Help for a Very Shy Puppy

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by RavenWildharber, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. RavenWildharber

    RavenWildharber New Member

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    We have adopted a 6 month old puppy from a shelter. When she was 10weeks old she got very ill. From what we read this occurred during her Fear Imprint period. She currently is intimidated by all people. She is pitiful. She won't leave her cage, when we force her out, she hides away in a corner. When we approach her, she shakes violently. She is not an aggressive dog. She is extremely passive.

    We have read about shy dogs and the suggestions were to make sure we don't reward her shy behavior. We should only scratch her and love on her when she is acting more brave. Our problem is, she is always scared. She is never brave.

    We are trying to work on gaining her trust. I don't want to screw that up by avoiding her, but I don't want to cause her undue stress either.

    Right now, she just makes us sad. She howls all night and is pitiful during the day. Any suggestions would be extremely appreciated. We have had trouble finding good info, but I'm sure we aren't the first to deal with this problem.
     
  2. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    My best advice with a shy puppy is to tell you to follow your heart.

    I once sat on my grandmother's concrete laundry room floor for most of the day, talking softly to the young female German Shepherd someone had rescued from a brutal owner and brought to Nanny. It took hours and patience, but she finally came out and tentatively sniffed at me and let me stroke her.

    I'm not so sure that the rules about "shy" behavior apply in your puppy's case. Fear and shyness aren't the same things. She needs constant love and reassurance from you; soft words, treats, very tender touching and gentle enticements to play with toys that she can carry back to her "safe place" when she wants. (A Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter or cheese is great.) Your puppy needs to learn that her world is a safe place, and she needs to learn to play. Her emotional and intellectual development were sidetracked - or completely derailed - when she was ill, and now it's time to move her back toward a more normal outlook.

    Please let us know how things are progressing.
     
  3. RavenWildharber

    RavenWildharber New Member

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    Thank you!

    Thank you for the encouragement. I think we might have been going on the wrong path a bit. We were forcing her out to us at night and that was making her more fearful. We have given her, her space the rest of this week and she is coming along a bit. She came out of her crate for the first time last night when we were in an ajoining room. I'm guessing she is gaining some trust. We have spent many hours this week, just talking to her and loving her. The only physical contact we are allowing ourselves with her right now is to brush her, because the thought of her enduring matted fur is not nice. That would hurt and probably scare her more. She has taken to being brushed and if we stop, she will look over like "please, more". She won't yet approach us, but is becoming more curious. I wish she could understand English and our words that assure her that nothing bad will EVER happen to her in our home. Our hope is that at some point in the future she will understand that and at least be a happy dog in our home. We are in this for the long haul and it might be a VERY long haul. We have a trainer coming out next week that is going to train us to help her.

    Thank you again!

     

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