Worried that Fido isn’t feeling safe with you yet and want to make your dog feel more secure?
It’s normal for dogs to be anxious and stressed while they’re adjusting to their new homes.
However, some dogs are naturally timid and shy and might take longer to adapt.
For such situations, I have seven tips on how to make your dog feel safe and sound.
How to make a dog feel secure?
Often owners think that dogs are fearful because of past abuse. While that’s a real possibility, you should also keep in mind that sudden changes also put a lot of pressure on a dog.
Moving from the shelter to a new home is enough to make a dog feel insecure because he is in new territory with people he doesn’t know at all. Even dogs coming from good families are bound to be nervous.
No matter the case, you can take steps to reassure Max that nothing terrible is going to happen to him.
#1 Provide a safe den
First and foremost, to make your dog feel secure you must provide a place where your furbaby can hide when things get too intensive.
For most dogs, a crate works so well because it’s similar to a wild dog’s den – small and protected. While Max is in his crate, he knows that no one will disturb him, and he can rest peacefully.
Other dogs might prefer hiding in the bathroom or under the table. For the time being, you should leave them be. But when you start crate training, you can coax the dog to move to the crate.
#2 Identify the triggers
Fearful and insecure dogs often get scared by different things – loud noises, people with beards, or garbage cans. Usually, that’s the result of poor puppy socialization.
During the first few weeks make a list of all the things your dog seems afraid of or uncomfortable around.
Once you know what your dog’s fears are you can:
- Avoid these things as much as possible to keep your furbaby calm
- Desensitized your pooch to these triggers in the safety of your home
#3 Establish a routine and start training
Dogs hate unpredictability, and any major change in the house is a source of anxiety.
That’s why you must have an established routine and stick to it as much as possible.
Changing things every few days is not going to work well. In fact, it will make your furbaby even more insecure than before.
In addition to this, start obedience training. It builds the dog’s confidence and allows the bond between the two of you to grow strong because you learn to trust each other.
#4 Be a good leader
While the “dogs are pack animals and need a good alpha” theory has been pretty well debunked, dogs still need you to be a good overall “leader.”
In other words, they need you to show them what is expected of them while at the same time showing them that you’ll take care of their needs.
You’re not asserting your dominance so much as showing your dog that you’re a reliable and steadfast companion.
#5 Be consistent
The worst thing you can do for an insecure dog is to be inconsistent because they don’t know what to expect from you in the future.
Set the house rules at the beginning and do not change them.
In addition to this, do not allow certain behaviors just because you’re worried about Max’s reactions.
Jumping on people, chewing on the furniture, peeing on the carpet, for example, will be harder to remedy in the future.
Your dog won’t understand why these things upset you when you’ve been fine with it until now.
#6 Don’t use physical punishment
I know that sometimes it’s hard to keep your temper in check. However, if you want your dog to feel secure you mustn’t use physical punishment.
It might damage your relationship beyond repair and make Max feel insecure and afraid.
Do not acknowledge bad behavior. Sometimes dogs act out in the hopes of getting your attention and your reacting sets a precedent.
Instead, here’s how you can correct your dog:
- Stop paying attention to your dog when he misbehaves
- Use a firm tone of voice (but do not yell)
- Give your dog some time-out by leaving the room
- Correct the behavior using positive reinforcement
#7 Don’t forget about mental stimulation
If your dog doesn’t feel secure when you leave the house and acts out, you might want to provide additional mental stimuli in the form of games or a play buddy.
In addition to this, you might ask a friend to come by your house to check your dog a couple of times.
That’s a good idea only if Max is comfortable being around your friend.
You might also think about leaving the light on if you’re not home at night.
Just like you, your dog is not going to like it if he has to sit in the dark alone all night.
Getting a dog to feel secure at home is a matter of patience.
So, do not force your furbaby into situations when you know that Max is going to react badly.
Wait, and Max will show you when he trusts you enough to take the next step.