then it’s time to teach him new experiences. This prevents your dog from being bored or reaching a plateau in his development.

If you spot a pet-friendly event or discover a new dog park, try to take your dog with you and introduce the beauty of the outside world. As he continues to master unfamiliar stimuli and feelings, he begins to grow his confidence.

You’ll need to devote your time, effort, love, and patience when helping your rescue dog. Never give up!

5. Exercise the Right Discipline

Training your dog isn’t all about treats and beautiful experiences. There will be times that your dog will behave badly and that you’ll need to discipline him right. Spanking or physical abuse is NOT the way here.

Instead, discipline using words and not violence, using sharp sounds such as “HEY”, or “NO”. This will signal that he did something wrong and to stop.

When training him not to bite, grab his snout and give out a sharp “NO.” If he doesn’t follow commands taught, continue to talk sternly and repeat the command without losing your composure. Patience is key here!

Check out this video for more help:

Wrapping It Up

Training a timid rescue dog can be a bit exasperating but with patience, love, and effective methods, you can have them feel at home and learn the ropes! That way, you’ll have an amazing rescue dog who will love her owners and the animals around her. Just remember to stay patient and always use positive reinforcements to prevent taking steps back.

I hope this article on training a timid rescue dog helped you out! So don’t wait any longer and begin following these efficient training tips today.

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