For many people, being confident is not something that comes easily. Confidence is something that has to worked on and practiced. The more you work and practice, the easier it will become. The same is true in dogs. The more you work with your dog, the better he will get.
If you have a dog who is battered, you will need to work with your dog to build his confidence back up. The more time and effort you put in, the better results you will get. The amount of time and effort you put in will also affect how long it will take your dog to completely gain his confidence.
If you are working with your dog to help him gain his confidence, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The first thing you will want to do is make sure you spend time working with your dog every day. Just a few minutes a day to work with him is better than nothing. Every minute you spend with your dog will help him gain his confidence back.
You will want to start by trying to teach your dog easy commands and tricks. An easy command for a dog to learn is to come to you. Make sure you are crouching close to the ground so that your dog feels welcome. If you are standing and/or bent at the waist, your dog may feel intimidated. The crouching position is not threatening for a dog. Say your dog's name and ask him to come to you. When the dog comes to you, make sure you verbally praise him for his good work.
Even if your dog only comes part way to you, keep encouraging him to come the rest of the way. Remember, if your dog's previous home was an abusive one, he may be shy and reluctant to get too close. If your dog makes it all the way, make sure you use verbal praise and make sure to pet your dog. When you pet your dog, it is best to do so on the chest and throat so that he does not get scared. If you try and pet your dog's head, he may shy away.
You will also want to try very hard not to scold your dog. Any negative feedback will cause your dog to regress. If you do need to correct the dog, you need to refrain from using physical methods. Using physical methods of punishment will cause the dog to lose his confidence and you will be back to square one. With a few days of your encouragement and praise, you should start to see an improvement in your dog's confidence.
Another way to help improve your dog's confidence is to have some friends over. Once your friends are present, have the dog follow a few of your commands. When the dog follows the commands, have everyone praise the dog. All the extra attention and praise will help your dog feel much more confident.
Article by Kelly Marshall of Oh My Dog Supplies