Many people use the term “Shy” to describe fearful dogs and cats. This “shyness”, which is most often a fear of strangers or being handled, can also refer to fear of unfamiliar places or people. It can be mild fear of certain people or very severe fear of many things.
Adopting a shy cat or dog requires a special type of person. It takes patience to care for a shy cat or dog. Although the results may not be apparent immediately, they can be a blessing in disguise. Most shy cats and dogs will bond with their owners and become affectionate and loving companions, even when they are timid.
Why are some cats and dogs shy?
Fear can be triggered by genetics or past bad experiences. Many cats and dogs are afraid because they didn’t have enough positive experiences as kittens or puppies. We mean that puppies and kittens go through an extraordinary learning phase when they are young. For puppies, this period lasts between three and five months. It ends for kittens around 12-14 weeks. This is a time when kittens and puppies can have many happy, safe experiences with other animals, sounds, objects, places, and people. People who love and live with pets need to learn to read their body language. This is especially true for shy pets. Although most cats and dogs are able to hide and retreat when they feel shy, there can sometimes be subtle expressions of shyness. It is important to read body language and understand how your dog or cat feels. Some cats and dogs are shy and will “shut down” when someone approaches them. People mistakenly think that the animal is in a good mood, when in fact he or she is under a lot of stress.
How to deal with shyness in pets
One key ingredient to working with shy cats or dogs is to let them move at their own pace. Pushing timid pets into fearful situations is scary. It can also make their fear worse and increase their risk of becoming aggressive. If pushed too hard, some shy cats and dogs will bite or scratch. Adopting a shy pet is a good idea. Give him his own space away from the rest of the house. You can provide him with water and a comfortable bed, and then serve him meals. Allow him to adjust to the family’s sounds and smells. Although it may take some time for shy cats and dogs to adjust, eventually they will be able to go on short trips. These trips become longer as their comfort level improves. A relationship-based behavior professional can help you if your cat or dog is afraid and won’t leave his hiding place for any reason. Use food to encourage the animal to make happy associations with people, places, sounds, sights, and other animals. You can start hand-feeding if he refuses to eat. Friendly members of their species can be an asset to shy pets. Many pets that are timid with people can be playful and comfortable with other dogs or cats. Some dogs are reticent and will walk on the leash with their canine companion, but not alone.