Confident dogs are healthy, happy, well socialized, react well in new situations, don’t suffer from as much stress, and are more even tempered than fearful, timid dogs. They travel well, don’t flee, are easier to train, and are a joy to travel with. They tend to have less compulsive and destructive behaviors and they rarely bite unprovoked.
To ensure that you begin to build a confident dog, follow these tips:
1. Socialize while young
If you want your puppy to develop into a happy, safe and confident dog socialization is essential. Having a dog that’s fun to live with is a joy to have around your friends and family. Most of us want a dog that’s friendly and relaxed when guests come for a visit, will get along with other dogs, and easily adapts when introduced to unfamiliar situations. Dogs are very impressionable when they’re young and socializing your puppy is the best way to help him learn to take changes in stride and to develop into a dog that everyone enjoys being with.
2. Obedience training
We adore our dogs and can’t imagine life without them, but we all know how obnoxious some of their natural tendencies can be chewing, running outdoors, jumping, digging and barking - all of these and more can make an untrained dog hard to live with. If you want your dog to be safe, happy, good mannered and confident he needs to know what you expect of him. Obedience training gives you the ability to communicate with your dog in a way that he understands and gives him the skills he needs to comply with your wishes, which will enhance the bond between you.
3. Mental stimulation
Teaching your dog tricks and providing mental stimulation for your dog will help him to develop into a confident canine. As your dog learns to master each new trick or solves a new puzzle, you are helping him build his confidence. A great way to mentally challenge your dog is to make him work for his meal by performing commands or feeding him, feed a meal from a dog feeding puzzle, or hide his food and let him find it.
4. Physical exercise
Dogs are meant to be active and a bored dog with excess energy is a recipe for behavior problems. If you want a confident dog, you will need to provide physical exercise which includes free play time, walks and retrieve games.
5. Dog sports
If you want to boost your dog’s confidence and enrich both of your lives, then getting involved in dog sports is a great way to do it. Many of the sports can be enjoyed competitively or just for fun. They’ll satisfy your dogs need for both mental and physical exercise while providing you both with something fun to do together.
Find out more about these exciting activities:
For flyball information: North American Flyball Association: www.flyball.org
For agility information: United States Dog Agility Association: www.usdaa.com
For freestyle information: Canine Freestyle Federation: www.canine-freestyle.org or the World Canine Freestyle Organization: www.worldcaninefreestyle.org
For lure coursing information: American Sighthound Field Association: www.asfa.org/coursing.htm
For Frisbee/disc dog information: The International Disc Dog Handlers Association: www.iddha.com
For tracking information: American Kennel Club: www.akc.org/events/tracking
For herding information: The American Herding Breed Association: www.ahba-herding.org or American Kennel Club: www.akc.org/events/herding
For weight pulling information: International Weight Pulling Association: www.iwpa.net
6. Teach your dog some games
Playing with your dog will enrich your relationship and boost your dog’s confidence as he learns new ways to play that are enjoyable and safe for you both. The games suggested will exercise your dog’s body and satisfy his instinct to grab, chase, search and tug. A few suggestions are: Fetch, Tug-of-war, Chase, Hide and Seek, Round Robin Recalls and Find It!