Your Dog Doesn't Trust You? Follow these Tips!

Whatever the reason your dog doesn't trust you, it's a very important part of living together, and something you need to work through. Read our tips on how to get your dog to trust you if you need some help with this!
Your Dog Doesn't Trust You? Follow these Tips!

Last update: 10 May, 2019

A lack of trust can destroy a relationship, or keep one from starting. When it comes to pets, that can happen for a lot of reasons. For example, if you adopt a dog, it might have a history of abuse. Or maybe you got your dog from a “puppy mill” where it experienced some kind of trauma, and that’s why it doesn’t trust you.

Whatever the case, if you’re going to be spending years alongside an animal you love, you’ll obviously want to gain its trust. In that way, it’ll have a peaceful life, and, at the same time, will love you and feel loved by you. That’s the best path to a great life together.

So, today we want to give you some tips on how to help if your dog doesn’t trust you.

Tips on how to win your dog over if it doesn’t trust you

One owner is holding a dog.

We should warn you that doing this isn’t a quick one or two day task. It’s an ongoing process that takes time, patience, and effort. But it’s more than worth it, and also vital for your relationship and for getting your dog to trust you.

  1. If it’s the first time you’re interacting with the dog, you should stay calm and not be too outwardly excited. We tend to think that dogs are just dogs, but they don’t all have the same personality. If it’s calm by nature, you might scare it by being too excited. If it’s jumpy, it might be even more so by seeing you act that way. Acting calm is your best option.
  2. Keep your distance. Don’t get too close to a dog you don’t know very well. Even if you’re definitely going to adopt it and have fallen in love with it, give it space and let it be the one who comes to you. Let it smell you and choose you for itself.
  3. Get down to its level. Think about how a dog might see you: as a threatening giant that could easily hurt it if you wanted to. Getting down to its height will give it a reason to trust you and it might approach.
  4. Use treats. Dogs love treatsand if yours is skeptical of you, they’re a great way to win it over. Plus, if it lets you feed it directly, that means it’ll be in contact with your hand and can start to feel more comfortable with your touch. That will make it feel safer the next time you interact.
A woman walking a dog.

More tips on how to win over a dog

  1. Take it with you on errands. One of the main things that might keep a dog from trusting you is if it sees you constantly going in and out of the house, without ever taking it with you. So, change that. There are countless places you can take your dog nowadays, so why not get it involved? It’ll be grateful, and you’ll also be helping to strengthen your bond.
  2. Don’t force it to interact with other dogs or people. Forcing your dog to do something it doesn’t want to or hasn’t chosen to do on its own will just push it farther away from you and make it lose what trust it may already have. Let it decide whether or not it wants to interact with other people and dogs.
  3. Be calm when you’re out walking with it. If you get anxious or scared over every minor thing that happens while you’re walking, it will imitate that. Remember, if you want your dog to trust you, it needs to see that you trust it too.
  4. Wash it frequently. Caring for your dog in this way is one of the best ways to show it that you love it, and a great way to help you gain its trust.
  5. Play with it. Adapt yourself to its personality and play games that it likes. Choose games that won’t seem threatening or conflict-oriented. Games like hide-and-seek are perfect, because it will also start to trust you more every time it finds you.

In conclusion

These are the most important things you can do in terms of gaining a dog’s trust, which is an essential part of living comfortably together. Just remember: it’ll take time, effort, and patience, so don’t give up on it.

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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.