Tips on how to work with a scared dog or puppy
1. Do not ever pity a dog. Most dog owners make the mistake and apply human psychology to a dog by talking to them in a high pitched baby voice and offering affection or treats in the attempt to provide comfort to the fearful canine. This only reinforces the fear and teaches the dog that it's ok to be scared. He even gets rewarded for it with affection and treats. That's obviously not the message we want the dog to get.
2. Do not feed into the fearful behavior, ignore it. Instead wait for him to show the slightest hint of courage and brave behavior, then praise him.
3. Provide the dog with as much socialization and exposure to new things as you can, always in a calm and assertive manner.
4. You've probably heard it from the Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan before: No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact.
Make sure your guests understand that they need to completely ignore the dog until he makes contact on his own, usually by sniffing. Even then they need to avoid eye contact, do not bend over the dog which appears as a threat to most canines, and pet the dog under the chin and chest instead of the top of the head. This is the hardest part of all..getting humans to understand that they do not do the dog a favor by feeling sorry for him and forcing their affection on them.
5. The power of the pack works every time because learning from other dogs that are balanced is much more effective than any human effort could accomplish.