If he freaks out, do not follow his lead. Remain calm. As the dog sees that you are doing just fine, he will see there is nothing to be worried about and follow suit. But, sometimes it may be genetic and they may need medication.
Being a cat person...I have no clue. May be the dog whisperer has a blog with some tips? Good luck!
If your dog has been rescued from an abusive home, it will take a while, but just treat him/her like you would any other pet. They say this works the best, and eventually the dog will learn to trust you. Just like with children, be consistent.
Sort of the same as with an insecure child. A strong consistent routine with little chaos until the dog feels better in its environment. An open crate or kennel can be helpful, or a special place under a table so the dog has a secure place to retreat to. As JThomp says it can be genetic...it really depends on what is causing the insecurity; past abuse, no home, or has the dog always been that way. Lots of things to consider.
There have been books upon books written on this topic, so it's very hard to describe what to do in 2,500 characters. My advice is get the book "Help for Your Shy Dog" by Deborah Wood. This excellent, easy to read book is chock full with great advice.
Also, I'd strongly recommend an all positive training class. There are trainers that even have classes designed specifically for the shy/timid dog. Be VERY CAREFUL to NEVER choose a class that uses punishment (choke chain, verbal punishment, collar pops, etc.) on this dog. This dog needs a purely positive approach to training filled with fun and games. A training system that has even a bit of punishment in it could shut your dog down permanently.
Classical conditioning is also very important for you to learn. I, personally, use a bit of operant conditioning combined with classical conditioning. Learn both of these terms and how to apply them to the fearful dog. Again - I'd have to write a book to explain them. Sorry. They are discussed in the book "Help for Your Shy Dog" though.
Also, there are "confidence" classes at some agility schools. These are classes for shy, timid dogs that help the dogs build confidence through learning agility. The timid dogs I've worked with in agility gained benefits through building confidence with agility that lasted their entire lives.
Obedience training helps build confidence. You can also look into Canine Good Citizen training which focuses on dogs learning to be cool with strangers and new dogs.
Very true!! I have a hub on the Canine Good Citizen Certification test which is now a recognized AKC title.
http://agilitymach.hubpages.com/hub/The … ne-Citizen
Thanks, agility mach, will check these books out!
It's a great question. It takes a lot of time and patience to rehabilitate an insecure dog. When I got my female dachshund she was a year-and-a-half old. She had never been socialized and was scared to death of people. She had problems with submissive urination. When dogs have that problem getting angry at them only makes it worse. After a few months she got comfortable in our home, but even 9 years later she is very suspicious of strangers and uncomfortable in public places.
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