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Thread: 12 week Bernese puppy - Dodges petting from people? Is he timid?

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    Default 12 week Bernese puppy - Dodges petting from people? Is he timid?

    Hey all!

    My partner and I have a 12 week Bernese puppy that we adopted when he was 9 weeks old. This is our first Bernese dog, and he is awesome!

    I just have one concern. We've been socializing him from the time we got him, and he's been wary of people from the get go. I've been taking him to cafes, inviting friends over, etc. and asking people to give him treats. He snapped in one instance and barked in another in the very early stages. He does seem better now, never has problems taking treats from hands anymore, and occasionally lets people pet him. More often than not, though, he consistently dodges or ducks from being pet. This seems particularly to be the case when people try to pet him over the head (which I've read is normal), but not always.

    In many ways, he doesn't seem very timid, as he will walk over to people as though almost expecting to get attention. He is not timid at all with dogs (currently in puppy school), and not hand shy at all with me or my partner. We met him when he was 5 weeks and he was shy then, but didn't seem to be when we picked him up at 9 weeks.

    I guess I'm just wondering how concerned I should be? Is this likely to turn into anything more serious, i.e. fear biting as he gets older? My vet said people just need to let him come to them and greet them on his terms, which may involve hanging out for a bit and ignoring him while he sniffs, etc. This is difficult when we are out in public - am I doing more harm than good in letting strangers try to pet him? I feel he needs lots of socialization at this age.

    I don't want to make this a bigger problem than it is, but I don't want to make any big mistakes either! If he's just shy/wary that's fine, but how do I manage it at this young age? Advice really appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Jen

  2. #2
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    Your first port of call is your breeder ASAP. They need to advise you as they should know their lines and dogs best.

    Not all dogs enjoy being touched by other people and that can be normal. He's a baby and being manhandled and faces right into his by strangers is intimidating so he's telling them to back off. You need to work on having him ignore other people, focus on you and you need to also teach him faces and eye contact = good. If you need a hand email or message me.
    http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c11/Mali_nut/K9LOGO.jpg

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    I have a 9 months old British Bulldog and she's very affectionate and good with strangers but she's not always keen on being patted on the head even by us. We don't have any problems with it, no snapping but we've just learned to approach her from the side of her head because she's more comfortable with that and loves having her ears rubbed then you can move to stroking the top of her head. I think she just likes to see where you're hand is going first. I wouldn't worry too much just let ppl know how he likes being approached to help him feel safe.

  4. #4
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    I don't think many dogs like a hand coming straight at their head... Mine doesn't. I tell people to aim for her chin or chest - which is a wee bit scarier for them but much less so for her.

    This thread was started last October and the Opening Poster - hasn't been back since then.

  5. #5
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    I guess my thought on this is that there is a difference between socialisation and correct socialisation.

    People think socialisation is simply getting the dog out and interacting with as many people, animals and things as possible. This is not the case. If done incorrectly (forcing people, animals, objects onto the dog) then it can cause behaviours such as timidity and fear based aggression. I'm not saying this WILL happen but it can happen.

    I'd be going back to basics with him. In terms of making people his friend, start here - Stranger Danger

    Make sure you are going at your pups pace rather than what you think the pace should be. I'd be getting into some research regarding body language so you can read your pup better. That way you will be able to see how they are feeling and adjust the environment/situation as necessary.

    dog body language.jpg

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    I never pat dogs on the head even my own I tend to avoid it, I know they dont really like it. I dont like being patted on the head either LOL. I do sometimes stroke mine on the head which they enjoy but not patting. My very non aggressive cattle dogs generally duck away from stranger's patting them directly on the head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalacreek View Post
    I never pat dogs on the head even my own I tend to avoid it, I know they dont really like it. I dont like being patted on the head either LOL. I do sometimes stroke mine on the head which they enjoy but not patting. My very non aggressive cattle dogs generally duck away from stranger's patting them directly on the head.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    I don't think many dogs like a hand coming straight at their head... Mine doesn't.
    Absolutely agree, think of the height difference for a lot of dogs. If a giant suddenly leaned down to pat me on the head I'd duck too and probably freak out! Its funny because Pippin is the first dog I've owned but I quickly learned that despite the popular opinion being that you pat a dog on the head really most dogs don't want to be patted on the head and that's ok! I always approach Pippin's head from the side and then stroke her head not pat. And if you really wanted a dog to love you then give them a good bum scratch and they'll be your friend for life

  8. #8
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    I pat both my GSDs on the head all the time...they love it and even drop their ears so I can. I wouldn't do this to other peoples dogs because I don't know their dogs...or would I let strangers touch mine unless they ask first.

    Sometimes when Chloe is sitting on the lounge I'll raise my hand above my head and bring it towards her...she watches my hand then I quickly bring it down and grab her chest and say...tickle...tickle...tickle to which she gets all excited and goes silly sounds like some people are afraid of their own dog.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

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    warning - old thread. but if you'd read the whole thread - you'd know that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    warning - old thread. but if you'd read the whole thread - you'd know that.
    I did read the whole thread...just didn't look at the date...wonder how the Bernese puppy is going...would be about 10 mths old now.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

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