Shy dogs are often that way because they do not have a high degree of self-confidence. As a result, they do not get the most fun out of their days. If you suspect your dog to be shy, here are two games to improve your dog’s confidence.

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The First of the Two Games Is A Non-Traditional One

The goal of “targeting” is to make your dog touch an object using their nose. While it is not considered as a traditional dog game, you can nonetheless use this activity for the purpose of improving your pet’s confidence level. The best part about this game is that you can play it with your dog in all sorts of situations and places.

Here is how to go about this game:

  • Gather your supplies; mostly kibble and sumptuous treats.
  • Raise your open hand in your dog’s direction, with your open palm directly facing them.
  • As soon as they touch, lick, or sniff your hand, give them a treat and some encouraging words of praise.
  • Repeat the process with your other hand.
  • Once your dog gets the “touching” concept, incorporate the command “touch” by voicing it out right before your dog sniffs, touches, or licks your hand.
  • Repeat the process until your dog responds to your “touch” command.
  • Once your dog has picked up on your verbal “touch” cue, take your targeting game outside where distractions are aplenty.
  • After introducing the game outdoors, the next on your to-do list is to introduce the game with your friends, family members, and neighbors as participants.
  • Cue your dog to touch their hands and if they respond accordingly, give your dog some treats and encouraging words of praise.
  • As soon as you notice your dog is now comfortable touching the hands of your friends, family members, and neighbors, it is time to involve strangers in the game.

Getting your dog to touch the hands of consenting strangers will go a long way in terms of building their confidence. What it teaches them is to not be afraid of whatever is unknown, new or strange to them.

dog, friendship, nature

Tug of War

Interactive play is one of the surest ways to boost your dog’s confidence. One of the most popular interactive dog plays is tug-of-war. This game is quite convenient since it does not require a lot of space. You can play it indoors and still have fun.

Here’s how to go about this game:

  • Choose a sturdy object, such an elongated dog toy.
  • Hold one end of the object while letting your dog bite on the other end.
  • Tug on the object/resist your dog’s pull.
  • Don’t forget to let your dog win (you’re doing this for their confidence boost after all)

Contrary to popular belief, tug-of-war will not make your pup aggressive. Moreover, letting your dog win from time to time does not equate to you teaching them how to be dominant. If anything, this game can help your shy pup recover whatever confidence they might have lost.

Research has further documented that playing tug of war with your dog can make them more docile. This means that even if they become tug-of-war champions, your dog will still follow your orders. It is one of the best two games to improve your dog’s confidence.

puppy, tug-o-war, lab
trainer24 (CC0), Pixabay
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As Wife, Mother of 5, and Nana of many more, I have known and loved many dogs who were treasured members of our family. My education, experiences in showing, breeding, and developing pedigree-based breeding programs for others gives me a strong background upon which to base articles of interest to most dog lovers. However, it is my great love for dogs that gives me the passion to share them with other dog lovers.


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