How does a dog sitter handle a stay with a dog who is shy and shakes when he gets nervous?

asked 2015-08-26 09:22:17 -0500

This will be my first time booking a stay with a dog sitter for my little Yorkie, I've met a nice and loving dog sitter that I feel will take good care of him, but don't know how he will react after I leave him with dog sitter.

Has any dog sitter's taken care of a pet like mine?

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When I have shy or nervous dogs, I make sure to give them extra attention without scaring them into a corner. I make sure to let them come to me first, but praise them with treats and attention when they approach.

Sydnee M.'s profile image Sydnee M.  ( 2015-08-26 09:49:46 -0500 ) edit

6 Answers

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answered 2015-08-26 14:00:24 -0500

I have been a pet sitter to many of shy and anxious dogs! My personal approach is to not force them into interacting with me or the other dogs. I would start out by playing with my other pups near the shy dog and most times the dog will inch his way into the fun. Or I might let all of the other dogs out and spend one on one time with the timid dog and show it lots of calm love. Usually the longer the timid dog stays, the more open it becomes. Just takes time and trying different scenarios for different dogs!

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answered 2015-08-26 15:00:59 -0500

I take care of an Italian Greyhound that has anxiety when her dad is gone. Her dad has a Thunder Shirt for her. I was skeptical at first but as long as she wore her shirt she engaged with people and other dogs. She and her full sized Greyhound sister are repeat customers. One time they came to stay her dad forgot her Thunder Shirt. She would not stop shaking, she kept getting on my dining room table (not something she had done before), and was not being her sweet self. Luckily her dad was still in town and brought her shirt. She stopped shaking and stayed off the table. She was back to lovable self.

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answered 2015-08-26 15:51:36 -0500

I've sat a couple of dogs who were very anxious in rain & would shake in storms. The best way I found to calm them was to keep them in human contact without making a fuss. Sometimes just lying next to me while I read or watch TV with some reassuring talk, often a lap and a comforting cuddle. My own rescue dog finally got right over his storm terrors with enough calming love.

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answered 2015-08-26 14:08:35 -0500

My one yorkie is a very fearful dog around people. I have learned a few of her triggers over the years and before leaving her with a sitter I give them instructions on how to calm her. I always make sure she meets the sitter before leaving her alone with them. I usually have the sitter do a meet and greet at dinner time so my yorkie associates them with something positive from the start. My yorkie doesn't like people making eye contact with her so I warn them not to. If your yorkie is food motivated then treats are a good icebreaker. If your dog has a favorite toy I would leave it within playing distance, mine likes to fetch so when she's ready she always brings her toy to someone to throw it for her. She warms up on her own time so even if you think your yorkie is shy and nervous just warn the sitter not to force it and your dog will likely come around.

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answered 2015-08-26 09:27:55 -0500

Yes, my boglen terrier is the same way. It is just separation anxiety! Whenever I leave him with someone I make sure they have a lot of treats and distract him while I sneak away so he never ACTUALLY sees me leave. From what I've heard, it seems to help. I also give him a calming treat that I got at the vet that has essential oils that eases his anxiety. Hope this helps!

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answered 2015-08-26 15:12:53 -0500

I have a super anxious dog who does not handle being watched by strangers well.

He's hidden behind the washer in the laundry room barking and terrified before and it's no fun to get a call when you're out of town that the sitter can't extract your dog from his kennel because he's so afraid.

I've tried Thundershirts, suggesting ways for her to approach him so he's less uncomfortable.

Best two tricks that have helped make leaps and bounds in progressing to him being comfortable enough to curl up on her lap and ask for belly rubs were:

  1. Meeting at the dog park; we have a super awesome sitter we found through Rover who will meet us at the dog park when she has the time so I just text her whenever we plan on heading that way and if she can she meets us there. It's a more relaxed and neutral environment for him to become familiar with her.
  2. Liverwurst. Yup, he's never been a food-motivated dog when he gets nervous (and believe me, we've tried every one of his favorite treats and foods) but on the last stay our sitter resorted to offering him up some liverwurst and he became putty in her hands.

    Also, I think it helps that I don't coddle him when he gets anxious or nervous. I don't punish him either, I just try to stay neutral and give him the space he needs to gain some confidence without encouraging him to get aggressive out of fear.

Little dogs, what can I say. :)

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