How To Gain A Dogs Trust (6 Simple Steps)

Dogs are lovable and affectionate creatures that can become your friend for years to come.

A canine companion can play, cuddle and give you kisses. 

However, some dogs won’t trust you immediately. Whether you’re adopting a shy shelter dog or interacting with the neighbor’s pup, learning to gain a dog’s trust is an essential skill for any pet lover.

6 Ways to Win Over Your Dogs Trust 

There are many ways to earn a dog’s trust, such as positive reinforcement training techniques and friendly behavior. 

1. Give Them Space 

Dogs, like humans, may find unfamiliar situations threatening and scary.

They may not like physical contact immediately. Dogs make human friends by smelling them first.

That’s because each person’s scent is unique, and they learn a lot about you, such as your health, hormone levels, and most. 

Instead of running up and hugging them, it’s best to avoid physical touch at first. Give the pup the time and space they need to inspect you. It’s best to let them approach and sniff you.

Make sure to avoid confrontation, fast movements, and loud noises as well. 

2. Avoid Eye Contact 

Some dogs may not have many experiences with humans. Therefore, direct eye contact can be interpreted as threatening or aggressive behavior.

When you avoid direct eye contact, the doggo will see you as non-threatening and open to potentially being around you. 

3. Use a Friendly Tone of Voice 

Unfortunately, dogs don’t understand the human language. Your pup will pick up on your tone. The tone can reflect all kinds of emotions like happiness, sadness, love, pleasure, worry, and anger. 

For example, soothing tones express care and affection.

These tones often reassure your pet that they are in a safe and comfortable environment. Gently pet the dog and speak in a positive yet quiet tone.

Consider using a cheerful tone to entice the doggo to play. They may respond by wagging their tail or perking their ears. Cheerfully saying words like “Good dog!” can reinforce their good behavior. 

4. Offer Your Side 

Scared dogs don’t like to be approached head-on. Instead, you’ll want to speak to them while turning away. You can kneel down to the side and let them approach you. 

5. Play Treat and Retreat 

Food is a powerful motivator for dogs, especially if a tasty treat is involved. Treat and Retreat is a game that is designed to get shy dogs outside of their comfort zone and reduce the chances of defensive aggression. 

This game is played by tossing a delicious treat behind them. The dog will run back and eat it; then, they’ll likely approach you again for another treat toss. Typically, the game works best when you’re sitting down. 

This rewards-based training method teaches the dog that they can approach you and retreat at any time.

By tossing the treat behind them, the dog feels safe eating their favorite treats near you. Over time they’ll gain a sense of trust in you. 

Unfortunately, most owners try to lure dogs with a bowl of food in front of them. However, this can make them feel pressured. Once they experience any signs of fear, they might lash out. 

6. Try Pat-Pet-Pause 

Positive training methods are a great way to get a pet comfortable with being around you and receiving physical contact.

 Before you continue with this exercise, make sure your dog is comfortable approaching you. 

In this training practice, you begin by patting your knees to call the pup over. Next, gently pet them under the chin, on the butt, or on the chest.

Avoid petting her head or belly; that can trigger their flight instinct. 

After petting them for 3 seconds, pause for a moment. Examine what the dog does. If they look up or come back for more petting, you can repeat the petting behavior. In case they move away or look uncomfortable, stop immediately. If their body language is neutral, try petting them differently. 

The Pat-Pet-Pause training helps the dog associate a positive experience when you pet them. However, if they don’t like it, it shows that you can respect that and won’t look to get angry. This puts them in control, which can provide a sense of security. 

Building Trust With a Dog 

It’s best to know the dog’s triggers to understand what causes their behavior. For example, if they show food protectiveness, you can learn to leave them alone while eating. 

Consider seeking help from someone with training experience. We recommend working with a professional trainer, so they can help to calm their aggressive tendencies.

For example, they might recommend using a tie-back or muzzle. They’ll also provide obedience training to help discourage certain  behavior. 

Some dogs take longer to trust you, and that’s okay! 

Following these tips will help you to gain their trust over time. Remember to reward them when they do show signs of trust. 

Author: Britt

I am Britt. I have been house-sitting and pet-sitting for the past seven years. I have cared for 25 dogs, 35 cats one turtle, and one rabbit over 80+ houses in 15 countries.

The opportunity to experience different homes, cultures, and communities has been extraordinary.

I’ve connected with homeowners seeking reliable sitters through house-sitting platforms like Aussie House Sitters and Trusted House Sitters. This unique way of living has allowed me to save money on accommodation, explore new cultures, and meet new people.

Being a member of these platforms has broadened my horizons and opened doors to short- and long-term house-sitting jobs. I’ve found joy in providing excellent pet care and ensuring the home is well-maintained.

I get many questions about how to start as a housesitter, so please reach out if you have any questions! I want everyone to enjoy this incredible lifestyle as well!

You can read more about Jay and me here!

Or connect with me on Facebook or in our house-sitting community on Facebook.

House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence
Me (Britt) House Sitting in Salon-de-Provence, France

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