Posted by starman
Dec 31, 2007
Hi i have a nine month old border collie. She is coming along with her training very well. But she is very timid. How can i help her not to be so timid. Someone has asked me if she was abusied i told them not as long as she been with me. But they said she could have been before i got her. Please Help
Posted by Todd
Dec 31, 2007
Hi there.
Thank you for your email.
Firstly yes it is possible that she had some traumatic experience as a pup that you don't know about. But in every litter of puppies there are dogs with very different personalities some are boisterous and confident while others are more settled and quiet.
She may be one of the more reserved personality types.

With any timid dog it is important not to reprimand them loudly or use any type of physical punishment. This can push them into a severely fearful or even aggressive dog.
Socialisation is very important for any timid dog. Puppy classes are great and they often run them for older puppies to help them. Try and expose her to lots of people, animals and other things like vaccuums etc. Do these one at a time in a safe environment where she has an escape at all times. 'Flooding' her is the last thing you want to do to her and will make the problems worse.

In all of these situations use the basic principles of rewarding and ignoring. if she is being confident praise her, pet her and giver her attention. This will teach her that confidence is good. If though she is being timid eg crouching, hiding, cowering or backing away ignore her. This means turning away, not talking to her, not making eye contact or comforting her. This will reinforce that fear is not the appropriate response.

But the second she starts to show confidence eg rising or not hiding you must praise her quietly. This reinforces her confidence and will help her with her timidness.

For anyone coming to the house i would recommend:

* Not directly approach her at any time, this will only increase its anxieties
* Not stare the dog in her eyes, direct eye contact is intimidating for a submissive, fearful type because it reminds the animal that you are a predator. A predator or potentially threatening person/animal will keep eyes on eyes and quietly approach head on (which is most often how we approach our pets without realizing it).
* Talk in quiet voices while the dog is around. A big booming voice would not help in the beginning, in time this should not matter though
* If she becomes agitated, let her into a quiet room.
* After a while have the visitor get down to her level (i.e sit on the floor) and if she seems comfortable she may approach the visitor.The visitor should not pat her, or look her in the eyes unless the dog seems comfortable.

Be patient with her and take things slowly. Remember to reinforce and ignore as appropriate whatever the circumstance. Good luck and let me know of any success you have

Kind regards
Todd Field