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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have some ideas on how to build confidence in a shy, timid puppy? I have received some info already, just looking for new or different ideas. Thanks!
 

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Basic obedience is one of the best ways. Enroll it in puppy classes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Eeek.. good point, I just need to find one that will work around my crazy hours. You don't think I can just do it myself at home? Do you think socialization around other people/places/dogs would help or hinder a shy bully? (We're talking about Nala here, 6 mos old.)
 

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Socialization can't hurt but the best way to build confidence is through obedience - I think classes would be best at first so you can work on controlled socialization and also the obedience.
At least at first you can get to doing it right, with the classes. Call around and find a spot that offers them around your work schedule.
The instructor can point out things you're doing or not doing right, too. :)

edited: Do you mean shy with people, or other dogs, or both?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well the only dogs she has ever met are mine, and the neighbors through the fence. She plays well with mine, doesn't pay much attention to the others... but she is shy with ME, shy with everyone. Don't get me wrong, she's happy to see me, wags her tail, comes running and wants to snuggle. But if I approach her, she runs the opposite way and hides.
 

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Wow, that's not good. What do you do when she does that?
The best way to approach a fearful dog is to turn sideways and kneel down, or at least "hunker" down a bit, it makes you seem less imposing.
Try getting down on your hands and knees and "pant", it sounds really weird but it works, trust me, I've managed to catch dogs that could not be caught by doing this. It's simulating a play-bow. Does she or will she come out when you do this?
Have you yelled at or physically punished her to make her fearful? (please don't take offense, it's something many people do) She could be a very sensitive dog and you'll have to be careful how you discipline.
I'd definately get her into obedience classes, it will help you learn the correct way to teach recall, and help her learn it.
It doesn't sound like a biggie but at 6mos. of age this could turn into a lifelong problem with her unless gotten under control now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Honestly? I usually don't do anything.. I'm usually running to find something to clean up the trail of pee she just left as she ran the other way. I've started to block her into the kitchen only so it's easier to clean up on tile than my poor carpet. I try to ignore her completely so she stops peeing. The only time she hears frustration in my voice is when I am running late for work and she's making me chase her down to put her in the basement for the night.

She will come to me... then back away again... then come a little closer... until she finally gets close enough that I can I grab her.

She is very food motivated, she will sit nicely for a treat. But she's so SPAZZ. She is constantly running around playing. (Like any puppy would.) But my other dogs were a little more focused. Much easier to train. (Heaven was, anyway.) She just isn't interested in training. She's so hard to figure out. Some days are better than others. She does much better when alone (away from Heaven and Koa). She's definitely a people lover, she wants constant attention and likes to give kisses. But she's so nervous.
 

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http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1391

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=1612

When we had a lady visits our dog school with her very fearful dog, the trainer asked that she kept the dog leashed and just walked around ignoring the dog, same at home, pop her on a leash tie her to your waste walk around ignoring her no eye contact. He was very persistence that she did not allow the dog to hide. After a few lessons she never returned, she was able to handling the problem herself.

Here's another link on dogs body language.

http://www.wagntrain.com/BodyLanguage.htm
 

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Gosh where to start. I'd start by crating her more. Whenever you cannot work with her. So her day would be like, crate (overnight) take outside in the AMs on a leash.
Then after you take her outside ON A LEASH, walk with her around and bring her back inside, crate her and feed her (in the crate).
Then you go to work or whatever. Come home, leash her and take her outside. Don't LET her get to the point of running away from you. While on the leash (and it should be about 10 ft. long) call her and reel her in. Praise her for coming back to you (even though you reeled her in).
Right now she doesn't sound like she knows what to expect from you.
And you say "grab her" -- whenEVER you call her at this point, she should be leashed so she has to come. Praise and/or treat her for coming.
This is just until you can get her into classes. Honestly, you sound like a very loving and caring person with your dogs but you need to get this under control now.
From your description she could easily become a fear biter.
I dunno what the deal is, it seems like you and I are the only ones online this AM ;) But I'm anxious to hear what, MnP13 has to say, for instance, I have a great deal of respect for her methods of training and will link her to this discussion.
 

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Wow and in the time it took to type that up, someone confirmed that! :)
BTW I TOOK IN (my rescue) a fearful Bloodhound/Poodle mix that someone deliberately bred :puke icon: and she was like that. Drove me insane. The only thing I knew to do was leash her as I described. Do not let her off the leash, even in the house, until this behavior stops. I'd still go for puppy classes, if possible, however!
 

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msvette2u said:
Wow and in the time it took to type that up, someone confirmed that! :)
BTW I TOOK IN (my rescue) a fearful Bloodhound/Poodle mix that someone deliberately bred :puke icon: and she was like that. Drove me insane. The only thing I knew to do was leash her as I described. Do not let her off the leash, even in the house, until this behavior stops. I'd still go for puppy classes, if possible, however!
No eye contact either!
 

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Lots of good advice...

...just an aside on general socialization...when you have her obeying some basics commands...

...take her to busy places to 'work' her...malls, parks, anywhere with people (and a wee bit of space, big close crowds not a good idea, esp. at the beginning)...

...odds are most people will ignore her and those that don't will be positive...

...all this leads to desensitization AND an understanding that crowds can be good...

Start slowly - say 3X a week, for ~10 minutes...and if that goes well...work up in the time you spend out with her...

Watch to make sure she's not getting totally overwhelmed...if so, cut the session short...but don't stop your scheduale...

...and always end on a GOOD note - with a favourite treat and lots of cuddles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Another problem that presents itself here... she won't walk on a leash. She completely resists it. I can't get her to walk with me, I just have to drag her a few feet till she starts to walk on her own, but then she starts all over and tries to get the collar off over her head, or just pulls backwards. (This is why she potties leash-free in the fenced-in yard.)

See, I never had these problems with H & K. They took to a leash right away... they enjoyed training time. They came to me without hesitation. (Well Koa's a little stubborn, but not scared.) I do agree that she could become a fear-biter, that's why I'm so determined to make some changes. At present, I do not allow her around my son. And she's only 6 mos old, she shows no sign of aggression. But when she's 50 pounds and gets startled by something, what's she gonna do then? She such a sweet little puppy right now... it's hard to predict how she will be as an adult. True temperament isn't shown until adulthood, right?

And really, she has had no socialization. The only time she's out in public is at the vet's office. I'm always reading in here that they don't NEED socialization, they only need you. I don't know... I just feel like such a huge failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
One more thing.. I'm not sure if I can get to it tonight, but I am going to post some videos of Nala's behavior, so hopefully you guys can help me evaluate her problem and get a better idea of what she needs.

I have also mentioned to some other members, but have not written about here... that she is not doing well health-wise. She is so nervous that she wolfs down her food really fast (like in less than a minute), then she vomits because she practically swallows it all whole. She does eat the vomit (gross)... but yet she still seems to be losing weight. I feed her much more than she actually needs because her bones are showing, but she just isn't thriving.

Maybe she has worms again... I don't know. I just wish I knew what to do with this pup.
 

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Try feeding her only small amounts, little and often. Placing an open can in her bowl may help slow her down. Not sure if making her eat on her own will slow her down. Feed her by spoon, Roxy's really good at this, they have to take it slowly.

Leash, when she backs off you turn and walk the way she pulling. Try taking small treats with you to encouage her to walk close at your side, be positive and chirpy when she walks nicely.

You got a lot of areas to work in, might be worth making a program up, so you have some kind of routine for Nala.
 

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LuvaBULL said:
One more thing.. I'm not sure if I can get to it tonight, but I am going to post some videos of Nala's behavior, so hopefully you guys can help me evaluate her problem and get a better idea of what she needs.

I have also mentioned to some other members, but have not written about here... that she is not doing well health-wise. She is so nervous that she wolfs down her food really fast (like in less than a minute), then she vomits because she practically swallows it all whole. She does eat the vomit (gross)... but yet she still seems to be losing weight. I feed her much more than she actually needs because her bones are showing, but she just isn't thriving.

Maybe she has worms again... I don't know. I just wish I knew what to do with this pup.
I agree with the suggestion to feed a little at a time - BY HAND. Also, I was told to put a ball in their food bowl (tennis ball sized ball).. that way they gotta work to get to the food and it takes them longer to eat... so they're not soffing it down.
 

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I agree that feeding by hand will help...with BOTH issues...her wolfing her food down and being less 'scared' of you. Also, if you don't always have time to feed her by hand, try spreading her food out on a cookie sheet or putting a big rock in her bowl, so she has to eat around it.

As for walking her, have you tried using a harness instead of a collar? She may feel less 'restrained' that way, kwim? With Rocket, I used to tie his leash to my waist and he adjusted to being on a leash very quickly. I just had it tied to my belt loop as I went about my daily routine (chores, taking care of the kids, etc). It helped housebreak him and got him used to the leash all at the same time.

Good luck!
 

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And really, she has had no socialization. The only time she's out in public is at the vet's office. I'm always reading in here that they don't NEED socialization, they only need you. I don't know... I just feel like such a huge failure.
I am of the belief that a STRONG dog does not need alot of socialiaztion.....their genetics is all they need in order to be a tempermentally superior animal.

I am of the belief that through much conditioning and exposure i.e. "socialization" a dog mediocre in temperament, can be made stronger.

I am of the belief that a weak dog, no matter how much help (conditioning, exposure, socialiation) will never be a strong dog...perhaps with ALOT of work, mediocre at best, but even that is a stretch...you can only do what is within the paramaters of the dogs genetics.

One thing I would not do is force Nala to greet strangers. That could actually make her worse. If you are determined to try and help her you could try motivational style obeidence (hand feeding their meals during ob sessions works great). You can do this while in the presence of people but do not force her to meet them.
 

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I was going to suggest adding water to her food, but handfeeding will help more probably :)
We add water to our doxie's food so he will eat slower.
I think you've had some good luck with your two so far and Nala is an entirely different dog, well they ALL are but you know what I mean. She's going to need alot more work to come as far as your other two have.
 

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Lisa said:
And really, she has had no socialization. The only time she's out in public is at the vet's office. I'm always reading in here that they don't NEED socialization, they only need you. I don't know... I just feel like such a huge failure.
I am of the belief that a STRONG dog does not need alot of socialiaztion.....their genetics is all they need in order to be a tempermentally superior animal.

I am of the belief that through much conditioning and exposure i.e. "socialization" a dog mediocre in temperament, can be made stronger.

I am of the belief that a weak dog, no matter how much help (conditioning, exposure, socialiation) will never be a strong dog...perhaps with ALOT of work, mediocre at best, but even that is a stretch...you can only do what is within the paramaters of the dogs genetics.

One thing I would not do is force Nala to greet strangers. That could actually make her worse. If you are determined to try and help her you could try motivational style obeidence (hand feeding their meals during ob sessions works great). You can do this while in the presence of people but do not force her to meet them.
I agree with this one - a strong dog is a strong dog and a timid dog, usually stays a timid dog - even with alot of work.

What you need to do is give your pup enough confidence to avoid any potential problems, which is very do-able. Although, you must recognise that chances are that your dog will probably always be timid.

You mention that you do not allow her around your son, is there any particular reason for this? I disagree with the people who say socialising won't do anything. I believe that considering your dog hasn't been around the people she will have to deal with every day - she is in dire need of more socialisation that she's getting.

Also if it's possible, try spending 20 minutes a day away from your other dogs - just with her. Spend the time training her. Put her ona lead for 10 mintues ina controlled area. You'll find if you stick with this she'll end up getting it!

With a timid dog, really concentrate on rewarding her big time for doing things right. There's no beating the fact that your going to have to put more time and effort into her than your other dogs.

Like msvette2u said - always get down low and be soft with her when calling her. You'll find over time that she will stop peeing.
 
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