Want to help your nervous dog? Trainer shares one surprising tip that will be a game changer

Nervous dog hiding under furniture
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Does your dog feel nervous whenever there’s a visitor in your home? Do they hide in the corner or become reactive? If you answered yes, you’re not alone as this a problem that many owners face, but struggle to find a solution for.

If you’re wondering ‘How do I know if I have a scared dog? Our vet explains that you can tell by behavior changes, physical signs, and dog body language

It can be hard to see your fur baby frightened (especially when they’re usually so happy) and can take the enjoyment out of having family and friends over altogether. 

This is all about to change as Adam Spivey, founder of Southend Dog Training, has just shared his golden rule when it comes to having guests. It might surprise you, but follow his advice and your pooch will come out of their shell in no time.

Adam says the most powerful thing is when your guests pretend your dog does not exist. Whilst this might be a hard thing to ask of them (especially if they’re a dog lover), it will be worth it in the long run and will help them build more confidence. 

If people are invading your dog’s personal space, there’s a good chance your pup will become reactive as it makes them feel misunderstood. 

Although it might not feel natural to avoid them, and maybe even mean, it will actually empower your dog and help them if they tend to get scared. 

This also includes staring at them and holding out a hand to sniff. According to Adam, these are all off-limits too, so it’s worth politely letting your guests know beforehand so they’re all up to speed. 

It might be disappointing for guests who are desperate for a cuddle, but any good friend will be understanding of your dog’s needs.

For more advice like this, here are 5 mistakes I made with my reactive dog that you’ll want to avoid, and 8 reasons why your dog is anxious. Does your pup overreact to situations? Here’s how to calm a reactive dog

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While you’re busy entertaining, your dog can snuggle up in this cozy donut bed. Stuffed with high-density Poly-fil and a seven-inch bolster, the comfortable design will help your dog to relax and unwind. Bonus: It’s also machine-washable, making your life a whole lot easier.  

Megan Milstead
Staff Writer

Megan is Staff Writer on PetsRadar and covers news, features, buying guides, and reviews. When she’s not talking about her cats, Nala and Chilli (a rare occasion), you’ll find her watching funny pet videos on Instagram and sending hundreds of them to her friends. She’s particularly interested in pet wellness and is fascinated by cat behavior. Megan has been animal-obsessed for as long as she can remember, having grown up with pets since the age of three and competed in horse riding competitions for seven years. She has had a variety of animals, including horses, dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, and fish, which taught her first-hand everything she knows about pet care.


Megan studied Journalism at the University of Westminster, where she specialized in lifestyle journalism and was Editor of the online student publication, Smoke Radio. She has experience working across digital and print media and previously worked for titles such as Harrods, My Local News, and Licklist. As a committed pet mom of two, she enjoys going the extra mile for her cats and is passionate about helping readers find the answers they need.