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Setting a Course to Confidence

By Diane Garrod

© Patricia Calderone/Clicker Canines

Can confidence be built in dogs? If so, how and what does a confident dog look like versus one that isn’t confident? Confidence building requires helping a dog to feel safe, to trust again, and to change habits, while guardians may be changing attitudes, tweaking their home environments and also changing life-long habits. A dog who is not confident portrays this in a way that looks very much like fear. Fear in dogs can be debilitating, stressful, and cause them to act out, react and even aggress. All of this expends energy and builds stress allowing reactions to get stronger if nothing is done. A confident dog, on the other hand, is curious, happy, interactive, attentive, responsive and eager. A confident dog can handle a leash walk with distractions, interact civilly with other dogs and people, and communicate with his guardians because he has built up a trust account with them. A confident dog feels safe, trusts and habituates confident behaviors causing him to make good decisions. Read more.

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