Confidence Building with your dogs

Have a dog that is overly frighten or fearful?

A year ago I met Lola, a scared frightened Beagle mix.  I remember seeing her for the first during a nosework practice. Any noise, and movement from anyone would distract her and pull her off odor. As she progressed through the sport of K9 Nose Work I gradually saw her confidence build.  I saw her handler begin to trust her dog more, which then built more confidence in Lola. 

Lola’s handler wanted nothing more than get her dog working and stimulate her mentally. So along came the idea about using a slowfeeder. A slow feeding device is any device that prohibits the dog from inhaling the food. Forces them to work and slows them down. 

Side Note: Eating too fast can cause larger dogs to become more suseptible to Bloat.

I remember introducing Lola to a her first slow feeder. It was an Outward Hound Slow Feeder. From here Lola’s handler was hooked on the aspect of getting Lola to think and work for her food. Her handler took it to the next level. A level I never saw coming. Her handler would go to TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Home Goods on a weekly basis and began searching and collecting any ball, toy, or device that slowed her eating down.


Lola’s handler was thinking outside the box, being a Lateral Thinker. What we discovered was never thinkable. Lola’s confidence again hit another high. She was continuing to build all this confidence. She was now able to go shopping with mom to all these pet-friendly department stores. The more socialization, the more confident Lola became.

In October 2018, Lola’s handler and I spent the weekend away together competing together in the sport of Nosework. Lola hit another high achieving her Nose Work 1 Title and being honored with the Harry Award for the best rescue dog to achieve the title at that specific Trial.


In December 2018,  I mentioned to the handler about a K9 fit to work class where the dogs learn to balance and use muscles they never realized were there. A K9 fitness class uses balance beams and is designed like the below picture.

Heavenly Hounds Facility in Trenton, NJ

Heavenly Hounds Facility in Trenton, NJ

The handler brought her bigger dog for fear Lola was not confident enough yet to participate in class. The class started in  January, and she immediately fell in love with the aspect of working your dog on this agility equipment. The handler took this game and begin applying it now to Lola. She just wanted to continue to build Lola’s confidence.  Lola’s mom knew that she could get the same equipment cheap.


From left to right. Lola’s mom was able to the buy the Series 8 Step-Up Riser from Five Below. Lola has her paws on a Fit Paws FitBone.  Lola is seen eating out of an Outward Hound Slow Feeder . On Amazon they go for as high as $12.99. If you go to Home Goods, TJ Maxx, or Marshall’s you can find them for as low as $3.99. The Wobble Board can be found on Amazon for as high as  $134.00. Lola’s handler went to Marshall’s and found one for $9.99.

Lola started out on the wobble board like pictured below. 


From there Lola began working on the FitBone made by Fit Paws. Lola got 15-20 minutes every other day working on her stabilizing muscles. The equipment can be bought cheap. Be sure to check out your local department stores for discounted items 

Lola working on her hind leg stabilizing muscles.  

Lola working on her hind leg stabilizing muscles.  

Today Lola continues to work hard everyday at playing games while working on building confidence. She is almost a complete 180° dog that I met a little less than a year ago. She is no longer that shy dog. She is confident and getting better each and every day. Credit Lola’s Handler for the amount of time and consistency put into her training for getting her to be the way she is today!!!

Disclosure: I am not an English major so grammar is not my best attribute. Please email me if you find any grammatical errors. Please email me if you have any comments, concerns, or questions. I can be reached at

Sam Valenza


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