Worried about timid Tucker

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Maxy24, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    Tucker has proven to be a very shy puppy. I have ever in my life met a puppy that was shy, I've only met over the top happy to see you puppies and the occasional calm puppy whose still more than happy to have a stranger come over and give him a pat.


    When a stranger approaches him he runs away, if he's on leash he'll hide behind whoever is holding it. Mom said on his walk when he did this she picked him up and gave him to the people and he was fine and with another person the woman just talked to him and he eventually walked over and sniffed her then was okay with her petting him. He still does the running away thing with my uncle (comes over every day), dad, and both brothers (that live here) when they enter the room but eventually comes over to them if they encourage him over.

    Today we went to the park/playground. It has a big field with a baseball diamond and soccer field and a playground part. I was hoping he'd get to meet some people but as soon as he got out of the car his tail was plastered to his belly so we set up in the shade and just sat far away from the playground but near the pathway leading from the parking lot to the playground so he could get used to the place and watch people as they passed. He just laid there and spun his head around at the sounds of voices and kids playing with toys. I gave him treats when he looked at people who passed by. eventually he stopped caring about the noises and just looked up when people passed. I tried to walk him around the field but he would just walk and my heels and sit at my feet when I stopped.

    A man, woman, and their two 1 year olds came over to see him, they were awesome, sat down, kids completely ignored Tucker and just sat there. Parents sat talking to us and called to the puppy here and there. Tucker hid under my mom's chair. I used some ham to get him to come out (step by step) but he wouldn't get within a foot of the people. Basically he went as far as to get his butt out from under the chair and that's it. I let the man try and give him ham, he wouldn't get close enough to take it at first, I had to feed him ham closer and closer to the man's hand until he finally took it and went back under the chair. The people probably sat there for 10-15 minutes and he never warmed up.


    I'm really, really worried he's gonna turn into a fear biter/anxious mess if we don't do something soon. I think I'm gonna try taking him to the park every day I can until I leave and tell them to bring him at least 3 times a week once I go. Do you think we can do something about this? Anyone have experience with shy puppies? What did you do/how did it turn out?
     
  2. Baxter'smybaby

    Baxter'smybaby swimming upstream

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    didn't you say that he hadn't even walked on grass by himself when you got him? He's got alot of acclimating to do! it sounds like you are on the right path--positive associations with new things and people.
    How old is Tucker? There are several "fear" periods with puppies (can't remember exactly what age)--so that may be contributing.
    Are you going to take him to puppy class? Maybe some clicker training too--if he is not afraid of the noise.
     
  3. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    Building his confidence is important, it's great that he finally did get to where he took ham from the man. What nice, patient people.

    Clicker training is good for confidence building, as it's rewarding their successes in a tangible way.

    If you don't like clickers, confidence boosting games is good too. Puzzle games, or tug of war (where he always wins), things like that.
     
  4. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    Socialize, socialize, socialize, gradually increasing the exposure to other people and dogs so you don't overwhelm him, let him retreat when he feels like he needs to without scolding, and make sure that you end up on a positive note before you leave.

    Pretty much exactly what you're already doing :)
     
  5. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    yes, he had never been on the ground outside. I actually think that may be contributing to some of the issues, I don't think he met many people from the ground, I think he was in the foster mom's arms. He walks really well in the yard now, he doesn't respect the boundary of the leash (if he wants to go somewhere and you don't let him he starts throwing a fit) but otherwise is fine outside on the leash. I do think he is scared of new surroundings just as much as new people though. He is about 11 weeks old now. He's not going to puppy class as far as I know. I have started some clicker training at home, he's caught on very quickly to that. We'll keep up the socialization and see if we can incorporate some clicker training in new places. He loves tug but was a bit too nervous to play at the park until near the end.
     
  6. Baxter'smybaby

    Baxter'smybaby swimming upstream

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    puppy class could serve him well from the socialization stand point--if you find a good class/trainer.
     
  7. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    This is actually a good sign. For the time being, I'd give him lots of leway to explore however he wants to, within reason/safety, of course. Getting to satisfy that curiosity is good for him.

    Well....it sounds like he may have missed out on a lot of that early socialization we always talk about....if he had never experienced walking on grass and such...and that he finds people frightening. Hmmm. Well, like it was already said, the more he can get exposure to new things that are never over-whelming or frightening, the better. Lots of positive associations with new things etc. You know the drill. I hope when you're gone, the other family members will follow through completely. It is worrisome that it could be not only inadequate socialization, but also his temperament. Hopefully, these next 4 or 5 weeks will make a difference. Best of luck.
     
  8. Lizmo

    Lizmo Water Junkie

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    This is a different, but why not wait to let him warm up to the person rather than being picked up and shoved into a person's arms?

    Have toooons of people come over at different times and just kind of ignore him till he sees what fun people can be. Then when he does start to come over (I have a feeling curiousity might get the best of him after a while ;) ) have lots of yummy treats for him. Maybe have your friends sit on the floor quietly, maybe pick up one of his toys, and just kind of start to play with it on the floor and let him naturally come over then praise him like he just did The. Best. Thing.
     
  9. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    ^ This. I agree. Let him warm up on his own terms and his own time, but given ample opportunities.
     
  10. elegy

    elegy overdogged

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    if you have access to a good puppy class with a trainer who is experienced with shy puppies, i think it would be a very good investment. there's more control over the environment, and more control and direction (by an "authority figure") over the people interacting with him.

    i'd have people tossing food at him instead of requiring him to go up to people to get it. requiring him to interact with scary strangers sounds like too much pressure for him right now, and instead of warming him up to strangers, you may be risking turning him off food rewards.
     
  11. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    I wouldn't make the food dependent on his behavior at all where strangers are concerned. Treats come in the mere presence of strangers, not whether or not he interacts with them.
     
  12. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    Yesterday he made some real progress. We took him to the farmer's market that they have downtown every Saturday on the common. Basically a bunch of booths are set up with people selling veggies and hand made things. However most of the common is not chalk full of people, just the area where the booths are. When we first put him down on the grass his tail was tucked but a woman with a dog (Westie) showed up and he was very interested in the dog. When he got near the dog and realized the dog was very interested in him all his hackles went up and he stayed away but his tail was wagging (up) and he was sniffing from afar. The woman was good and didn't let her dog get too close. When they left he ran over to sniff where the dog had been and kept his tail up. He actually contniued to sniff the grass and lead me instead of running at my heels and never tucked his tail again.

    I walked him beside the booth area at first but I let him take me where he wanted, which was right into the booths. The first person who wanted to see him was actually selling dog leashes and collars and was very respectful of him, didn't try to pet him at all but fed him treats that she had. He quickly warmed up to her but was pretty interested in everything else going on, not in getting attention. From there on we were stopped about every 20-30 seconds lol. Not everyone wanted to pet him, some just asked questions about him. Luckily everyone who did want to pet him was very respectful and after I said he was shy, just knelt and waited for him to come check them out and seem comfortable before petting him. He never tried to avoid the petting when people did that so I was really happy. He would actually run right up to people, sniff and then dart back away and slowly move back up to them and then let them pet him. By the end of our time there (maybe 30 minutes) he was warming up to people super fast.

    His only real issue was with children, he didn't want to go anywhere near them. He'd run right over to their parent but avoided them. So I used lots of ham in their presence and had them give him ham which he was happy to do so long as they didn't try and touch him. Again we were super lucky in that all the kids listened super well and didn't try to do anything besides give the treat.

    He was iffy with dogs also, super confident with their back end but all hackles with their heads. It's funny because when he first met Phoebe he ran up and play bowed and everything, totally wanting to play. Phoebe absolutely hates him, scared beyond beleif. I feel bad he has no animals to play with. The cats have actually tried to play with him but he doesn't understand that their play swats are diferent from their angry swats and they don't have the slightest idea what a play bow is lol.

    So things are progressing, hopefully it continues.
     
  13. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Well, that sound promising. Maybe the shyness is in good part, on account of him being in a new situation, new home, new people... and that he's very young. Hopefully with lots of positive experiences, he'll over come a lot of this. I'm glad he had a good day! And you too.
     
  14. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    He sounds -- with the exception of the kids -- like he's just about at the "normal puppy" stage :) Good job! Keep doing what you're doing; it's working.

    Oh, and Kharma says, "good call on the kids." :rofl1:
     

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