Shy Dog Adopter’s Guide

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Adopting a shy dog means that you will have to take a step back from many of your expectations of
dog ownership, as you have a new family member with special needs. Your shy or fearful dog may never meet the expectations placed on the average dog. You will need to remove the pressure, or re-define, what it is to be the well-mannered, well-trained, and socially-oriented family pet we all imagine. Your new family member may never want to meet new people, or new dogs, or travel, or experience a lot of novelty all at once, or it may take them a very long time to feel safe enough to want to engage in those experiences. This guide aims to help you understand where they are now, so that you can help scaffold their learning to help build their confidence and minimize their fears going forward. As the pet parent of several fearful dogs, I can attest that it’s a journey that is worth every step!

Velez, M. (n.d.). Shy Dog Adopter’s Guide. Shelter Playgroup Alliance. Retrieved June 24, 2023 from

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Topic(s): Behavior, Intervention, Problem Abnormal Behavior, Shelter and Rescue