There are no two identical dogs in the world. Each one is different, unique. They do not differ only in appearance, but also in character. The basic traits that dogs get from their parents shape their personality. Thanks to this, your furry friend can be calm or energetic. The set of these characteristics also contributes to the level of the dog’s self-confidence. However, this is only the basis of a dog’s self-esteem. It is influenced by many more factors. Read to learn what is self-confidence in dogs and how to increase it.
Self-confidence is the awareness of one’s strengths, skills, and ability to use them efficiently. A dog with high self-esteem is emotionally stable and generally less likely to have behavioural problems. They know perfectly well what they are allowed to do and what to avoid. They also know how to inform about their needs and they can communicate properly with people and other dogs.
What can decrease a dog’s self-esteem?
Too early separated from the mother
Initially, the mother helps a puppy to develop their own value. She shows them the difference between self-confidence and aggressiveness or persistence. The mother also supports the puppy and gives them courage when they doubt themselves. If we stop the process too early, the puppy may be struggling with separation anxiety in the future.
If a pup was neglected, experienced violence, or was abandoned, they may doubt themselves. The feeling of rejection often causes the dog’s self-esteem to drop significantly. The harm that they have suffered will make them feel like they are worse than other pups.
In addition to causing a decrease in self-esteem, bad experiences can also cause dogs to develop certain phobias or anxieties. For example, if a dog was attacked by another dog in the park, they may develop a fear of other dogs or become nervous in crowded areas.
Taking away the dog’s freedom
People sometimes become so attached to their pets that they devote every single moment to them. They constantly pet them, organize various activities for them, they are always around. They don’t allow the dog to spend some time alone. It is so easy to impair the dog’s independence. Constant control, hypersensitivity, and lack of trust from the owner reduce the pet’s confidence.
Every dog has their own needs. They are based on their wilderness. Dogs automatically strive to satisfy their needs. This is their main purpose in life. If a human makes it impossible for a dog to satisfy them, it can make them feel miserable. This can also decrease self-confidence in dogs.
Unfulfilled needs can also lead to destructive behavior in dogs. For example, if a dog is not given enough exercise or mental stimulation, they may start to chew on furniture or dig holes in the yard. It is important to identify your dog’s specific needs and find ways to fulfill them. This can include taking them for daily walks or runs, playing games like fetch or hide-and-seek, or providing them with puzzle toys that challenge their minds.
How to increase self-confidence in dogs?
Before you adopt a four-legged friend, make sure they are at least eight weeks old. Check if they have lived by their mother so far, who took care of their initial confidence-building.
If you choose an older dog, investigate their life story carefully. Find out what they have been through. This will make it easier for you to understand their emotions and work on them if necessary.
Don’t take away your dog’s freedom. Try to give them space, let them be alone sometimes. If they want, let them sleep in another room. Don’t take them everywhere with you. Teach them how to manage separation when you’re not around – for example, you can give them a mat, an olfactory game, or their favourite chewing toy. Let them take care of themselves. Let them walk around freely and make their own decisions. Keep them safe, but don’t over-control them.
Make sure to satisfy all your pet’s needs. A very good solution is to organize various activities. If your dog likes to dig holes, bury their favourite treats in the ground and let them find them. If they like chasing other animals, bikes, runners, you can start running or cycling with them. There are many dog sports that will satisfy their needs and strengthen their self-esteem.
Teach your dog commands that will help them control their emotions. Properly conducted learning will give your dog a lot of satisfaction and increase their self-esteem. Not sure how to do this? Take a look into the Dogo App! The Basic Obedience training program will be perfect in this case.
In addition to basic obedience training, there are also specialized training programs that can help dogs build self-confidence. For example, agility training involves teaching dogs to navigate obstacle courses, which can help them develop better coordination and problem-solving skills. Nose work training involves teaching dogs to use their sense of smell to find hidden objects or scents, which can help them feel more accomplished and fulfilled. By participating in these types of training programs, dogs can develop a greater sense of self-confidence and become more well-rounded and adaptable pets.
Don’t forget to praise and reward your dog. Emphasize that they are doing great. Let them know that you are proud of them. It will definitely make them feel happier and more confident.