When we think of dogs we often picture a happy, social pup who loves everyone and everything. These outgoing dogs are the ones who steal the show at adoption events, and if they’re lucky they get chosen quickly! But let’s not forget about the shy dogs.
A shy dog is slow to warm up to strangers. They may prefer to hide instead of seek out attention, especially in new and loud environments like adoption events. This puts them at a great disadvantage, because potential adopters don’t get to see their true personalities! Shy dogs are amazing dogs, even though they may take some time to feel comfortable with new people.
Here are 3 reasons why you should consider adopting a shy dog, and how you can help them settle in their new home.
1. Give them a chance
A shy dog may not accept pets from you the first time you meet them, and may even run away from you, but that doesn't mean they aren't friendly. Sometimes all it takes is a second meeting for them to decide that you are a friend! Give them that chance to get to know you and you will discover a great dog!
2. Their true personalities will blossom over time
Behind the shy appearance is a dog with a full and amazing personality just waiting to show itself. A shy dog is also silly and playful, smart and athletic, loving and affectionate. Don’t let their shyness prevent you from discovering their true personalities! Give them some time and they will start to come out of their shell.
3. Gaining their trust is very rewarding
When you gain the trust of a shy dog, their happy and enthusiastic welcomes are extra special. You know that you’ve formed a strong bond and that they feel safe around you. Helping a shy dog gain confidence is very rewarding, and you can really transform a dog’s life!
Every shy dog is different and some only need a short amount of time to begin to trust you while others need more help to learn that the world is not that scary. Speak to your local rescues to match with a dog that will suit your family, lifestyle, and experience.
Here are 3 tips to help shy dogs settle more easily.
1. No pressure
Give your dog time to decompress. Even if they are familiar with you, moving to a new place is very stressful. Don’t force any interactions and let your dog go at their own pace. You do not need to focus on obedience, instead let your dog know that they have a choice whenever possible. This will give them a sense of control, and improve their confidence.
Get a dog collar and name tag right away with your contact information on it. When taking your dog on walks use a well-fitted harness and attach the leash to both the collar and the harness. Use two separate leashes if needed. If your dog is nervous outside of the house, walk them in quieter areas or go out when there are fewer people on the street. Even if you are at an enclosed dog park, make sure that the fences are tall enough that your dog cannot jump or climb over them.
3. Give them space
Set up a quiet and comfortable area for your dog and leave them alone. Let them come to you instead when they feel comfortable. When interacting with a shy dog, turn your body to the side and avoid direct eye contact. If they are open to accepting pets, start by petting their chest rather than their head, as the latter can be perceived as a threatening gesture. Some shy dogs do not feel comfortable enough to eat in your presence, so put their food down and give them some privacy.
Adopting a shy dog requires some extra patience, but a shy dog brings so much joy to your life. They help you see the world from a different perspective, and remind you to celebrate all the successes, no matter how small. It may not be the magical “love at first sight moment” you imagined, but watching a shy dog gain confidence and grow to trust you is its own magic!
Read on to find out how to help your dog stay calm.
Whiskers N Paws: Pet shop with a mission to leave a positive paw print! Check out our dog adoption page and meet our furry residents who are looking for their forever homes.