Training a shyhound can be a daunting task. A lot of links out there say to give a dog a treat as positive reinforcement – but when Banjo is very stressed he won’t even take a treat, which makes it difficult to coax him out of his ‘zone’.
I researched a bunch of sites and links about building up a shyhound’s confidence. I learned that dogs just want to know their rank in the pack, and even if there is an ounce of ambiguity as to your leadership that can cause confusion for the dog. A dog knows his rank is a happy dog. Most dogs don’t want to be Pack Leader, and a shyhound certainly doesn’t!
I was generally doing a good job with Banjo, but I discovered a simple technique called Nothing in Life is Free (or NILIF) which really improved his behaviour. Banjo still won’t take a treat when he’s stressed, but this technique worked really well for us. Just doing simple things like making sure I went through a doorway first reinforced me as Pack Leader in Banjo’s eyes.
Learn more about NILIF:
If you have used NILIF and have a link you would like to share, please email me!