The Building Confidence program is available in three formats: as board and train, in-person, and virtually. We have limited program spots available each year and often a waitlist. Reserve your training spot as early as possible. Details below.
Does your dog feel insecure, look nervous or bark out of fear? Is your dog afraid of loud noises? Concerned when seeing strangers? Scared of everything? Does your dog lose it when you leave home? Or…? This program is about building confidence in your dog and resolving fear-based issues.
Fear and anxiety in dogs come in many forms. Fear can be related to people, things, sounds, sights, places, etc. Anxiety from separation is another form often found in rescued dogs. In response to fear, some dogs sniff the ground nervously, some run or hide, some shake or cower, some pee and poop, some roll over and shut down, and some dogs become very aggressive or even attack and bite—all out of fear. It all depends on the genetics, background, circumstances, severity, and triggers a dog has. You can read more on the biology of fear in our article: Fear and Anxiety in Dogs.
Whatever your dog’s particular fear triggers, living with a fearful dog can be stressful. You want to help your furry friend, but progress has been slow, and you’re unsure how to help better. By now, you may consider resigning to your dog just being that way. Please don’t. We can help you increase your dog’s confidence. You will love seeing your dog feel better. Your dog may never be a social butterfly, but we can certainly make it the best version of itself and increase your friend’s confidence and quality of life to the maximum extent possible.
The Approach to Building Confidence
Our methodical step-by-step approach goes straight to the root of the issue and helps your dog better deal with stress and all the things that cause fear. Our approach is based on scientific principles of affective neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. It helps your dog be more confident in life. We gradually reduce all levels of stress (see The Layered Stress Model) and help your furry family member enjoy life more. The following overview outlines the overall program structure for reducing fear. Phase two, Confidence Builder 2, is an optional add-on and uncommon. It is for the most insecure and fearful of dogs that can’t get past critical insecurities. Confidence Builder 2 deals with effectively managing what can’t be resolved.
Confidence Building Training Levels
Our Confidence Builder 1 program is where all fearful dogs start. This program level lays a solid foundation to help build more confidence. It begins with the building blocks we need to put in place to be able to help your dog become the best version of itself. You could compare it to learning the alphabet before trying to read a book. We also build relevant skills and develop a biologically fulfilling rewards game to assist with learning and strengthening the relationship between you and your dog. For about 90% of dogs, this program level is sufficient to help them.
Our Confidence Builder 2 program builds upon the first level. It addresses the maintenance side of your dog’s challenges. What we can’t resolve in Confidence Builder 1, we will make as easily manageable as possible in Confidence Builder 2. We will teach your dog how to stay safe and get itself out of scary situations by trusting you instead of blowing up.
One of the critical concepts of canine learning in building confidence is: “success breeds more success.” Why do police dogs not back down when they apprehend someone? What do they do if a suspect tries to kick them? They don’t back down; they take the person down and won’t stop until told. They built up hardness and resistance because, during training, they always won. It was consistently made harder for them to win, but in the end, they always did. They have learned through success that they can handle anything.
Your dog is likely not a police dog, but the principle is the same. By succeeding in overcoming a tiny element of their fear, they learn they can do it. It emboldens them to do it again faster next time and then take on larger and larger challenges as we progress. It takes experience to know how much to push your dog outside its comfort zone to make progress and not push too far to cause setbacks.
If you haven’t by now, please review The Layered Stress Model and read our article on the biology of fear: Understanding Fear and Anxiety in Dogs. to gain a deeper understanding of what is happening in your dog’s brain with fearful behavior.
This training program is presently only available as a board and train program.
Board and Train (Confidence Builder 1): we do all the work for you and transition your dog into your home afterward. Your dog stays with us for eight weeks in the home of one of our trainers, not stowed away in a kennel. You also receive 1-2 training videos per week on our YouTube channel, so you can observe how your buddy is doing in training. Due to the nature of the training and the required transition, expect to come to visit your dog after a few weeks for hands-on participation; 2-3 visits are typical. Further, this program includes three virtual sessions after your dog returns home.
Board and Train (Confidence Builder 2): price varies by dog.
How to Get Started
Our availability is limited, and we usually have a waitlist. However, most dogs can start within one to two months of contacting us. To secure a training spot, you must make a 50% non-refundable down payment at the time of booking. That, together with signing the training contract, locks in your training spot. Both are done electronically, and we accept cash, check, credit card, or PayPal payments. Contact us today to get started by clicking below.