How To Move Your Fearful Dog Without Force

fearful dogs Jan 30, 2023

Do you have a fearful dog who is hesitant to move around the house? Do you find yourself dragging, picking up, or "herding" your dog around? If we want to build our fearful dog's confidence, we need to avoid forcing them to do things they're scared of. But how to do this when they won't go where you need them to?  

Here are three tips to decrease the stress associated with getting your fearful dog to move:


Tip #1: Make The Movement Unnecessary

When do you most struggle to move your dog? Is it when you're trying to get them to go outside? Or maybe when they're hiding under the bed, and you want them back in their "safe space" (pen or crate)? 

Are there ways you can avoid the problem situation in the first place? For instance, if your dog is afraid to go outside, can you set up an indoor toilet area, until you have time to train them to go outside on their own? Can you keep them out of the bedroom, so they can't get under the bed? 

Avoiding the issue of needing your dog to move is often the simplest solution.


Tip #2: Make The Destination More Attractive

What would make the place your trying to get your dog to go to, more pleasant for them? If you're trying to get your dog to go into a crate or confinement area, adding food toys, nice bedding, or making the area larger can sometimes help make the space more desirable for a dog. If you're trying to get them to go outside but the weather is cold or wet, is there a way to provide some cover from rain? Take some time to brainstorm, and experiment with different options. Your dog will let you know when you get it right! 


Tip #3: Use Food & Give Space

Try placing a trail of high value treats between where your dog is now, and where you want them to go. Then move away! Many fearful pups will follow a treat trail, if you're not hovering nearby. Check out the video for a couple of examples:

I hope these tips help! We'd love to hear whether you've been able to decrease the amount of forced moving you have to do with your dog. You can comment below this blog, shoot us an email ([email protected]), or message us on Facebook or Instagram.

Looking for more guidance and support? Check out Confidence Builders Club, our training membership and community for fearful pups and their people.