How to make dog less submissive/nervous?

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by eaubu, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. eaubu

    eaubu New Member

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    I recently rescued a 4 year old Black Lab/German Shepherd. He's such a perfect dog, very polite and sweet. The only problem I have with him is that he's very nervous and submissive. For example, when I call him, his ears go down and his tail goes in between his legs(still wagging), though he still always comes. I have had him for about a month and a half now, and he has come a little ways in gaining confidence around me. He is dominant and playful with most dogs as well. I'd love to see him with his ears and tail up when I call him! How can I achieve that?
     
  2. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    You might want to change the words you use to call him. I'd wait till he starts coming toward you on his own accord and then softly and sweetly use a new word he may not have heard before. Maybe the words you use are words that were used on him before and in not such a nice way. Or...maybe he's just plain submissive anyhow. The wagging in his case is likely an appeasement gesture. Give him a little treat when he comes. Make sure to never use punishment based training techniques on this guy. If you need any specifics on positive reinforcement type training methods, feel free to ask. Clicker training would be really effective with him. (if he's not afraid of the clicker. lol...but there are alternatives to that)

    Will he engage in a tug game? That's a fun game and can build confidence. If he doesn't pull, just take it in baby steps. I think as you work with him more...teaching him some fun obedience tricks, he'll get more bonded to you, more trusting and more confident. Some other fun things to teach are "give," "take," "leave it" "fetch." Or any other thing you think he would like learning. Using a lot of capturing of behavior helps a lot with shy dogs....like when you're teaching him "down," unless he already knows that one? Just wait for the behavior to occur on it's own, mark it with the clicker or "yesssss" and treat. As he starts offering the behavior more and more, then add in a cue...not right off in the beginning of a new behavior.

    Make all lessons a fun game, gentle, never stern and use lots of teensy treats or his favorite toy or game for rewards. Start rewarding him for eye contact. He may be intimidated if you stare at him or if other people do. You can counter condition him to enjoying eye contact if you tie a high value treat to it. Just wait and see if he'll look at you. When he does, give a gentle cue, like, "watch" and immediately give him a treat/praise. (be sure your praise or any play is done in such a way that it is not over whelming. Is he afraid of other people or things out in his environment? Work with him in his comfort zone and gradually desensatize him to other things and people.

    Agility training helps a lot with shy dogs to build confidence. You could set up a few make-shift jumps in your yard or google how to make weave poles or a few other pieces of equipment. Make sure they're sturdy and strong and if you do any boards for him to walk on, start with them right on the ground, not raised...again...baby steps. I don't know how he'd fare at a class. If you think he'd feel comfortable, that might be fun. You know your dog best.

    Give him time. He may also never be super confident. This might be his temperament or he may have not had a good beginning. Do you know his history at all?

    I guess what I'd do is not do too much in an overt way for now...kind of let him warm up to you more on his terms when you can. He sounds like a sweet dog, but building confidence would be good for him.

    Here's something else you might like.
    Book Review : Help for Your Shy Dog
     
  3. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    If you don't have time to do that, then you shouldn't have a dog. And that is simply not true that most people and most dogs are nervous around other dogs also. Since you just want to spam by putting your link on the forum, why don't you just stick to spamming (what you DO know) about your credit cards and forget leaving useless advice about dogs.

    :spam:
     
  4. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    :confused::confused: I'm guessing a post was deleted?
     
  5. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    No, I'm just having one of those deluded moments...you know...where I hear voices in my head.:rofl1:
     
  6. darkchild16

    darkchild16 We are Home.

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    LOL there was some crazy credit card guy trying to give dog advice LOL
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    That was my next guess. :lol-sign:
     
  8. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    I was wondering where they went.

    Gimme back my voices!!
     
  9. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I knew they sounded familiar...couldn't put my finger on it. Hahahahaha!
     
  10. AGonzalez

    AGonzalez Not a lurker

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    Because you weren't wearing your tin-foil hat, for shame! :rofl1:
     

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