5) To prevent a dog from developing shyness or to allow a dog to overcome it, you will want to expose him to as many elements as possible, but in a gradual way. There are 3 main areas: People (of all ages, both in and outside the home), places (parks, walking routes, stores, the homes of friends and family) and events (meeting other dogs, being in a crowd, being groomed, etc.). Remember that your Yorkie’s world is as small or as large as you want it to be; and for a dog to be confident, you’ll want that world to be as big as possible.
6) Choose 1 or 2 elements to work on each day.
You’ll want to use a desensitization method, in which the dog is exposed to an element for a very short amount of time, usually about 5 minutes for the first 5 sessions. Then, for each session going forward, you increase the time by 5 minutes until you reach the goal of 20, unless his learned enthusiasm causes him to want to remain longer.
7) Make each session a success.
Never reprimand and never force interaction. The goal is to present the opportunity, and then allow the Yorkie to find the confidence to overcome his shyness. This will be done by never scolding, never adding stress by pressuring him and keeping sessions short so that he can slowly become accustomed. Any negative behavior will be ignored and you will remain speaking in a matter-of-fact tone. Any time there is any improvement (the Yorkie comes out from under the table, shows some curiosity towards a child, allows you to handle or brush
him without, ventures toward another friendly dog, etc.) reward this with happy praise and an immediate treat to mark the exact moment of the behavior.
8) Command training plays a role in helping a dog develop self-confidence.
As a dog masters commands, he feels proud of himself, the rewards & praise give him a boost and he can learn to enjoy showing off his skills.
9) Know your Yorkie’s limits.
As time goes by and your Yorkie is learning to become more comfortable… the treats and praise are giving him confidence…and he is being exposed to more and more stimuli… do not assume that he’ll do great for an unlimited duration. Every dog has his limits. Yorkies should always have their own area to retreat to when they need a break and many previously shy dogs simply cannot handle an entire day of interactions.