Building Confidence in an Adult Dog

New experiences, sights and sounds can be scary

Odoo image and text block

They're note being bold, just scared

The key to preparing for new situations with any dog that is not a young puppy is to sit back and think of all the new things they are going to experience, see how they get on with a simple version of each of those things, and slowly build up to the main event.

We use a simple rule of thumb to figure out if we need to make something more difficult, easier, or keep practicing at the level we are currently at. Try everything 10 times (e.g. approach a horse in a field and stop at 10m away)

  • If your dog is comfortable 8 times out of 10, get closer (increase difficulty)
  • If your dog is uncomfortable 4 times out of 10, move further away (decrease difficulty)
  • Otherwise, keep practicing until you can make a change
Do note that compared to other training we are dealing with a gut reaction from your dog rather than a logical thought process. Give them space to feel comfortable. 

Always set your dog up for success, that means start small and only go as fast as your dog is comfortable with. This may seem tedious but putting in the time now will mean that your dog is always comfortable with new people, strange experiences, noises, and smells. Dogs do not generalise well so it is important that we go through new situations step by step and consider the experience from all angles. Have a look at our examples:

You can also download our puppy socialisation guide to give you an idea of how to keep track of your prep work.