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Old 12-25-2012, 07:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Fearful? Shy? Unsocialized?

So I have a question for those who have had experience with a fearful or unconfident dog before. I'll give you a little run-through of her behaviors with certain situations.
  1. Walks
    Lucy does great on walks! While I haven't taken her too far, I do take her to the area where she has to potty in our apt. complex and she will always walk right beside me or a little behind me. This is awesome because she hadn't been on a leash prior to this. She is so smart!!!
  2. People
    When she hears someone pull up outside, she will bark. Totally expected that. She won't come greet anyone unless I am around though. She will pretty much just stay in her bed in her crate. (her crate only has 3 sides, the front is completely open) If someone walks in my room (I have noticed she mostly does this with men) she will growl a little. Not showing her teeth, but the little under the breath type growl..sorry it is late lol!! After about 5 minutes she will go investigate. I have asked everyone to mainly ignore her as she doesn't want any affection. She seems almost annoyed by all the attention. I did give my dad a few treats to give her when they came in. He also sat in my room with us by her crate and tossed her treats. He is very sweet with her and the most understanding. (Forgot to add that I only live with my grandmother, my small family just came over for dinner today) I think everyone expected her to be super friendly and social and are disappointed that she is not. It is upsetting to hear their remarks, but they just don't understand her situation. I'm sure they'd be frightened too if they were only 10 inches tall surrounded by new 5-6 ft tall people with a weird language! I have work to do with her around people, she is still very shy.
  3. Dogs
    Well on her first and second day she did fine around them. No barking, just ignored them. However, the people above us had their border collie out w/o a leash on (!!!) in the parking lot (double !!!!!) and he ran right up to Lucy. Thankfully he is not aggressive but she did cower in fear and bark at him. Once the man came and got his dog she was fine and walked off like she had just fought the dog off, barking and walking all confident LOL! But I don't have any worries with the dogs. She lived with 4 others. Will continue to walk her around them though of course.
  4. Play
    No interest in play. She has toys but she doesn't even touch them.


So what can I do to help her gain confidence??? I use the clicker with her and she does great with that!! She is very food-oriented.
Suggestions, tips, and any websites/videos would be great! Thanks!!
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:24 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I think you're doing the right things, Lucy probably just needs to settle in. A really good thing to do is what you did with your dad, give people who might seem scary to her (eg men) treats to give to her. Also, experts advise that we shouldn't sympathize with our dogs when they are unsure, because it makes them think there is a reason for their anxiety; just be matter of fact and calm. I think she's going to do just fine, she probably just needs to settle in and feel comfortable. She looks like a real sweetie!
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think you're doing the right things, Lucy probably just needs to settle in. A really good thing to do is what you did with your dad, give people who might seem scary to her (eg men) treats to give to her. Also, experts advise that we shouldn't sympathize with our dogs when they are unsure, because it makes them think there is a reason for their anxiety; just be matter of fact and calm. I think she's going to do just fine, she probably just needs to settle in and feel comfortable. She looks like a real sweetie!
Thank you!! I was a little concerned but after looking at some websites and videos, I realize her behavior is not that bad and she is probably still just very scared. Thank you for your advice
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Old 12-26-2012, 01:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd get hold of a copy of "Love has no age limit" by Dr Patricia McConnell - it is primarily intended for those adopting adult dogs from a shelter, but many of the principles are the same for Lucy - I think it is available as an e-book, but a hard copy you can lend to your family may be more useful. Everything is still very new, and different, and worrying for Lucy - keep a calm routine and the gentle introductions you are doing, don't push her (especially don't let anyone force themselves on her when she is unable to escape), and I am sure her confidence will increase in leaps and bounds. I would take care to keep up happy introductions to dogs when you are out and about, though - dogs can be very different in the way they relate to their house mates rather than strangers, so don't take anything for granted!
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:02 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Give her some time, this is all new to her.Go slow with new people and other dogs, all things a little at a time, I think when she finds out that she is safe, your not going to let anyone, or anything hurt her, she will be just fine.Put yourself in her place, if you were little , got moved somewhere, you did not know anyone there, everything was bigger, then you, and you did not know what was going on , what would you do ? And what would you think ? Takes a little time to bild up trust.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjm View Post
I'd get hold of a copy of "Love has no age limit" by Dr Patricia McConnell - it is primarily intended for those adopting adult dogs from a shelter, but many of the principles are the same for Lucy - I think it is available as an e-book, but a hard copy you can lend to your family may be more useful. Everything is still very new, and different, and worrying for Lucy - keep a calm routine and the gentle introductions you are doing, don't push her (especially don't let anyone force themselves on her when she is unable to escape), and I am sure her confidence will increase in leaps and bounds. I would take care to keep up happy introductions to dogs when you are out and about, though - dogs can be very different in the way they relate to their house mates rather than strangers, so don't take anything for granted!

Thank you for the book suggestion, I just bought it on ebay

I think I'm just worrying too much and she will be fine. She is coming out of her shell and I think she will be a wonderful little dog when she gains confidence and learns no one is going to hurt her. Thank you so much for the advice!!
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I know exactly what you mean - I worried so much that Poppy was fearful when she was a pup, until I read up on truly fearful dogs, and realised she just needed lots and lots of careful socialisation to be perfectly OK! Excellent information here: Fearfuldogs' Blog on helping shy and fearful dogs.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Poor baby, I have no real advice that hasn't already been given. I think that certain lines are more outgoing than others. My toy poodle was and still is very outgoing(so is my mini). Nothing scares her except other dogs but she was attacked as a 3 mon old. Everyone falls in love with her that meets her as she knows no strangers.. Another toy I know is like that. Under socialized dogs (from even outgoing lines) can be quite shy but can turn around with careful socialization. Good luck!


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Old 12-27-2012, 09:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks to all! Great info! Lou was shy, but was warming up quickly. Some people hate me for doing this, but after she got attacked by 2 dogs ( she did not get hurt) she was very scared of dogs, and wanted badly to great people (tail wagging) but would back up when they tried to pet her, it was getting better, But again what people hated me for doing was sending her to a 2 week dog resort and training center! I researched it a ton!! And the place seemed awesome! And they introduce 3 new people everyday, and they go slow as the dog gets more comfortable... She played with large group of dogs and got trained and a daily physical exam and got brushed to get used to bring touched by strangers... So, I'm a nervous wreck and Lou would feel my anxiety around people and dogs for not knowing how she was going to react, I think I did a good think for her, because I did not know how to help any further. But again got references and really checked the place out, she even got pictures with Santa on the 23rd!!!! So awesome, this is just MY personal experience, Im not educated to give advice. i wish u the best :-) (sorry long post)


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Old 12-27-2012, 09:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Lou, I can feel your anxiety through your words, and I am sorry if anything I have posted has made it worse! I think there is a huge difference between carefully researching and choosing a boarding/training facility that you know uses kind and positive methods to help with a specific problem and picking one at random that simply claims to return a fully trained dog after 7-14 days.

It does sound as if Lou has had a good holiday - have you worked out how you are going to be happy and up beat with her when you meet potentially scary stuff? I found singing nursery rhymes - or even better, making up rhymes especially for Poppy - helped a lot!
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