Were you rude, aggressive or hurtful to your dog and you want to make amends? Are you wondering “how to get my dog to trust me again?” We have some helpful tips for you below.
If you have a pet, especially a dog, you know that they can be unruly at times. Even if you train them, they may not listen to your commands. While it is not right to discipline your dog with force, you may scold or shout at them out of frustration.
This might lead you to lose their trust, depending upon how severe you were. Dogs may often lose faith due to previous traumas as well.
So how to regain a dog’s trust once you lose it? You can do several exercises with your pet that will help build trust. But, please remember that abuse is not discipline, and at times your dog may never trust you again.
Why Does My Dog Not Trust Me?
Are you wondering how to get a dog to trust you again? You need to figure out why this has happened in the first place.
You can lose your dog’s trust for various reasons, and not all of them are because of scolding or hitting them.
If your dog is not used to staying at home alone or in a dog creche, leaving them there all day with unknown strangers can result in distrust.
Your dog might also lose trust if you tease them too much, and they no longer find it playful and instead begin to grow wary of you.
Other small acts like baiting with but not giving treats may lead to loss of trust. So, it would help if you were very careful while keeping a dog as a pet.
You can rebuild trust as long as any of your actions did not hurt your dog severely and are not a daily occurrence. Follow the steps in the next section to get your dog to trust you again.
How to Regain Your Dog’s Trust in 5 Steps
Step 1: Talk to the Vet or an Animal Behaviorist
Losing trust in you does not necessarily mean your dog will become aggressive towards you. However, if you notice that they are uncomfortable near you, it is best to talk to the vet. You can also consult an animal behaviorist if necessary. This will help you understand the issue and what you need to rectify as a dog parent.
Step 2: Allow Your Dog Some Space
Do not immediately try to pet them after yelling, hitting, or doing something that leads to your dog not trusting you. Dogs need their own space to process your behavior. Create a comforting atmosphere in a quiet room and sit with your dog.
Allow enough space between the two of you, and do not try talking, playing, or forcing your dog to come over and engage. If you sit with them for a while, your dog will come over to you. Any time they do this, reward them with a treat and pet them gently.
You should do this activity every day for about 15 minutes. This will allow your dog to understand that you won’t hurt them or scold them again. Soon, you will find that they seek you out and even sit on your lap.
Step 3: Try Playing A Bit
Once your dog is comfortable again in your presence, you can start playing with them. Usually, at playtime, dogs get a little unruly, which may have been when you tried to discipline them. So if this is the time that they lost their trust, this step is crucial.
Use your dog’s favorite toys at playtime and play games like fetch. If they become aggressive and try to nip or growl at you, put space between the two of you for a couple of minutes.
This allows both of you to calm down, and your dog will realize that such behavior is not good. They also understand that you will not reciprocate that behavior and hit or yell again.
Step 4: Positive Reinforcement Techniques
It is essential to teach obedience commands to dogs. However, it is only possible once your dog is less scared or aggressive and is beginning to trust you. Try some basic training every day for 15 minutes.
Every time your dog performs well, reward them with their favorite treats. If you cannot teach your dog, you can consult an instructor on how to use these positive reinforcement techniques.
Step 5: Hand-Feed Your Dog
Feeding times are crucial, and you need to allow your dog to be as comfortable as possible so that they enjoy their meal. An important trust-building technique is feeding by hand. Sit down on the floor to be at the same level as your dog.
Let them sniff the food in your hand and eat it at their own pace. This is a great way to bond with your dog. If you find that your dog is too scared, put the food down in front of them and let them inspect it.
Then slowly sit down and try feeding them. It is vital to allow them to follow all your movements so that nothing alarms them.
Tips to Rebuild Your Dog’s Trust
If you want to get your dog to trust and bond with you again, you can follow these tips.
- Be aware of what your dog appreciates and what they are wary of. This will help you build a better bond with them. If you accidentally do something they dislike, they may not trust you. Some dogs do not enjoy head pats, loud noises, certain foods, or scents. So you should ensure that they are not exposed to any of these.
- Spend time with your dog. You can join your dog during playtime or sit with them so that they get used to your presence and are not scared of you.
- Grooming is essential for dogs. You need to groom them gently every day and pet them. It is a show of affection for dogs, and they will trust you more. Grooming and petting also help to lower stress levels and calm your dog.
- It will help if you reward your dog for good behavior. Give them their favorite treats once in a while and prepare healthy and tasty food. These small acts of affection and kindness go a long way towards rebuilding trust.
What Should You Be Careful Of?
You may yell at your dog or scold them out of frustration. But you should be very careful not to make this a habit. It is also crucial not to revert to similar behavior when trying to rebuild your dog’s trust.
When your dog mistrusts you, they are already scared, which might cause some aggression. But if you punish them again, you will not build a healthy relationship ever again. It might also trigger your dog to become even more aggressive.
If you are working to gain your dog’s trust back, you need to focus on your behavior as well. Be conscious of how your actions are affecting your dog and modify them. You need to be aware of your dog’s mental conditions, and you can even consult a vet or an animal instructor or behaviorist for help.
How to Help an Abused Dog Trust Again?
How to get my dog to trust me again when they have been abused previously? This is something that most people who foster dogs worry about, as previous owners often abuse dogs.
Dogs remember circumstances that led to their abuse and may distrust similar conditions and people. Therefore, gaining the trust of dogs that have been abused can be challenging. However, there are ways to care for them, which will lead to a healthier and better bond between you and your dog.
If you are adopting or fostering a dog that is a victim of abuse, you need to be very patient and kind. Such a dog will need additional care and a lot of affection to trust again. If you become frustrated or lose your temper, that will be extremely cruel. Here are some of the things you can do to help a dog that has known abuse.
- Stay calm so that your dog can sense that. Your temperament will pass on to your dog, and they will become less stressed.
- Speak in a soothing voice. Abused pets often relate raised voices and yell to conditions that lead to bad situations. So if you speak softly, they are more likely to trust you.
- Ensure good quality food for your dog. Most of the time, dogs that have been victims of abuse are also malnourished. Once you bring your dog home, keep them well fed. You can also offer tasty treats once in a while. If your pet understands that you will not make them go without food for any time, they will trust you more.
If your dog gets too agitated, you should identify stressors and ensure that they never have to deal with those again. This will need a lot of attention as a slight slip-up can lead to your dog losing trust again.
Dogs that have been abused need comfort and support. So you must encourage them and show them love, which will help them trust you and their surroundings.
Trust-Building Exercises for Scared Dogs
Here are a few safe exercises to gain a scared dog’s trust.
- Try to avert your eyes instead of always meeting your dog’s gaze head-on. If you stare directly into their eyes, your dog may perceive it as a threat.
- Move slowly around your dog. Jerky or sudden movements may scare them further.
- Allow your dog to come to you. Don’t crowd their space, and let them feel comfortable enough to approach you.
- Be very gentle while petting and approach them while kneeling or crouching on your side.
It is crucial to figure out why your dog is scared. Your behavior at some point may have scared your dog, or there may be residual trauma. Once you identify the reason and their fears, you can move towards removing stressors and creating a safe environment for your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you ever regain a dog’s trust?
Yes, but it will take a lot of hard work and love on your part.
Being able to regain your dog’s trust will depend on why they lost faith in you in the first place. They can trust you if it is due to an isolated incident. However, if you continue to create adverse conditions where you hit and yell at your dog, they will not trust you again.
Can your dog lose trust in you?
Yes, if you constantly scold them, berate them or neglect them, you will lose their trust.
You can lose your dog’s trust due to your behavior. If you abuse, neglect, or tease relentlessly, your dog is likely to distrust you. Your dog may also stop trusting you are harsh and not consistent with your care.
Why does my dog suddenly not trust me?
You may have shouted or scolded them harshly or even hit them.
Hurting your dog accidentally, too, can cause them to lose faith. If you aren’t aware of their likes and dislikes and you do something or give them something they don’t like, your dog may not trust you in similar situations.
Do dogs forgive their abusers?
Dogs are kind and loving, they will quickly forget a one time thing and move on. But they remember regular abuse and will not forget it.
Dogs remember people through conditions. They are likely to remember their abusers in the conditions that led to the abuse. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will trust their abusers again.
However, if it was a one-time occurrence followed with care and attention, a dog may begin to trust again. But, dogs that have been victims of abuse should never be left with their abusers and may need long periods of rehabilitation to become healthy and happy again.
It is important to remember that hitting your dog is a form of abuse. But suppose you hit your dog once accidentally or out of frustration. In that case, you can get them to trust you again, only if you are sure about giving them the love and affection they need.
If you adopt a pet or foster one, make sure you are ready for the commitment. You may end up scolding your dog or maybe even hurting them accidentally once in a while. But it is essential to check this behavior and provide a healthy environment for them. Regain your dog’s trust through kindness and care, and encourage others to do the same.
Thank you for reading the article, we hope we covered some points that you were looking for. If you have more questions, please write to us in the comments box and we will make sure to get back to you with the answers that you are seeking.