My dog is very shy around strangers and other dogs. How can I help get him out of his shell?
From the Editors of The Dog Daily
In general, dogs are born party animals. Their pack animal mentality means they usually crave companionship, acceptance and good times. But even dogs need to develop confidence and feelings of comfort around others, especially humans or dogs that they may not have seen before.
Ideally, dogs should receive socialization training when they are between 4 and 14 weeks of age. During this time, you should safely expose your pet to all sorts of different people and situations -- even to his own mirror reflection. It sounds, however, like your dog is past puppyhood and now requires a bit more time and patience.
Try staging friendly, non-threatening visits with strangers and their dogs. Keep the dogs leashed and well-supervised. When your pet begins to display confidence and appropriate behavior, offer a reward such as verbal praise or a head rub. Food treats may be offered too, but in the future your dog could become conditioned to expecting them all the time. If you repeat this exercise over time using different people and places, your dog should gradually learn that meeting new humans and dogs can be something to look forward to.