August 18, 2015 | Posted in Doctor Sigmund Furry Series

Training-Shy-DogDear Dr. Furry,

My husband gave me a new little poodle mix for Christmas. He’s adorable, but he doesn’t seem interested in playing or interacting with us. How do we bring out the best in him?

Doris, Memphis, TN


Dear Doris,

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to be patient and consistent with your new addition.

In a nutshell, on-leash training exercises, hand signals and consistent body and voice control on your part will eventually turn your little guy into a self-assured, playful dog.

On-leash training is suggested instead of off-leash training for shy guys. Dog owners who don’t use a leash on a new pet often sound like they are begging or coaxing or even pleading with the animal to learn something.

YOU must take the lead. Your vocal inflection should be strong and succinct to guide your dog into a forward motion.  Next, focus on basic commands (heel, sit, stay, come) using hand signals. With each successfully performed task, verbally reward the dog in the same way, with the same words each time: “Okay!”, “good job”, “good dog” and supply a treat . . . and lots of hugs and kisses.

~ Dr. Sigmund Furry