Confidence Building

Show your dog that things around them are fun and not dangerous!

Introduction - Read This First!

Now that you know how to teach your dog not to be afraid of one thing at a time, let’s take it further and make sure that they really aren’t afraid at all of those scary things anymore – no matter what they are! Let’s teach our dogs to like everything they see! Everything that used to be scary can now be something super positive and fun. 

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Exercise: Fear Training for ALL THE THINGS!​


When you want your dog to be super happy and confident, you’re going to have to do a bit of work! Your job will be to take your dog to a place that has lots of noises, objects, and people and do the fear training that you learned back in the lesson on how to FIX DOG FEARS.

Pro Trainer Principles:
Confidence Is When A Dog Automatically Investigates New Things On Their Own

Use The Right Treats!

Make sure to take lots of treats, a happy attitude, and show your doggo that everything in the world actually leads to getting treats, not being afraid! Don’t be afraid to go overboard with the treats. This is the time to use the highest value treats you can think of!

Step 1: What Is The Fear "Trigger"?

Every time your dog shows you that they have a fear you didn’t know about, you can quickly show them that there is nothing to be afraid of! Walk up to the trigger with a fun attitude and reward your dog for approaching.

Step 2: Approach The Trigger Closer Each Time

Each time your dog is able to get closer to the trigger, say “YES!”, give them a treat, and walk away again. This way they will learn to WANT to be closer to the trigger to get delicious treats!

Step 3: Reward For Approaching By Themselves

After you’ve repeated step 2 a few times, your dog will get the hang of it and start approaching the tigger on their own. This is good and you should reward this confident behavior!


Pro Trainer Principles:
Confidence Is When A Dog Automatically Investigates New Things On Their Own

Step 4: Reward For Movement

Next we have to help your dog overcome fear of the trigger when it moves or makes noise. Leave this step for last since it’s the hardest!

Exercise: A Flood of Positivity

Now that you’ve done the proactive and more difficult counter-conditioning, you can sit back and do the easy part. If your dog is ready, surround them with triggers while they sit there and watch them go by. This is called flooding, and you should only do it if your dog has been shown with positive conditioning not to fear the triggers anymore. 

Exercise: Desensitize and Relax

You’ve done the hard part of training, counter-conditioning, and maybe even flooding… what’s next? Now you can relax a little! Now that your dog understands that the triggers are actually very good, you can relax and let your dog get used to them being around. This simple process is called Desensitizing, and it should only happen after Counter-Conditioning. 

Additional Fears: New Surfaces

While most fears that dogs have may come from people, objects, and sounds, some fears actually come from different kinds of walking surfaces. Getting your dog to interact with all kinds of things is the definition of confidence, so this is also something we want to train!

Exercise: Make Friends With The Scary Things

Always "Training"

Even if you’re not going out for training, it’s very important to make sure that if your dog seems afraid of something or someone, to not lose the opportunity to teach them that it’s not a threat! You might not have treats, but you can  always use your voice to show your dog that there’s nothing to be afraid of. After lots of training, your dog will learn to follow your lead and trust you more. 

Watch Your Dog, Reward Everything

Your job here is to pay more attention to your dog than anything around them. Whenever your dog looks at something, say “YES” and give them a treat, and lead them away. No matter what your dog was concerned with, they get a treat for everything they see! Eventually you’ll also want to ask for help from the people around you to give your dog treats in a non-scary way.

Don't Be Shy, Ask For Help!

Pro Trainer Principles:
It Takes A Village To Train A Dog…​ Ask For Help!

Still Have Questions?

Still Have Questions?

Ask About Anything Not Covered In This Lesson

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