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Build a nervous dog's confidence slowly, vet says

Thursday, 28th June 2012

It takes time and effort to build a nervous dog's confidence and the process should not be rushed, a vet has said.

Vet Joe Inglis made this comment in the Metro in response to a reader who was having trouble with his three-year-old Boxer.

Several months ago a stranger attacked the reader's bins and made a lot of noise. The man kept coming towards the dog, who then bit him.

Since then, the dog thinks everyone approaching the house is a threat and the reader is concerned that the dog may bite them if they get close enough.

Dr Inglis said that the dog should wear a muzzle and head collar whenever they go out in public as it is better to be safe than sorry.

To desensitise the dog, the vet suggests avoiding people as much as possible and only leaving the house when no-one is around.

He wrote: "Gradually [let] your dog experience people in the distance, while distracting and giving him as many treats as possible.

"You should then be able to very slowly build up his confidence but it will take time and effort. Always remember that dogs can be unpredictable and it’s not worth taking any risks."