Strawberry was a very shy dog at the shelter. Her new owners renamed her Ruby. We had her here for a few days until her travel arrangements were made. One thing I always try to impress upon people is to the “right” way to approach a shy dog. This will be a first blog (of several) where I will try and explain all the different things we do to work with a shy dog and bring them out of the shell.
First is to never pet a shy dog OVER it’s head. A shy dog really needs to know where your hands are at all times. When approaching a shy dog, your hand should be out in front of you, and you should approach a dog very quietly and gently. Often turning to the side will help the dog relax rather than facing them head on. The dog will pick up on any anxiety, fear or forcefulness from you. Let the dog sniff your palm. A human sweats a lot through our hands and scents are very important to a dog. Turn your hand over. Let them sniff the top. If the dog is not fearful or pulling away you can pet it under the chin. But again, don’t go over the head. Let the dog see where your hand is going. If you keep it in front of the dog they are usually way more relaxed and receptive to a scratch under the chin.