Increasing Confidence


Hello, everybody.

One of my favorite things to do is train my dogs. I love it. It's fun and it's nice to see them in action. Bilbo is a pretty easy dog to train, because he's so willing to work for things like food and a good game of chase. Unlike Frodo, he isn't very sensitive either. I don't mean Frodo is sensitive where he backs away if I stmop or yell. Because a) I don't and b) I wouldn't blame any dog for doing so.

He's just...weird, I guess.

When I'm training, I try to set my dog's up for a high rate of reinforcement. Set them up to win, in other words. Sometimes, though, they fail. It happens. No one gets yelled at, we just try again. Frodo, to my knowledge, has never had tough corrections applied to him, yet if he fails he stops. He'll just freeze and its over. At agility practice, we had to redo a part of the sequence because I was postioning myself wrong, but he froze. As far as I'm aware, I'm not getting tense. I am quick to stop if I feel myself getting too angry, although who knows, maybe Frodo is just super sensitive to how his trainer is feeling.

ANYHOW, it is a bit frustrating at times. I love Frodo, he's great, and when he catches on to something he'll give it all that he's got. He's the type of dog that will work for a few minutes just so I plop down in the grass and pet him. But, I would like some ideas on raising his confidence, on making him know that if he doesn't get the click or treat or whatever I'm using, it's my fault and it's okay.

I've tried playing tug; I've tried having the requirements down so low it's ridiculous. The training sessions aren't very long, because I have two dogs to work with in the summer heat and I've got a short attention span. For now, I'm taking a break from big things with Frodo.

So, yeah, if anyone has a dog like It'd be really nice to hear from people with a dog similar to him, so I can at least read how you guys have done it.

Thank you! :D

Sammie Dunn

Well-Known Member
Hi Hobbit,

Love how your username and your dog's names are after Lord Of The Rings characters. My puppy Coco was a bit like Frodo when I first got him.
How old is Frodo? Did you get him as a puppy? If he had an owner before did they do any training at all?

I found that with Coco it was because I was trying to train him with another dog near by. He didn't like my friend's dog being there when he was training so he just froze up and wouldn't train at all. Now though I always train when it is just us. I am trying to add distractions and stuff (eg. people around chatting, other dogs, toys, ect.)

This seemed to work for me. Maybe get a friend, relative or partner to take Bilbo out for a walk while you train Frodo. Another thing to try is training just after you come in from a walk. That is when Coco is most alert. They will also be a little peckish after their walk so will love the treats and attention.

Hope this helped and that Frodo get's better with training soon. Just remember to train him after walks or exercise when he is alert, keep training sessions to about 5-10 minutes and loads of praise and his fav treats! xx


Frodo is currently a year old. We adopted him from the humane society when he was eight months old. From my understanding, he was a stray for the first six months of his life and they had him come in from another state.

Thanks for the tips! :D

Sammie Dunn

Well-Known Member
It might just be that he is not 100% sure of his surroundings yet then. He will be used to it being loud and such. My old greyhound was a bit funny when he came out of a kennel and into the home. This just takes a small bit of getting used to but I would still try training him alone when your other dog is out, also after walks and such. Never try training a dog once it has just woken up cause it probably won't remember most things as like us, they take a bit of time to wake up properly.

Stay in touch so I can know how you get on and also if you want any advice then let me know.

Sammie Dunn

Well-Known Member
:) That is ok then. I'm trying to start my own business so me learning to give advice like this is good for me :)


Teaching your puppy to weave can build a lot of confidence going safely under legs again n again. Had success with this making big changes in my female border collie. Was quite. Timid when first got her now she is do proud of her self doing things. Also another good tip wait out their fear of things lifting dog and removing it from area its scared of does not achive the desired result of puppy getting used to something. As all ways feel free to have Q's and I can elaborate..


Well-Known Member
What happens after the "freeze"?

I'm wondering if there is some sort of sequence going on that you may not be aware of. Like: dog goes off course, you unknowingly signal, dog freezes, dog gets reward. So if your dog is super keyed into your body language and you're shoulders slump when he goes wrong (otherwise how does the dog know it's off course or not doing something properly?) Dog freezes( cause it's worked int he past) and you try to re-interest, happy voice, pats, reassure him that its okay. I find that dogs do what gets rewarded.

Does your dog react the same way if someone else is doing the training? If not, I'd guess it's some "sign" you're giving.

As a side note, I worked with feral dogs in a rescue situation. I found these dogs were 150% keyed into body language. They needed to know if the people in the nearby communities were going to offer food or bullets. Their survival depended on it. Spoken language took them some time to become accustomed to, but non-verbal, they were on top of. So, if your pup did, in fact find himself homeless, it would have learned, quickly, what got him rewarded and what did not.