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Thread: working with timid pups

  1. #1

    Default working with timid pups

    anybody got one, how did you manage it?

  2. #2
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    We had one. What exactly is your problem? Doesn't your pup trust you or strangers?

  3. #3

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    pup will follow me anywhere and do evrything i ask, after much effort recruiting randoms to hand her a treat she will eat food from a stranger out of their hand, at 7months completly will not let another person touch her. no negative experiences in her past, majorly genetic, did lack seeing anyone much beside me when very young.
    Last edited by muttboy; 07-18-2013 at 01:44 PM.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2012
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    Geelong, Vic
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    Genetic is a little more difficult, it's worth seeing someone experienced near you with dogs like this to help you with some confidence exercises.

  5. #5

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    i was shocked how many people that have had dogs for years don't get timid dogs, very dissapointing so far. no matter what you tell them and try set some ground rules and scenarios they insist on going over her threshold and ruin my weeks of work so i am kinda over giving anyone else a chance unless they can demonstrate more than "hey i know all about dogs, she will be fine, i will just....attempt to molest my dog......GRRRRR (me growling not the dog).

  6. #6

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    Awe I am feeling sorry for you muttboy, well i am not that experienced but i guess you will have to keep on training your pup.

  7. #7
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    I feel your pain! It was the same with our pup - all of a sudden every **** turned into a bloody dog whisperer. I too found it amazing how many people seem to think if they just can get hold of him somehow, they could force him to trusting them. My boss even went down on all fours and stalked him under the desk where he desperately tried to hide from her. I didn't really want to yell at her ... but maybe that contributed to me getting the sack a few months down the track

    People behaving badly got better as he grew. It's cute when a 10 week old puppy growls. Not so cute when the pup is going on 10 months...so hang in there. They'll start giving him more space eventually. Mind you only recently I saw on a dog a 'give me space' bandana. I saw that and thought why on earth didn't I think of that when Nero was a pup?!?!

    We don't know if our Nero had bad experiences. We got him when he was 10 weeks old and he was like that from the beginning. Once he started to trust us he would follow us around everywhere, but nobody else was able to touch him - or even talk to him without being growled and barked at. OH would take him to work but he'd just sit under his desk and growl and bark at everyone walking past.

    None of us had any experiences with training dogs and we missed the local puppy school because he didn't have his vaccinations yet. So we got a local trainer around to give us some tips in our house. She was brilliant! And she actually advised against having strangers waving food into his face (I had tried that too with limited success). Her argument was that most people wouldn't be able stop there but go on and try to pet him or even follow him when he retreats. She was right - so I stopped it. Instead I asked people to just drop treats without offering them directly to him and without looking at him. People looking at him set him off barking and growling. She advised us to avoid him getting into this 'zone' but to make encounters with strangers happy experiences.

    I explained to people that we have a little male and like a real male he will only show interest if he was ignored Surprisingly most people seemed to understand that. Up to then I was growing pretty desperate about his behavior but things got better from there

    Things started to turn around for us when I could take Nero to work when he was a few months old. Most of our clients were Muslim and a dog inside a house is 'haram' (forbidden). So they treated him like an embarassing disease They wouldn't mention him, definitely not touch him and actually not even look at him. Worked wonders! He would just lie under my desk and all these strangers come in, sit with me on a table and talk, then more strangers would come... nobody crushed his boundaries. Perfect!! After a week or so he was lying super relaxed in the reception area - withoug me! Something that would have been impossible before.

    When he started to trust that we could protect him from being overrun by complete strangers, we started to teach him to say 'hello' on command (i.e. touching a strangers hand with his nose) and he still remembers that. Other than that we basically only made sure that nobody crushed his boundaries while he grew out of it in his own time. I never forced him into a situation he didn't like (unless it was necessary = Vet) and praised him highly if he was reasonable friendly to someone. He is now 3yo and pretty good although I will probably never trust him with children - I think they're just too much for him!

    He still doesn't like being touched by strangers but he doesn't growl at them anymore when they try to pet him. He'll just duck away ever so slightly, making his point without threatening. It may not be perfect but considering where we started out I can live with that. If we have new people coming around he'll bark at them initially but calm down as soon as he sees we are relaxed. He still picks up on my mood right away. If I'm surprised by someone walking into our garden or not exactly pleased for whatever reason - he'll put on a show.

    About six months ago we got a second dog. And I noticed another big improvement in him since then. Our Roxy is super friendly and will hug anyone! That works in two ways: for one it takes attention away from him because people are completely smitten by how charming she is. And it also shows him that nothing terrible happens if Roxy is friendly. So even other people are commenting now on how confident he is getting and that he - sometimes - even lets them pat him.

    I am very hopeful that one day we'll be able to see the Vet without drama!!
    Last edited by margoo; 07-18-2013 at 09:16 PM.

  8. #8
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    Oops sorry that was long...

  9. #9
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    Yes I have had a genetically fearful dog. I did a lot of obedience training with her and I didnt allow random interations with her for the very reasons that you have said untill I had done a lot of work on her. People do not have a full understanding and are apt to do well meaning but wrong things. I recruited only very dog savvy friends or friends that didnt have dogs and had no interest in touching her to help, and I also took her to my local dog club where I worked her at a distance from other dogs and people slowly over time edging closer. The experienced people there knew how do react around dogs like her. It is not easy to deal with, one has to have a level of comittment.

  10. #10
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    A good place to go for a bit of counter conditioning with extremely dog savvy people - would be your local agility competitions.

    I think I have had about four or five timid dogs all over me because of the way I don't chase them when I'm talking to their owners. One I even said to the owner "he really likes people" as he schmoozed me for a chin rub... And she said no... took years to get him comfy round people.

    But it is really hard when people think they can fix it by approaching the dog... And at agililty comps there are loads of the dog obsessed, quite a few with timid dogs - and they will understand.

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