At A Glance: From your body language and your voice to the treats you bring and how much time you spend with them, your dog notices it all. And all this determines how much your dog trusts you.
Read their body language, speak softly, respect their space, spend quality time together, and protect and comfort your dog. Also, remember not to scream or hit them. This will help them establish a safe and trusting bond with you.
How To Get A Dog To Trust You?
How do you gain a dog’s trust? And why is it important?
Well, whether you’re adopting a puppy or an adult dog or babysitting one for the weekend, getting along with the dog is key. Otherwise, you could be stuck with a hostile dog that won’t listen to you, which will put both you and the dog in danger.
Besides, who would babysit or adopt a dog and not want to get close to them?
And the only way to get close to this four-legged creature is by building trust.
Can’t wait to learn all the tricks and tips on how to get a dog to trust you?
Let’s not waste any time and start right away!
Read Their Body Language
You will see the dog before you get to greet or touch it. So try to observe its body language every time you see the dog.
The dog will convey hostile or friendly body language through stiffness, posture, vocal expression, and more. It will probably become more relaxed and open as it lowers its guard around you.
As Kinky Friedman puts it, “Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.”
Here’s a guide to reading a dog’s body language if you’re interested.
Get On Their Level
If you want to approach the dog first anyway, make sure to do so sideways and get beside them. Do not get in front of them, as they may see it as an act of confrontation.
Also, avoid making eye contact directly. You can instead look at them sideways. Once the dog approaches you and shows signs of interest, get down to their level.
Treat Them With Food And Toys
Positive reinforcement aside, let the dog know they are loved and pampered.
Bring them chew toys or give them treats when you meet them the first few times to get on their friendly-human list.
ALSO READ: Dog Training Tips From the Pros
Stay Calm and Speak Softly
The next most important thing is to stay calm and patient in your approach. This is because an over-enthusiastic person is overwhelming for most dogs. And not all dogs are affectionate in their first meeting.
How do you gain a dog’s trust when you’re babysitting it for the weekend?
You should start by chatting with the owners first. This gives the dog the cue that their owner trusts you and makes them feel like they can too.
If you’ve been wondering how to get a dog to trust you fast, then this is probably your best strategy.
Respect Their Space and Let Them Approach You First
Dogs, like any other human being or animal, have their personal space and do not appreciate intruders. This means walking directly toward a dog will get you a good barking response.
Dogs approaching you, sniffing you, or licking your hands are all ways of showing interest in you. These actions mean the dog doesn’t feel intimidated by you and is ready to be friends.
While this does mean you can pet them, make sure to only take it slow. If you pounce upon the dog at this stage, you’re going to take them by surprise, and they’re not going to trust you for a long time.
Learn How to Greet the Dog Properly
It’s time to make the first impression. Well, the first impression via direct contact.
Dog communication comes with a slightly different set of rules, or as Christopher Morley puts it, “No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.”
When it comes to greeting a dog, try to leave room for the dog to approach you too. And once it does, greet it in a calm, relaxed, and friendly tone.
If they respond and get closer, then you can get at their level and pet them slowly.
ALSO READ: Why Do Dogs Lick Other Dogs Ears
Protect And Comfort The Dog
Your dog needs protection from other dogs, touchy neighbors, and naughty kids. And comfort when the house is too noisy or there’s a thunderstorm raging outside.
All this involves showing the dog that you’re available when they need it. This will tell them they can rely upon and trust you for protection and comfort.
Spend Quality Time Together
The main purpose of this task is to give your dog more time in your company. This can involve performing any kind of activity with your dog. Here are some activities to try in the order listed:
- Align your routines
- Take a walk
- Teach them tricks
- Play frisbee or fetch
- Cuddle or take a nap
Make sure to take it slow in the beginning if the dog isn’t responsive.
Create a Comfortable Environment
If the dog doesn’t feel safe in your space, they won’t trust the people living there either.
So, how do you gain a dog’s trust in your home and your family?
Some easy ways to make the environment comfortable for the pup include:
- Giving the dog its personal space
- Make your house pet safe
- Add blankets and chew toys to their space
- Bring them a designated crate or dog bed
Some dogs may also sneak up to your bed and express the desire to sleep in your bed. If your dog does this, then try to allow them the pleasure once in a while or when needed.
All this goes into creating a safe and warm homey environment for the dog.
Reward Good Behavior
Dogs do not understand human speech and instead rely on the language of cuddling, petting, and treats.
They understand they have acted in a desirable manner if the human reacts positively. So reward any of the actions that you want the dog to exhibit. They will be sure to memorize and repeat it. Similarly, not rewarding an action or holding off on the rewards will send the message that the action isn’t desirable.
Establish A Consistent Schedule
Now that you’ve established a routine, make sure to keep at it.
Any changes will only confuse the dog and make you seem unreliable as an owner. They will no longer trust you or take you seriously!
Do Not Scream Or Hit Them
Hitting or screaming at dogs will scar them for a long time. They will be scared and unsure whether to trust you for a long time.
Working With Difficult Dogs
Dogs go through a lot before they meet you unless they’re a puppy. Most often adult dogs will be healthy and have a positive response to the steps we mentioned above. But sometimes, you meet a difficult one that doesn’t comply with any of the trust building exercises for dogs.
Here are some situations and the best strategy to deal with them:
How Do You Make a Scared Dog Trust You?
This one is also easy.
With scared or shy dogs, the best strategy is to put as much focus away from them as possible. This includes letting them approach you first and moving around them but not directly towards them.
Your main purpose should be to give the dog a comfortable environment with very little stimulation to allow the dog to feel safe.
How To Get An Aggressive Dog To Trust You?
With an aggressive dog, things like trust can seem impossible, but they aren’t. Here are five things to keep in mind when dealing with such resistant or aggressive dogs:
- Be patient and take things slowly
- Protect yourself at all times
- Use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior even if instances are rare
- Make them exercise more to wear them out
- Do not scream or hit them when they are being aggressive
Dogs are not aggressive without reason and will often respond positively once the problem has been dealt with. From past abuse to physical pain, there are lots of reasons and they aren’t easy to diagnose when you’ve got an aggressive dog on hand.
At such a time, calling in a professional trainer helps especially if you’re too overwhelmed with the task.
Now, not all dogs are born friendly and some breeds might be or appear to be more aggressive than others. Here is a list of the friendliest dog breeds, if you’re not sure you can handle an aggressive one.
How To Get a Rescue Dog To Trust You?
If you’ve got a rescue dog on your hands and must gain its trust fast, then rewards are the best way to go. Make sure you don’t reward the wrong action though or it may just confuse the dog and they may trust you even less.
So how long does it take for a dog to trust you?
It all depends on the effectiveness of your efforts and the dog’s willingness. If you have a new puppy that isn’t too difficult to handle, it may take 3 to 4 months for it to settle into your family. Adult dogs, rescue dogs, aggressive pups, or scared dogs may take longer.
That’s all the tips and tricks you need to note down and practice to get a dog to trust you. And while the list is long, the task is rather simple.
Mean no harm and do none. Be mindful of your actions and the dog’s responses. Take it slowly and yet steadily. And soon, the dog will start trusting you.