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Old 05-04-2013, 07:36 PM
jsmurdoc jsmurdoc is offline
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Default My 17 week old puppy is very nervous

I have had my puppy about 10 weeks now or so, and she has always been very shy, and nervous.. especially around people she doesn't know. She is cool around me and my family, but if a new dog, or person comes around that she doesn't know she will get very tense.

I also have a very hard time getting her used the the leash. Every time I put it on her she acts like I am abusing her, and she tucks her tail and whimpers.

She is a mix between a black lab and a border collie. I really would like any ideas on how to get her to stop being so afraid and shy of everything.

Thanks
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:42 PM
jsmurdoc jsmurdoc is offline
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bumpp.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:38 AM
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Barb04 Barb04 is offline
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I would say to leave the leash on the ground so she can sniff it. When she gets used to it, you can put it on her to walk around with the leash on in the house but no one holding it. Then slowly begin to hold the leash and see if she will go for a walk. I would use treats and lots of praise.

Please have lots of patience. Tel new people to let her go to them instead of them going to her. This way she doesn't feel like people are coming at her.
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:38 AM
porchpotty porchpotty is offline
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Take her for short walks and make sure you walk her on a leash. Socialization helps eliminate shyness and nervousness.
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Old 06-04-2013, 08:42 AM
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Cardiparty Cardiparty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmurdoc View Post
I have had my puppy about 10 weeks now or so, and she has always been very shy, and nervous.. especially around people she doesn't know. She is cool around me and my family, but if a new dog, or person comes around that she doesn't know she will get very tense.
Have you tried to socialize her at all? My suggestion would be to take her to a puppy preschool class and let the trainer there evaluate her and teach you how to work her through this problem.

Puppies in puppy preschool have to be vaccinated and leashed, so it's less stressful for a dog then going to a dogpark or whatever.

Controlled interactions are the way to get her through this. I also would not push her past her limit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmurdoc View Post
I also have a very hard time getting her used the the leash. Every time I put it on her she acts like I am abusing her, and she tucks her tail and whimpers.
Move slow here. If she's showing fear like that, try to make the leash fun for her and not stressful. Put her on the ground and put the leash on the ground. If she sniffts it or walks toward it at all, give her a treat. Let it be her idea to approach the leash.

If she doesn't want to approach it, give her a treat every time she looks at it and go from there. Sounds like she needs to have her confidance built up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmurdoc View Post
She is a mix between a black lab and a border collie. I really would like any ideas on how to get her to stop being so afraid and shy of everything.

Thanks

You probably should take things at her pace. Don't force her to do things that make her uncomfortable. Try to figure out where her threshold is, and work on slowly expanding that.
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  #6  
Old 07-12-2013, 09:35 PM
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chelsey chelsey is offline
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Here is what I would do...

Clip her leash on while feeding a cookie, then use treats or her food bowl with her meal to encourage her to walk towards you while having the leash on. Practice this a few times, don't put any extra tension on the leash, just encouragement, stepping a few steps back as she comes, then pet and reward. If she tries to back up or melts down, just ignore her, take a deep breath and wait, try to not acknowledge her. Don't pull forward but don't give into it either. If you have given in backwards at all, then this is now more a learned behaviour than a stress response. Only feed meals after a bit of leash success. When she is happily coming towards you on the leash for a couple quick sessions, step backwards while placing a bit of pressure on the leash and luring/encouraging her forward. She might buck again but just wait. It is important for them to learn to give to pressure in a non stressful way. I'm talking about light light tension at first, and loosening immediately when she gives in the direction. Lots of treats and praise and encouragement when she is doing what you want. When you have this good and fluent, her following you (you taking little steps back) you can rotate yourself to face the same direction as her and continue the effort. Work little bits of leash pressure at a time with lots of verbal encouragement and rewards for success. There are points in a dogs' life that they will have to deal with a bit of pressure, where it is not their choice, and it is important to me to let them experience this where they are otherwise comfortable (ie, not pulled into a room for the first time at the vet's office). Teach the leash as a communication tool, not a management tool. It's your job to keep it loose if she is walking nice, and tension means she is wrong. Teach her to give into tension not oppose it.

Personally - this is my opinion of course - I wouldn't bother with the sniff it get a treat stuff for this very long if at all. If you aren't able to make a game out of it in a couple sessions, just move on. If there is already stress associated you will probably just create more between the two of you if she's not valuing interaction with it. I have seen many people with normal to shy puppies who start off trying to shape a response whenever the pup shows resistance to something end up with don't-wanna-don't-hafta and some pretty negative fallout. Work on your shaping skills outside of desensitization before attempting to change an emotional response. Management over modification. Sometimes exercises like this create extra problems because you are drawing lots of attention to the scary thing instead of just treating it like a normal expectation and no big deal. After raising and training nervous dogs, I have one goal. I want them to learn that trusting me when they are unsure is the best decision ever, from the beginning.
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