My new rescue West Highland White Terrier is very nervous and scared of anything and everything. He hides in the corner of the room behind a sofa and rarely budges from that point. How can I help to increase his confidence?
Nick Jones advises…
I suspect that this will improve greatly with time and patience. Maybe his history is unknown, but he’s clearly not a happy chappy, is he? The key thing is not to impose yourself on him or drag him out to face up to his new world – take your time with him.
Over the coming days and weeks, see what you can find that motivates him. That may be food or toys, though I have had numerous rescue dogs scared of toys due to a lack of early exposure, so go easy.
Rather than giving your dog a bowl of food to eat at his leisure, I would endeavour to hand feed him each and every meal for the first couple of weeks, and make sure you feed him in different locations around the house.
Be sure not to go into a meltdown and overly protect or baby him – it is best to be calm and confident in such circumstances.
Once your dog is looking more balanced, you can reassess the feeding routine and then introduce some light obedience work for his food chunks. Patience is key – but seek the advice of a qualified behaviourist if you do not see timely improvements.