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Socially anxious Puppy

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by HB2210, May 7, 2010.


  1. HB2210

    HB2210 PetForums Junior

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    Hi my 13 week old puppy is exceptionally anxious around strangers. When we are out walking and we meet other dogs he's fine, but if someone stops to say hello (which is quite often as he is still small and cute) he gets into a state :( He runs behind me and spends all his energy backing away and trying to escape. I dont know how to handle this at all :confused1: Can anyone offer any advice please
     
  2. PennyH

    PennyH PetForums Senior

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    Maybe see if you can find a good socialisation class in your area so he gets to meet lots of dogs and people? Also don't fuss him when he is scared as that just makes him think he is right to be scared..... Take him out everywhere with you, get him to meet loads of people and ask them to give him a treat so he learns that people are nice and not scary!
    Good luck.
     
  3. rona

    rona Guest

    I wouldn't flood him with groups of people until he is happy with meeting one at a time.
    If the people that you meet are willing, it might be an idea to get them to give him a treat, but don't force him to go forward, let him do it on his own.
    Better still, get people to visit you and ignore him when they come in, let him go to them.
     
  4. baba

    baba PetForums Newbie

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    My dog was like that. Even more nervous as she started snapping at people. Does your dog like treats, or maybe toys? Have some with you and try to ask people that want to speak to your pup to give him a treat or a toy. Never push your dog into "speaking" to people. A good thing would also be to make him feel more comfortable in crowdy areas. Good places are training classes, parks or outside busy shops. Give your dog a lot of attention in places like that, play with him, or just let him watch and relax. What I found really good was strange people giving my dog treats. She soon knew people meant good things. I know for some people it's sometimes impossible to speak to a pup when they see it but you should ask them to wait, sit down and let your pup come to them, sniff their hand. Socialization class is good as dogs are handled by different people there. Good luck!
     
  5. kaisa624

    kaisa624 PetForums VIP

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    When Holly was first going out, we gave people a treat to give to her. Just try not to fuss him too much.
     
  6. Matrix/Logan

    Matrix/Logan PetForums VIP

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    I would ask dog friendly people that you meet to give him treats (obviously that you provide for them), even if they just chat to you and drop the odd treat near him to begin with, once he starts seeing this as a positive you should find that he happily anticipates strangers as 'treat givers'.

    You have to ignore his behaviour when he is being nervous, don't engage with him at all as he will see that as you rewarding the negativeness. You only praise him for enganging in a positive way with people. If i were you i would take him to as many people places as possible, vets, training school, town and just get him seeing that people bring positive things i.e the treats!

    Good luck! Hope things improve for you soon. X
     
  7. Daggre

    Daggre PetForums Member

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    If people stop to say hello, ask them to be calm,a dn steady, not all excited and 'aww look a puppy, lets pet it' because that sort of projected excited energy couldmake the puppy nervous.

    I think it would be a good idea too ask the people to give the dog treats (allow the dog to come to them) and as said, don't try and pet him in his nervbous state. Puppy classes will definately help too.
     
  8. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Puppy classes are only a good idea where there are calm people and nervous dogs are allowed to work at their own pace.

    Don't force your dog to meet anyone or even restrain him and allow people to approach. You can do real damage at this age and with this breed (am I right in thinking he's GSD?).

    Respond appropriatley to his distance increasing signalling - learn how to recognise that.

    Work at distances that are established by watching puppy closely - if he sees people but does not show distance increasing signalling. See person - yummy into mouth and repeat A LOT.
     
  9. HB2210

    HB2210 PetForums Junior

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    Yes he is a German Shepherd, what does distance signalling mean ? (forgive my ignorance)
     
  10. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Not ignorance at all - great that you want to learn ;)

    Distance increasing signalling is social signalling that one dog uses to get a little more time and space during an interaction.

    Some pics here that might help:
    Calming Your Cerrrrraaaazzzzzy Canine – Under Pressure « pawsitive dogs

    Things such as pupil dilation, whites of eyes showing (whale eye), lip licks, freezing, tensing up, averted gaze, yawns, body rolls (like shaking off water) etc. in context would let you know that its time to stop and back up.

    Also this thread here with lots and lots and lots of resources: http://www.petforums.co.uk/dog-training-behaviour/88630-dog-body-language-why-matters-so-much.html
     
  11. HB2210

    HB2210 PetForums Junior

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    Just dont want to get it wrong and emd up with a traumatised scared dog when he gets bigger so appreciate the help x
     
  12. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Right - this is the time to work on human friendliness - keep encouraging dog-dog friendliness too. Check out dogstardaily.com for lots and lots and lots on puppy rearing and socialisation. Sign up and get two great puppy books for free: Before and After you Get Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar - you can't lose!!
     
  13. HB2210

    HB2210 PetForums Junior

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    Thank you x
     
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