We've all heard this and it can be true for ladies too! And....absolutely for dogs! Especially fearful or shy dogs!
When a fearful or shy dog arrives here at the rescue, my very first goal with that dog is to get it to take a treat from me. Getting a dog to take a treat is the first step of many to come. You can build on a dog taking treats and it will help the dog understand the concept of a reward for doing what is asked.
Many fearful or shy dogs will not take a treat from your hand. Some will not even eat a treat in your presence. You will have to start from where ever that dog is at the moment. The dog decides the process.
Here are the steps starting at the very beginning: (Feel free to skip steps if your dog is past that point.)
- Use a treat that has a good strong smell and that dogs generally love such as cheese chunks, hotdogs, peanut butter, lunch meat, etc. I've even used bacon!
- Set the treat down in front of the dog and leave the area. When the dog passes that first step by eating the treat move ahead...
- Set the treat down in front of the dog and move away but stay within sight of the dog. Do not look at the dog.
- Set the treat down in front of the dog and move away but stay within sight. Watch the dog eat the treat.
- Set the treat down in front of the dog and move to where you were but move foward one or two steps. Watch the dog eat the treat. Repeat this step until you are very near the dog.
- Set the treat on the very tips of your fingers and offer it to the dog.
Do not get discouraged. To get a fearful or shy dog to eat out of your hand can take as little as a day and as much as months. It depends on how frightened the dog is and also depends on if someone has ever "tricked" the dog by offering it a treat. Be patient. This is one of the most important steps. It establishes a beginning trust and it shows the dog that you are providing for it. Don't move to the next step until you have successfully achieved a step.