14 Tips On How To Gain Trust a Dog

Trust a Dog

Absolutely! Here’s a breakdown of how to gain the trust of a dog, with a focus on understanding their needs and building a positive bond.

Why Some Dogs Lose Trust

Dogs can lose trust in humans for several reasons:

  • Trauma: Past abuse, neglect, or frightening experiences can create deep-rooted fear.
  • Unpredictability: Inconsistency in rules, reactions, or punishments confuses dogs and creates anxiety.
  • Lack of Socialization: Inadequate exposure to new people, animals, and environments during puppyhood can make dogs wary of the world.

Steps to Build Trust with Your Dog

  1. Patience is Key: Trust takes time, especially with a fearful or traumatized dog. Don’t rush the process.

  2. Become a Safe Haven: Provide a stable, loving environment. Meet their basic needs (food, water, shelter, exercise) and establish predictable routines.

  3. Positive Interactions: Focus on soft, gentle interactions. Avoid loud noises, sudden movements, or forced touching. Let the dog approach you on their own terms.

  4. Body Language Matters: Use calm body language: crouch down, offer a relaxed hand to sniff, avoid direct eye contact.

  5. Understanding is Crucial: Learn to read your dog’s body language. Respect their signals if they seem uncomfortable or want space.

  6. The Power of Rewards: Use treats, praise, and gentle touch to reward positive behaviors and build positive associations.

  7. Games and Fun: Playing fetch, tug-of-war, or other interactive games builds trust and boosts a dog’s confidence.

  8. Consistency is Key: Maintain clear rules, routines, and expectations. This helps your dog feel secure and understand what’s expected of them.

  9. Respect their Boundaries: Don’t force interactions, especially if your dog is shy. Let them set the pace of getting to know you.

  10. Professional Help: If you’re struggling, a qualified dog trainer or behavioral specialist can offer personalized guidance.

Key Takeaways

  • Trust is Earned, Not Given: Building trust with a dog requires dedication and a willingness to adapt your approach.
  • Every Dog is Unique: Tailor your interactions to your dog’s personality and past experiences.
  • Focus on Positive Reinforcement: Reward desired behaviors, never punish out of frustration.
  • Love and Patience Win: With consistent kindness, you can create an unbreakable bond with your dog, even if they started from a place of fear.

Remember, gaining a dog’s trust is a journey. By understanding their needs, providing a safe environment, and fostering positive experiences, you’ll transform your relationship into one based on love, loyalty, and deep companionship.

Why Do Dogs Stop Trusting?

If the owner accidentally or intentionally breaks the order of things familiar to the pet, behavior problems appear.

They shouted at him, punished him for something that was previously allowed, promised him a treat, but didn’t give him a treat, and put him on a collar, but didn’t take him out for a walk. When the owner’s actions become unpredictable, the “anxiety mode” is activated.

Don’t be surprised if the animal starts to snap, hide from you behind the sofa in fear, or “forget” its training lessons. Having lost trust, the dog will avoid contact with the owner by any means, and resist fulfilling demands, expressing this passively or aggressively.

How To Gain Your Dog’s Trust?

When you adopt a dog, you are a stranger to him and he doesn’t know if he can trust you. But as Antoine de Saint-Exépury so beautifully said, and to paraphrase it, if you tame it, then you will need each other.

You will therefore need to adopt exemplary behavior in order to reassure your dog and make him your best friend. You will gain his trust as complicity develops between you. Here are our tips for achieving this, and becoming “unique in the world” for him.

You meet a puppy or an adult dog for the first time and fall in love with it to the point of wanting to adopt it. Put in place all the favorable conditions to start a relationship with him, and your actions will quickly give him confidence.

Make Him Understand That He Can Count On You:

You always bring water during long walks, you get on all fours to retrieve the ball he threw under a piece of furniture, and you remove the stone that is bothering him under the pads… you know how to take things in hand when he needs you.

He’ll know that if something goes wrong, you probably have the solution. Build a good relationship with your dog6. Trust Him For him to trust you, you also have to trust him. Let him go, don’t always be on his back controlling all his activities or interactions. Let him take some initiative, he will surprise you!

Stay Calm:

You’re bound to feel excited when you meet your dog for the first time, especially if you immediately fall in love with him. And we understand, our doggies are so cute!

However, you will have to keep all your agitation to yourself and remain as calm as possible in front of your future companion. Remember that you are just a stranger in his eyes, you could scare him with too much display of joy.

Make First Contacts Successfully:

If you have just adopted your dog or trust is difficult to establish, you need to establish contact gently. For your doggie, you may still be a stranger or a difficult person to decipher, which is why you should not rush at him suddenly.

Don’t skip ahead and rely on the animal’s attitude and any reluctance. Put yourself in their place, because you yourself probably wouldn’t be comfortable if someone you don’t know or barely knew jumped on you and hugged you.

Crouch down at the dog’s level and hold out your hand. Let him come to you to sniff you, but without putting pressure on him. If he is still reluctant, it is important not to stare at him. If he comes to you, encourage him and praise him.

Give Consistent Attitude:

Pay close attention to the way you act, talk to your dog, and your body language. Avoid being aggressive or too firm, it is important to show flexibility, positivity, and enthusiasm.

Your pet will react strongly to the way you act and speak. To express yourself and to communicate with him, always proceed in the same way to make it easier for him to understand.

For the same command, always use the same words, the same gestures, the same intonation of voice, and the same facial expression, because your dog will be sensitive to it. This will help him understand you better and better understand your expectations of him.

Likewise, avoid changing your mind about what you forbid and what you allow. If getting on the couch is forbidden once, it must be done systematically, otherwise, he will not understand your change of mind and behavior. However, if he cannot understand you, your dog will not be able to trust you.

Learn to Understand Your Dog:

Your little companion must understand you, it’s important. But it is also essential that you also make the effort to understand it. Without this mutual understanding, you will not be able to establish a climate of healthy communication and trust.

Learn to decipher your dog’s emotional state and body language in order to respond appropriately. You can use files dedicated to the behavior of our doggie friends to do this.

Complete Your Socialization:

When you welcome your new companion home, usually between two and three months of life, his socialization is not finished and you will be responsible for completing it. During this period, you must introduce your dog to his new environment.

New positive encounters, whether animal or human, are essential for its balance. Introduce him to new places, sounds, and smells. All these stimulations allow him to better adapt to changes once he becomes an adult.

With all the complicity acquired during this period, you will take a step forward in acquiring your dog’s trust. He feels more comfortable, asks for you, and you become his “favorite human”.

Set Boundaries Quickly:

The education of a dog is based on the same foundations as that of a child. For your pet to feel safe and confident, he needs a framework and limits. It is nothing more and nothing less about setting up a reassuring routine that consists of benchmarks for the dog, permissions, and prohibitions.

You must, of course, meet the needs of your little companion to ensure his well-being and good health, that is to say, offer him quality food adapted to his needs, allow him to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, and socialize him regularly by placing him in contact with his peers.

But your pooch also needs to feel confident enough to know that he can count on you and trust your judgment about what is positive or negative for him.

Educate Properly:

Education is essential and must begin upon arrival home. You define a living environment for your dog with very specific rules, and you do not change them along the way, even if he is “too cute”.

Once this framework is established, you can start teaching him basic commands like “sit”, “down”, “stop”, or “heel”. Once you have mastered your dog, you can begin more complex exercises.

All his education must be done in a positive way. When she succeeds in an exercise, reward her with a “that’s good”, a caress, or even a treat. Failure should not be punished. And of course, don’t argue with him, don’t hit him, even if it’s just a light tap. These actions will create a feeling of fear in your dog, and you will no longer be able to gain his trust.

Always Keep Your Cool:

You must remain calm in all circumstances. A poorly executed exercise or inappropriate behavior should be punished with a firm “no” with a raised finger, or complete ignorance by simply sending it to the basket.

Violence and shouting are to be prohibited. Likewise, be sure to punish your dog only when you catch him in the act. He won’t understand why you’re sending him to the cart for something stupid you made 2 hours ago.

Your dog only understands “no” if it is associated with the present moment. Let’s take the typical example of a puppy who couldn’t help himself and urinated on the floor in your absence, do nothing to punish him, but take him away to another room to clean up, otherwise, he might think that You like this thankless work.

Spend a Lot of Time with your Dog:

Walks, games, feeding – all these events in the dog’s life should be connected with you. Even if you are just passing by a pet sitting in its place, address it with a few kind words and scratch behind the ear or gently pat the withers. Then she will learn to trust you, knowing that she is loved and finds her company desirable and enjoyable.

Physical Contact Also Plays a Huge Role in Building Trust:

Try to be near the dog more often, pet it, scratch it, and hug it. Just don’t impose yourself if you see that the dog doesn’t like such liberties.

In this case, limit contact to occasional strokes. Gradually, every day, increase the time and intensity of affection. Over time, the dog will not only get used to it but will also begin to look forward to your arrival.

Respect Their Needs:

In addition to water and food, dogs need to exercise physically. The need for exercise varies depending on your dog’s breed and temperament. But you will have to do at least one walk per day, whether it rains, snows or winds.

Some dogs will also need more intense physical activity to feel comfortable in their pads. A dog lacking activity will develop behavioral problems and be unhappy. In these conditions, it will be difficult to gain his trust.

Play With Your Dog:

Game is an excellent way to strengthen the relationship between a dog and its owner and increase trust. Indeed, play is a pleasant moment that the animal can associate with you.

In this way, you yourself are pleasant to him and synonymous with pleasure. If you play with him, if you offer him your time, and if you fully enjoy these moments together, you will only develop his trust in you.

Not to mention that you can have a lot of fun yourself, relax, or even establish a sports routine together with a great bond!

Call a Dog Trainer:

In case you are having difficulty gaining your dog’s trust, you can contact a dog trainer. This professional gives you all the keys to best educate your dog and thus gain his confidence. Beginner or experienced master, it is always useful to have the advice of a professional. No dog is similar to another, it is possible that yours will have its little one.

The help of a specialist can be of great help to you. The trainer knows dog psychology and the difference between breeds well.

He will know how to adapt his teaching to your dog’s abilities and give you relevant advice. A short internship in a dog center can lay the foundations for certain necessary learning, which you can then consolidate.

There is no age or breed of dog that cannot be retrained. Trust me, it’s never too much to teach your dog to listen!


The causes of lack of trust are multiple. They often find their origin in the early stages of the dog’s youth. The lack of socialization of the puppy is one of the main factors of shyness.

Removed from his mother too early, not having had the opportunity to interact with peers and other living beings, he develops a fear of others which becomes difficult to correct later.

To help your dog regain confidence, you must be very patient and demonstrate psychology and understanding. Results will not arrive overnight. It is a long process, requiring a lot of work on the part of the master.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at ItsAboutDog.com.

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