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Overly Timid Dog

I have a year old mixed, male dog. He has been neutered. The problem is that he is timid and easily frightened of noises and sudden movements, to the extent that he does not play.

He goes around with his head down in an overly submissive way. I know of no abuse, but how do I get "Bo" to open up and be a happy young guy, playful and energetic? Thanks.


By Nelwyn from Bunkie, LA


Overly Timid Dog

Is Bo a rescue dog and you don't know his background? I think what you need is a combination of desensitization and confidence building. If you're able to watch the "Dog Whisperer" or "It's Me or the Dog" TV shows, they often show techniques. The big thing I've learned is to not give affection when the dog is in an anxious state because it reinforces the behavior which is the opposite of what you intend it to do.

The other main point they talk about is to be sure your dog sees you as a competent leader so the dog doesn't have to worry and take over that leadership roll. There are also books available that may have more suggestions. Best of luck. (08/23/2009)

By merlene

Overly Timid Dog

Love, love, love, and more love! (08/23/2009)

By sanmer25

Overly Timid Dog

My dog was doing this until I started taking him to Doggy Day Camp at PetSmart every few weeks. It's just he and I most of the time and he needed to be around other dogs and people. I'd check on him and he'd be in the corner huddled down. Now he loves it and he loves being around the other dogs. Also, I take him to PetSmart every Saturday or Sunday to just walk around. There is always a lot of people there and he gets a lot of petting. The people working there know him by now and he gets a lot of attention. This helps my dog tremendously. (08/23/2009)


By TXBetty

Overly Timid Dog

He is just a baby and you need to understand that. What he needs is a lot of attention. Talk and play with him a lot. You will be surprised at how much they understand what you're talking about. Maybe he need a companion. I have 2 pugs, a male and female, and they are so happy together. By the way, the male is 12 and the girl is 9, father and daughter. (08/23/2009)

By joeythepug

Overly Timid Dog

Another possibility is that if you are giving him mostly dry cereal foods, his nervous system is shot. There is way too much sodium/salt in the avg. blend, so the salt makes them oversensitive to everything from light to sound and touch. Add egg and tuna to the diet twice a day at first, then once a day alternating with dry cereal thereafter. I'll bet it will make a world of difference.


Also, sit down on the floor with a quiet, slow, gentle voice and touch with the dog. Let him sniff around, since that is how they are made. Don't wear colognes or spray deodorant inside and leave him there to breathe it, because it contains Formaldehyde, which could be slowly poisoning him.

Try mixing a bit of Milk Thistle herb from the health food store into his food, and watch to see if his stools are darker, indicating he might have been poisoned and the poison pooled in his liver before the Milk Thistle began to cleanse it. Do this one time a week at first, then every other week for a month, then stop. It should do the trick, if not too late.

Avoid canned dog foods at all costs! Make certain that he has a large bowl of clean water every day and lots of newspaper near him to use when he needs to go.


Praise him for everything he does right:"Good dog/boy/girl Pee-Pee on paper", -or- " food", -or- "...drink water". Use the fewest words the same way every time. Pat his head and rub his back with each praise.

If he is left at home during the day you MUST make time to take him outside for a few minutes before you leave in the morning, then about a 15-20 min. walk (AND PLAY on a leash, to sniff, exercise, and get fresh air when you arrive home) allowing him to EAT GRASS, which is what many animals eat when ill but only from a field or unkept yard because they are not likely to use pesticides.

If you live in an apt. he may be getting pesticide poisoning because the apt. mgr. made you agree to and sign permission for you to allow them to come into your apt. when you are not there to spray for bugs. He may also have eaten a poisoned bug from somewhere.


Canned dog food is unfortunately made from diseased dead animals, period! Better to buy him plain tuna, chicken, and microwave hamburger with a little salt for taste, than to lose him as I did with my last two good breeds before I learned this.

You can also share a little of whatever you eat, if not spicy, to see if he bonds better with you for sharing, and if he likes other foods. Never give him anything sweet, alcoholic, or preserved like hot dogs or bologna, unless that's all you have, but not regularly.

Check his teeth to see if he has a bad tooth, mouth sore, or the like. ALSO, go to the health food store regardless and buy "animal Acidophiles" in case he has some kind of urinary infection. It shouldn't take but a few caps to see serious improvement if this is the problem. I'm no vet, just have raised a lot of different kinds of pets over my 65 years. God bless and help you and your dog. :) (08/23/2009)


By lyndagayle62

Overly Timid Dog

Read up on hypothyroidism. There are other symptoms. Our dog became depressed and very inactive. She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which I was told is quite common in dogs. Good luck. (08/24/2009)

By mkymlp

Overly Timid Dog

The very first thing with any behavior is to have a vet check up. Providing a clean bill of health is given, for a timid dog the very best thing is basic obedience classes. I recommend going to a small class where the trainer will let your dog observe as well as participate. As the dog learns and accomplishes new behavior, and you both learn communication skills, confidence grows.

It really helps a dog to know precisely what you are asking for, and it helps to be able to say, I know that, I can do that. Clicker training is the best method of training for dogs with confidence issues. It is probably the best training method anyway, but a timid dog can develop more problems with sterner types of training. (08/25/2009)

By Chiismychi

Overly Timid Dog

My lil doggie, Honey, mourned when his owner (my mom) died. He is now 2 yrs old and finally is tugging back on his tug rope toys. He used to hide under the bed for part of the day. I slowly coaxed him to play with me. He is such a timid lil dog and now he tugs back at toys and loves to play wrestle. He is a poodle mix, not really sure what but adorable. Just lots of love and patience. Oh, my dog loves banana slices and will do just about anything for some. The vet said this was a great treat and canned carrots is another favorite.

My dog now barks at dogs, cats, turtles, any animal on the TV. Some dogs are just shy, I think. This one now is playing lots more and he even plays with his favorite squeaky dog toys alone. He tosses them down from couch and pounces on them and squeaks them and then when he is all done, he hides them under his blanket. It is funny to watch. My boyfriend really helped getting him to be a little wrestler dog. (08/29/2009)

By meoowmom

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