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Nervous Dogs

One of the most tragic sights for an owner is to see their dog look anxious, nervous or scared. The dog not understanding the world can become overwhelmed with all the stimuli and as a result exhibit many unsettling behaviours.

I have seen nervous dogs behaviours manifest in a variety of ways such as choosing to spend large amounts of time on their own, to dogs that pant heavily and hide once a visitor comes in the house to dogs that freeze outside and cannot function. The reason why a dog will become nervous is due to an uncertainty of their environment.

A Staffordshire Bulll Terrier who is nervous of visitors

Helping nervous dogs


As the dog will never be able to make complete sense of what is going on, they need us to show them. Whatever the issue is be it scared of other dogs, visitors or going outside the first thing to do is  identify when the dog believes it to be a problem.

Once you understand what the dog is scared of then you can identify the point in which it feels safe and build the information in slowly at the dogs pace. For example if a dog is scared to go outside ask yourself is he okay when I open the front door? If his state rises and he appears scared when the front door is opened then work needs to be done in that area to make him feel comfortable before moving on.

Case study

A lady from Camden North London called me in to help with her nervous Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Rosie who was nervous at the sight of visitors. Rosie would pant heavily and her ears would go back when someone entered the room. People who saw Rosie would go up to her to tell her everything was okay. Rosie did not understand the visitors intentions and as a result she became more fearful .

I instructed the owner to have one person round at a time and for them to stay away from Rosie and not look at her. Overtime many people came in the house and Rosie saw they were not a threat. Once Rosie’s confidence grew the owner would then ask their visitors to call Rosie over. Through many lessons with a non-confrontational language Rosie finally worked out that visitors were not a threat. Once Rosie understood this the foundations were set to for the owner to take a step forward by going outside.

For help with your dogs behavioural issues go to information on consultations/ hands on training and a dog sitting/training service. Dog Training in London covers the North, South, West, Central and East London areas.

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