A little timid

Yesterday I had the dogs at the park with me.  At this particular park they have put up some cool work out equipment so I always do a quick workout while there.  The dogs sit patiently waiting for me as they watch the other dogs walk by.  Today there was a young pup that got tied up for a bit while her owner did a short workout.  She was only about 10 feet away and sat calmly watching her Mom.  She was very cute; a mix of spaniel and border collie perhaps.  When the woman unhooked her and started on their way the pup made a sheepish attempt at visiting my guys.  When Luke looked her way her body language shrank; this let me know that Luke was going to be too much for her.  I reigned him in and brought Tilley out; she is Miss Neutral, all dogs like her.  The young pup approached her and gave a small wag; very cute.

After my workout we made our way around the park when we saw one of Luke's friends on the other side.  We  headed towards each other; Luke saw her and his ears assumed friend position.  With his ears dropped in anticipation we watched the other dog approach.  She does the same thing every time she meets Luke; she is intimidated by his presence and displays a hundred feet away.  Inch by inch she dropped lower and lower until she is literally commando crawling across the field.  Her eyes squinting as she gets closer.  I let Luke off leash and he charges her; she drops to the ground and flips over immediately but is soon up and ripping around with Luke, a sight to behold.  With her confidence growing they run like the wind; but she is ready to drop on a dime if Luke shows any macho stuff.

Timid can be a good thing; a timid dog keeps out of trouble simply by submitting.  Their whole body displays their unsure feelings; which typically results in a less threatening confrontation.  When in doubt submit; it's a great rule to follow and it works wonders.  I've seen big dominant dogs charge another; but as soon as the other dog submits, displays fear or unsure behavior the other dog becomes neutral.  Sadly; I have heard some people complain that their dog submit,; they want a more on their toes type of challenging dog.  The idea that their dog cringes at a confident dog's approach is embarrassing to them.  But dogs are not like humans; they tell it like it is and if they are feeling a bit lacking in the confidence department, they say so.  A dog who knows when to say "I'm not comfortable," is a smart one.

We ran into another dog who was a little timid a couple of weeks ago.  We were at another park as a couple of ladies approached up with a fairly new rescue dog.  I immediately knew that he was not comfortable with Luke looming over his head; so I called Luke to me.  We talked about the little dog; he was cute as a button. Luke was sure this dog wanted to be friends and approached slowly; the dog threw Luke a flash of his teeth  backed up.  Luke quickly turned his head and moved away; he did not have another interaction with the dog. The woman started to get mad at the little guy and I quickly jumped to his defense.  I explained that he was just letting Luke understand how he felt and Luke got it right away.

A dog that is unsure should submit; they don't have the confidence to back up a dominant display.   Most dogs that are a little timid just need time; once they have their greeting and all goes well things become much easier.  They are cautious and very aware of the other dogs reactions to them; they watch every move.  A  dominant gesture or aggressive approach can lower them once again in submission.  Dogs that are a little timid can grow confidence quickly; with positive experience on a regular basis things start looking brighter.  It is extremely important to avoid bad experiences and watch your reaction should something not so great occur.

A little timid can be a smart move for a canine.


  1. Wow! I love your blog! so much truly useful information. Thank you for such relevant and helpful posts for us dog lovers.

  2. I am so glad that you posted this today! My 7 mo. standard poodle is a bit timid as well. She displays many of the behaviors you talked about here. However, she is very neutral and "gets along" with every dog unlike my more challenging/confident standard poodle, Henry.


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