Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Timid Dog

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by RustyB, Nov 15, 2007.


  1. RustyB

    RustyB PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi, I am new to the forum. I have recently adopted a rescue dog, he is an 18 month old border collie called Rusty, apparently he was found as a stray. He is the most lovable dog and so affectionate, He is now putting on weight and his coat is looking a lot better now that i brush him at least once a week. The only problem that I have with him is that he is so so timid, he is frightened of anything and everything, even if I sneeze or cough he jumps in his bed, when I take him for a walk he is very nervous and jumpy. Although I must say in the four weeks we have had him I have seen a little improvement. My Grandson who is only 4 goes up to him gently and gives him a little treat, but Rusty won't move out of his bed or eat his treat until my Grandson has gone out of the room. It makes you wonder what this poor little animal has been through. Any advice or direction would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    RustyB's Mum
     
  2. dh.dti

    dh.dti Guest

    Firstly welcome to the site:)

    As for advice, I'm sure you are already but be very patient, tollerent & reward the dog for every thing good.

    The dog has obviously been through hell & needs to learn to trust again!

    hth
    :)
     
  3. Jenny Olley

    Jenny Olley PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,963
    Likes Received:
    448
    Its very easy with a dog as nervous as rusty to believe he has been beaten and neglected prior to you getting him. It is just as possible that he has just had no experience of things, so he sees everything as a hazard. He was probably a farm bred collie, so didn't see much of life in his early days, he may have then gone to an owner that didn't get him out and about seeing things.
    Unfortunately a dog of 18 months needs to experience the same thing again and again to gain confidence of it.
    If you have a garden, I suggest you take your dog and grandson out there so rusty does not feel trapped. Get your grandson to throw high quality food that rusty likes away from him and let rusty run to get it. This must always be done under your supervision, a dog as scared as rusty, may bite.
    Try to get him playing, chasing a ball, tugging. if you can get him to grab a toy, let him win all the time to build his confidence.
    It will be a long slow progress, he will never be a lion, but I have seen many dogs like rusty, gain a good quality of life.
    Contact a behaviourist in your area to help with confidence building, if they suggest classes, look for outdoor ones, not one in a hall, he will probably freak.
     
  4. colliemerles

    colliemerles PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Messages:
    39,167
    Likes Received:
    2,572
    i agree with the above, lots of love and in time he will improve, at least he has a caring owner now,:D
     
  5. RustyB

    RustyB PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thankyou for your replies, obviously you are all experienced dog owners and I will be happy to try what you suggest, who knows given a couple of months Rusty will be as happy with me as I am with him and he will at least be a little more confident, thanks again. ;)

    RustyB
     
  6. dh.dti

    dh.dti Guest

    I'm sure he will
    :)
     
  7. Louka

    Louka PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Welcome to the forums. I'm a newbie to them too. It's great to hear that people as caring as you are giving adopted dogs a second chance. This forum certainly seems like the people care and have good advice to offer. I wish you all the best and look forward to hearing how the rehabilitation efforts go.
     
  8. Vixie

    Vixie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Messages:
    18,554
    Likes Received:
    270
    Hi I have three border collies a 13 year old a 1 year old and a 6 month old pup. The pup I have was also a rescue he was kept in a shed with no interaction. He was extremely anxious and timid at first and would cower when a hand came anywhere near him. But with plenty of walks play and rewards he is slowly coming out of his shell I also took him to dog training whitch gave him confidence. I was lucky that I had other dogs at home whitch helped him feel more at home as he was kept with another dog previously. I know at 18 months this may take a little longer but the end result will be well worth it. Border collies are a lovely breed of dog. Good Luck and hope all goes well.
     
  9. RustyB

    RustyB PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for the reply, I'm glad your little pup is gaining confidence. Rusty is getting better day by day he is such a lovable dog, I am enquiring about dog training classes in the area and hopefully with a bit of time and effort he will gain confidence too.
     
  10. Vixie

    Vixie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    Messages:
    18,554
    Likes Received:
    270
    hope everything goes well, keep us posted
     
  11. Nina

    Nina PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Messages:
    4,921
    Likes Received:
    230
    Hi and welcome to the forum.

    I basically would agree with the above comments. Boarder Collies can be a little nervie anyway, but with patience and lots of inter action, you should see a great improvement.

    I would strongly suggest that your young Grandson be supervised around him. Young children can pull dogs tails etc not understanding the implications, and of course dogs do not understand, hence a potential hazard.

    Training classes is a great suggestions for you both and there should be one near you. Ask around for recommendations as some are better than others.

    Best of luck.
     
  12. kris

    kris PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Boy can I relate! I adopted my dog (a border collie/chow mix) from a shelter at 6 months of age. She had been kicked around by an owner and subsequently was not socialized with people until I took her home. She has a naturally quiet/timid personality and exhibited almost identical behaviors to what you are describing. A year later, we have made vast improvements. The above mentioned tips are good and I will give you a few more that seemed to help me with my dog. First, patience is key. Leash training is the first step in this. Take him for walks properly so that he learns to trust you and look to you for guidance. Second, make interactions with new people/places as calm and painless as possible. Don't allow her to hide when strangers come over. Once they have walked in and seated themselves (floor or couch where it is not a tight space), put a leash on her and lead her to them. When she is calm, reward her with praise and treats. Allow the other person to hold the leash and calmly pet and talk to her while giving her treats. Keep in mind, it may take several minutes to an hour for her to calm down and relax. Introduce him to the outside world slowly. Going for walks in quiet neighborhoods is a great way to start. Don't allow strangers to pet him during these outings as the dog sees this as a negative interaction. Like my dog, your dog is good with other dogs. Use this to your advantage. Dog parks are great places to teach dogs that other people are good. They pick up on the behaviors of the more outgoing dogs that approach you and other strangers. This gave my dog a big boost of confidence about approaching strangers given enough exposure to it. Remember, because your dog was not socialized with humans, it doesn't understand our behaviors. For example, smiling to a dog can indicate aggression because we are showing our teeth. Leaning forward is also aggressive in dog world because you are moving your chest forward. Petting the dog on the top of the head is also a dominant dog behavior. Ironically, these are all things that people do when they see a dog. As your dog becomes more comfortable on walks with you, you can start allowing people to interact, but only in the way you describe. If your dog appears curious about a person, and the person is willing to help you, start by having the person squat down or sit. Then lead your dog to them, calmly. Have the person reach out their hand. If the dog sniffs the hand and doesn't appear frightened, allow the person to pet the dog under the chin only and maybe give the dog a treat.

    These things were key to me helping my dog not be so afraid of "people world". A year later, she is still a little timid, but has made vast improvements. She readily greets strangers now and has learned that people, in general, are pretty good sources of attention, belly rubs, and treats. If you want more advice about specific behaviors, I have some more tips, just ask. Best of luck!
     
  13. kris

    kris PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I almost forgot...border collies in general are very intelligent and eager to please their master. Use this to your advantage. For example, I taught my dog the command "say hello". This tells her to approach the person that I indicate and sniff or lick their hand and allow them to pet her. In this way, she is approaching a stranger, but she is doing it because I told her to. Because she knows that she is obeying my command, it gives her confidence and loosens her up. She usually ends up enjoying it so much that she will eagerly continue to "say hello" to everyone in the room, forgetting any trepidation that she previously had. It took about 6 months of intense "timidness therapy" before she felt comfortable doing this, but now she loves it.

    Another idea is to bring strangers outside with you and play with the dogs while the strangers are present. Keep in mind, that the strangers should not be paying attention to the dog, but just sort of in the background. Eventually the dog will loosen up and forget they are there.

    I guess the moral of the story with timidness is to think outside the box. Use the things your dog naturally enjoys (other dogs, learning tricks, etc) to help them feel more confident in the outside world and with other people.
     
  14. He' got a lovely smile!
     
  15. RustyB

    RustyB PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thankyou kris for your advice, Rusty seems to be gaining more and more confidence, but he is still very frightened of young children, he won't come out of his bed when my grandson visits but as soon as he has gone out he comes. Also when walking in the park if there are children around he just goes down on his tummy and won't move, but yesterday when I took him there he was not as bad I'm trying very hard to encourage him that they will not harm him, I'm sure with this encouragement he will over come the fear.
     
  16. Jenny Olley

    Jenny Olley PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Messages:
    1,963
    Likes Received:
    448
    Sounds like he's coming on really well, as people have pointed out it will take time, enjoy the success you are having and build on it.
     
  17. PatioDogDoors

    PatioDogDoors PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    2
    i hope he feels better as soon as posible
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice