Bless you for adopting a shy or timid dog or cat. You have opened your heart and home to someone who needs extra TLC and time to grow in confidence and security.
Perhaps your new companion had a rough start in life. Many rescues I've worked with tell me how confused they were by the situations they came from. They didn't know what to do or not do. Didn't know what was expected of them and often were punished for something they didn't even know was "wrong." Other shy animals didn't get socialized properly and feel overwhelmed in new situations. Some are just sensitive souls needing the "right" person to understand and love them.
#1 Create a Safe Quiet Space: All incoming animals need to have a private, quiet place for the first few days or more, depending on how quickly they ask to be let out of it. They also need to be able to get back there post haste after they start exploring.
#2 Watch and Listen: Watch how your new one responds to her surroundings. Sit quietly in the safe room and just be with her at a distance that's comfortable for the animal.
#3 Make Yourself Safe: As you sit there, breathe calmly, centering in your body. Feel your feet (or bottom) on the floor. Breathe into your heart. Feel love moving out from your heart into your arms and hands. Gently tell your animal, "I am here for you. You are safe with me." Do not have any expectations. If he comes out to you, great. If not, don't worry. Quietly get up and leave. Come back later and do it again.
#4 Food and Water: Provide wholesome food and digestive support (See this article) and water (away from the litterbox if your new friend is a cat). As you place the food down, talk calmly and let them know they are safe to eat. Leave or repeat #3.
#5 Rescue Remedy: EVERY new animal will benefit from Rescue Remedy. Add a few drops to water and/or food. RR will accelerate the shy one's ability to relax, feel safe and be able to be approached and touched. Put a few drops on your hands every time you go in. The animal will recognize the familiar vibration in your energy field and feel safer with you.
#6 Patience and Consistency: Create a routine and stick to it. This will provide stability and a structure the shy one can count on. This is VERY helpful. Allow him time to be. Do not try to "lure" him out of his safe space. Leave tasty freeze dried treats nearby. In time, when he feels safe, he will come out.
#7 Follow Her Lead: Sit on the floor. Allow your shy one to come to you. Maintain the heart-centered space in #3 and you will become irresistible -- eventually. Let her initiate touch. This normally begins with tentative sniffing. Do not reach out, but rather, rest your hands on your crossed knees and turn your palm up when she approaches. If she puts her head on your hand, scratch under her chin with one finger, more if she stays and likes it.
#8 Trust: Trust is a precious thing. Follow the 7 steps above and both of you will learn to trust one another and you will know when you can take the next step.
For help communicating with your timid one to accelerate the process and show him that you want to know what he wants and needs, schedule a session with me. We'll also zero in on exactly what methods will work best for each particular animal, what foods and supplements will support relaxed well-being and anything else to get you both off to the best start ever!
Harmony Pack Update: Join the Pack and tune in on May 30th when we'll communicate with the extraordinary Octopus! I can't wait to learn and share what these intelligent problem-solvers have to teach us. For more info, go to www.MyHarmonyPack.com.