You bet there is! Clear evidence shows when a person puts various body parts into certain physical postures, comparable physiological changes take place.  Dogs read body language and emotions far better than humans. Dogs are also very aware of their environment, especially nervous dogs!  You can tell the dog in this video is concerned just by looking at her body posture.  I am holding her gently and massaging the tense body parts.


You can build the confidence of your shy or nervous dog by the way you touch them.  Meet Charlie. She was sheltered most of her life and is very shy and anxious, especially in any new surroundings.  Charlies’ owner Suzanne has been using this massage technique.  We are happy to report Charlie began wagging her tail at class last Saturday!


Some dogs don’t mind a pat on the head and a few may like it. But most dogs prefer petting on the chest, neck or base of tail.  Try this on your dog and watch how they respond! While it is not ideal to pat a dog on its head that is usually what people do so train your dog to tolerate it! Start out with 1 quick pat on the head then praise and offer a treat. Now 2 pats, reward, etc.  Make a game out of it!
If you have a shy or nervous dog ask people to extend a lowered open palm and let the dog make the decision to approach. Make sure they don’t pet your dog on the head. 1 or 2 pats will do.  Now praise your dog and reward.  The motto is “if you make a friend I will give you food”!! If you proceed slowly with this exercise most dogs will build confidence quickly!

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