The BIG Mistakes People Make When Training A “Shy Dog”

The BIG Mistakes People Make When Training A “Shy Dog”

As a dog parent, nothing is more exciting than bringing home a new furry friend. However, when that furry friend is shy or timid, your responsibilities as a parent change. Training a shy dog can be difficult, frustrating, and at times, seem impossible. It requires patience, understanding, and a different approach than training an outgoing, confident dog.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the big mistakes people make when training a shy dog. We’ll also provide helpful tips to avoid these mistakes and set your shy dog on a path to success.


Shy dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and breeds. They may be nervous around strangers, fearful of loud noises or sudden movements, or afraid to leave the house. As frustrating as it may be, shyness is a natural disposition in dogs and requires specialized treatment to overcome.

Training a shy dog requires patience, empathy, and a deep understanding of dog psychology. It’s essential to avoid making common mistakes that could cause further harm and anxiety to your furry friend.

Let’s dive into the most significant mistakes people make when training a shy dog.

Mistake #1: Using Punishment as a Teaching Tool

Many inexperienced dog owners believe that punishing their dog for bad behavior will teach them to behave correctly. In reality, punishment can cause more harm than good, particularly for shy dogs. Punishing your shy dog may make them more anxious and lead to behavioral issues down the road.

Tips: Instead of Punishing Your Shy Dog

  • Positive reinforcement is the way to go with your shy dog. Reward them for good behavior with treats, praise or playtime.

Mistake #2: Not Considering the Dog’s Perspective

When training a shy dog, it’s easy to get caught up in our expectations and forget about the dog’s perspective. A shy dog may be afraid of strangers or new environments, making obedience training more difficult.

Tips: Training a Shy Dog with Empathy

  • Consider your dog’s perspective and begin by making gradual adjustments.
  • Take baby steps toward progress. Small steps can lead to big wins.

Mistake #3: Inconsistency in Training

Consistency is crucial in dog training, particularly for shy dogs. Inconsistent training may cause them to become confused or anxious and regress in their progress.

Tips: Consistent Training for Shy Dogs

  • Set regular training sessions daily or weekly (depending on your dog’s personality and schedule).
  • Keep sessions short, so the dog doesn’t get overwhelmed.

Mistake #4: Not Seeking Professional Help

If you’re struggling to facilitate progress with your shy dog or your dog’s anxiety is getting worse, it may be time to seek support.

Tips: Professional Dog Trainers

  • Professional dog trainers can work with you and your dog to address specific behavioral needs.
  • They can create a training program tailored to your dog’s personality, including behavior modification techniques and exercises.

Mistake #5: Lack of Patience

Perhaps the biggest mistake people make when training a shy dog is a lack of patience. Shy dogs may require longer training periods and may need more time to progress than other dogs.

Tips: Patience is Key When Training a Shy Dog

  • Remember to be patient with your furry friend when training.
  • Progress may be slow, but it’ll be worth it in the end.


Training a shy dog isn’t an easy feat, but it’s possible with patience, empathy, and the right tactics. Avoiding common mistakes like using punishment as a teaching tool, not considering the dog’s perspective, inconsistency in training, not seeking professional help, and a lack of patience will set you and your furry friend up for success.

As a shy dog parent, it’s vital to remember that progress takes time. With perseverance, positive reinforcement, and a supportive environment, your furry friend will flourish no matter how shy they may be.


  1. What is the best way to train a shy dog?
  • Positive reinforcement is the best approach for shy dogs. Reward them for good behavior with treats, praise, or playtime.
  1. Why shouldn’t I punish my shy dog?
  • Punishing a shy dog may make them more anxious and lead to behavioral issues down the road.
  1. Should I seek professional help with my shy dog?
  • If your shy dog’s anxiety is getting worse or you’re struggling to facilitate progress, seeking professional help may be necessary.
  1. How often should I train my shy dog?
  • Regular training sessions, daily or weekly (depending on your dog’s personality and schedule), are crucial for consistent progress.
  1. How long does it take to train a shy dog?
  • Progress with shy dogs may be slow, but it’s important to remember to be patient and celebrate progress, no matter how small.