Published: 22nd January 2010
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Symptoms to look for in a nervous dog. Trembling, constantly licking his lips, have his tail low between his legs and his ears flat to his head, looking away, yawning excessively, backing away and trying to hide from you. Chewing or other destructive behavior. "Accidents" in the house despite previously being house trained. Barking. Growling. Attacking without provocation. Hyperactivity. Inherent behaviour from his parents.

Methods to help your dog overcome his nervousness

· Distraction - Distract him with a favorite toy or a healthy treat in other words a diversion from the situation that is making him nervous and thus getting his mind focused on something pleasant. Whenever your dog copes well with a scary situation, reward him with healthy treats and lots of praise. By moving away/distracting him, you have taken control and shown that your dog can trust you to be a protector/pack leader.

· Daily routines- incorporate regular walks and playtime - You need to show your dog that you are in control (in his eyes the pack leader) be positive, by giving basic commands and his positive response to them, praise him for doing it right. Spend time giving your dog extra training which will improve your bond with him and subsequently build his confidence.

· Exercise - All dogs need exercise, but extra exercise is especially necessary for your nervous dog. The benefits of exercise are the release of endorphins as well as natural hormones (the feel good factor) which have been proven to relieve stress and his pent up energy. Thirty minutes of brisk walking every day should be a minimum for an anxious dog. Playing with your dog is a good way to provide adequate exercise and also forms a solid bond with your dog.

· Keep calm - Avoid abrupt sounds or movements and noisy angry people - Your dog can read your body language so help your dog gain confidence by staying calm and he will take his cue from you. Give him some space or move him away from the situation, which is making him nervous.

· Never use encouraging words to your dog to try and reassure him when he is showing fear, to your dog this means praise and should only be given to your dog when he is exhibiting the correct behavior. The conditioning to stay calm may take some time but be patient. If signs of nervousness are shown within your home, play some soft music, which can have a calming effect but remember your dog's ears are far more sensitive than yours, so keep the volume low.

· Socialization with other dogs and people. - Socialize your dog by exposing him to other dogs or people outside your family and he will learn that the world will seem less threatening. Take him regularly to dog parks, informal meetings and play sessions with neighborhood dogs and children. Provide lots of opportunities for your dog to socialize and become more secure.

· Massage - Nervous dogs will benefit greatly by a massage from you. In fact it is a wonderful way to calm any dog. Set aside some time in your day for this bonding exercise. In a quiet room get your dog to lie down on a soft but firm surface and after calming him with stroking and a soothing voice start to massage him with your fingers using a light touch. Watch his reactions to determine what he likes or doesn't like.

If the methods shown here do not work when you have tried them for a period of time without success, you may want to consider consulting with your veterinarian for advice.

Author: Sam Carter

Sam Carter has produced a Dog Obedience e-book that will help solve the most common dog behavior problems quickly and easily, thanks to powerful insider information, thousands of dog owners worldwide have been successful with their dog training and solved their dog's behavior problems.

To download it instantly visit

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