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Old 08-20-2010, 03:32 PM
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Default Worried about timid Tucker

Tucker has proven to be a very shy puppy. I have ever in my life met a puppy that was shy, I've only met over the top happy to see you puppies and the occasional calm puppy whose still more than happy to have a stranger come over and give him a pat.


When a stranger approaches him he runs away, if he's on leash he'll hide behind whoever is holding it. Mom said on his walk when he did this she picked him up and gave him to the people and he was fine and with another person the woman just talked to him and he eventually walked over and sniffed her then was okay with her petting him. He still does the running away thing with my uncle (comes over every day), dad, and both brothers (that live here) when they enter the room but eventually comes over to them if they encourage him over.

Today we went to the park/playground. It has a big field with a baseball diamond and soccer field and a playground part. I was hoping he'd get to meet some people but as soon as he got out of the car his tail was plastered to his belly so we set up in the shade and just sat far away from the playground but near the pathway leading from the parking lot to the playground so he could get used to the place and watch people as they passed. He just laid there and spun his head around at the sounds of voices and kids playing with toys. I gave him treats when he looked at people who passed by. eventually he stopped caring about the noises and just looked up when people passed. I tried to walk him around the field but he would just walk and my heels and sit at my feet when I stopped.

A man, woman, and their two 1 year olds came over to see him, they were awesome, sat down, kids completely ignored Tucker and just sat there. Parents sat talking to us and called to the puppy here and there. Tucker hid under my mom's chair. I used some ham to get him to come out (step by step) but he wouldn't get within a foot of the people. Basically he went as far as to get his butt out from under the chair and that's it. I let the man try and give him ham, he wouldn't get close enough to take it at first, I had to feed him ham closer and closer to the man's hand until he finally took it and went back under the chair. The people probably sat there for 10-15 minutes and he never warmed up.


I'm really, really worried he's gonna turn into a fear biter/anxious mess if we don't do something soon. I think I'm gonna try taking him to the park every day I can until I leave and tell them to bring him at least 3 times a week once I go. Do you think we can do something about this? Anyone have experience with shy puppies? What did you do/how did it turn out?
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Old 08-20-2010, 05:49 PM
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didn't you say that he hadn't even walked on grass by himself when you got him? He's got alot of acclimating to do! it sounds like you are on the right path--positive associations with new things and people.
How old is Tucker? There are several "fear" periods with puppies (can't remember exactly what age)--so that may be contributing.
Are you going to take him to puppy class? Maybe some clicker training too--if he is not afraid of the noise.
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:06 PM
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Building his confidence is important, it's great that he finally did get to where he took ham from the man. What nice, patient people.

Clicker training is good for confidence building, as it's rewarding their successes in a tangible way.

If you don't like clickers, confidence boosting games is good too. Puzzle games, or tug of war (where he always wins), things like that.
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:28 PM
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Socialize, socialize, socialize, gradually increasing the exposure to other people and dogs so you don't overwhelm him, let him retreat when he feels like he needs to without scolding, and make sure that you end up on a positive note before you leave.

Pretty much exactly what you're already doing
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:41 PM
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yes, he had never been on the ground outside. I actually think that may be contributing to some of the issues, I don't think he met many people from the ground, I think he was in the foster mom's arms. He walks really well in the yard now, he doesn't respect the boundary of the leash (if he wants to go somewhere and you don't let him he starts throwing a fit) but otherwise is fine outside on the leash. I do think he is scared of new surroundings just as much as new people though. He is about 11 weeks old now. He's not going to puppy class as far as I know. I have started some clicker training at home, he's caught on very quickly to that. We'll keep up the socialization and see if we can incorporate some clicker training in new places. He loves tug but was a bit too nervous to play at the park until near the end.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:11 PM
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puppy class could serve him well from the socialization stand point--if you find a good class/trainer.
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Old 08-20-2010, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
He walks really well in the yard now, he doesn't respect the boundary of the leash (if he wants to go somewhere and you don't let him he starts throwing a fit)
This is actually a good sign. For the time being, I'd give him lots of leway to explore however he wants to, within reason/safety, of course. Getting to satisfy that curiosity is good for him.

Well....it sounds like he may have missed out on a lot of that early socialization we always talk about....if he had never experienced walking on grass and such...and that he finds people frightening. Hmmm. Well, like it was already said, the more he can get exposure to new things that are never over-whelming or frightening, the better. Lots of positive associations with new things etc. You know the drill. I hope when you're gone, the other family members will follow through completely. It is worrisome that it could be not only inadequate socialization, but also his temperament. Hopefully, these next 4 or 5 weeks will make a difference. Best of luck.
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:32 PM
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This is a different, but why not wait to let him warm up to the person rather than being picked up and shoved into a person's arms?

Have toooons of people come over at different times and just kind of ignore him till he sees what fun people can be. Then when he does start to come over (I have a feeling curiousity might get the best of him after a while ) have lots of yummy treats for him. Maybe have your friends sit on the floor quietly, maybe pick up one of his toys, and just kind of start to play with it on the floor and let him naturally come over then praise him like he just did The. Best. Thing.
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizmo View Post
This is a different, but why not wait to let him warm up to the person rather than being picked up and shoved into a person's arms?

Have toooons of people come over at different times and just kind of ignore him till he sees what fun people can be. Then when he does start to come over (I have a feeling curiousity might get the best of him after a while ) have lots of yummy treats for him. Maybe have your friends sit on the floor quietly, maybe pick up one of his toys, and just kind of start to play with it on the floor and let him naturally come over then praise him like he just did The. Best. Thing.
^ This. I agree. Let him warm up on his own terms and his own time, but given ample opportunities.
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Old 08-21-2010, 01:42 PM
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if you have access to a good puppy class with a trainer who is experienced with shy puppies, i think it would be a very good investment. there's more control over the environment, and more control and direction (by an "authority figure") over the people interacting with him.

i'd have people tossing food at him instead of requiring him to go up to people to get it. requiring him to interact with scary strangers sounds like too much pressure for him right now, and instead of warming him up to strangers, you may be risking turning him off food rewards.
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