Behavioral Cues To Gauge Your Dog's Shyness

All actions should be interpreted in terms of the dog's whole demeanor, body language and the environment. Watch for these signs.


No, your dog isn't necessarily being "overdramatic". In some instances, whining can be a sign of distress or discomfort. If you can't speak dog, your loss. Try dog buttons.


If a stranger comes around your dog and it shies away or hides behind you, they are feeling insecure and shy.

Lip Licking

Most repetitive actions usually demonstrate a form of anxiety. Repeated lip licking can be one of these signs. 

Tail Tucked

Dogs do not use words but they can certainly communicate with their tails. A tail tucked between the legs is a sign that your pup may not be so happy.

Movement Conflict

"Shy puppies display conflict in their forward and backward movements. These pups are curious, but cautious," says behaviorist Kimberly Mandel.

Shying Away

Self explanatory? This can be a sign of mistrust.


"Fearful puppies balk and refuse movement toward something or someone that scares them. They simply stop and plop," says Mandel.


What may come off to you as incontinence could very well be a sign of your pup feeling threatened or afraid.

Ear Position

When a dog's ears are flattened back against their head, this indicates fear or discomfort.


Want to know when your shy dog has transformed into a petrified one? When they are aggressively approached by another animal or human and they cower or completely lay flat on the ground.
5 Ways To Lift Your Dog's Mood

Try these simple techniques to help boost your pup's mood if they are down.

1. Take them on a nice walk where they can sniff away!

Behaviorist Zazie Todd likes to call this a "sniffari". She explains: "The nose is a very important organ for dogs - that's how they perceive the world. If you take them on a sniffari and they get to smell all the interesting smells, that's very enriching for them."

2. Give your dog choices.

"Choices help animals to feel in control, so that's good for their mental health.

Yes, we said mental health!

It could be as simple as which direction to go on walk, or which toy to play with - do they want to play tug or play fetch?"

3. Use better treats when you're training.

"Scientists have tested different rewards. They timed how fast dogs would run for different rewards and found that they would run faster to get a good quality reward rather than dry kibble. It's nice to know there's science to back that up!"

4. Set up a playdate.

"If your dog likes to play with other dogs, you should give them the chance to that. There is nothing better than watching dogs play and have fun."

5. Play with your dog.

Your dog has an unconditional love for you. They admire you. So it should come as no surprise that they are the happiest when you take the time out to play with them. "Playtime with a human has a different motivation for them."