You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’
- Eleanor Roosevelt
If you have adopted a dog who is extremely nervous, it may be that they have been through a terrible ordeal which makes them see the world as a very scary place. No matter how scared they are, it is possible to help them, and increase their confidence.
When we are dealing with a dog who is very scared or worried about us, or the environment, we have to work out what makes them feel comfortable and let them come out of themselves in their own time.
Perhaps you won’t have read this in dog books, but we often find singing to nervous dogs can really help. If you ignore them, but sing around them, your voice will be relaxed and your body language will naturally relax. We will often make up the most stupid songs, but a sing-song voice can be really helpful to show you’re friendly, and your tone of voice will be non-threatening. It becomes second nature to do it, and you naturally relax without thinking about it. You may feel silly to start off with, but you’ll soon get used to it. We don’t care if humans think we’re mad for singing stupid songs to the dogs as long as it’s the right thing to do for the dogs.
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