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Hello everyone my name is Brandy and I own a year old standard poodle. I would just like to get some advice and some more info on some issues that I am having. This is my first standard and would appreciate some advice from someone with a little more experience. I got Rueben when he was six months old. I work at an animal clinic and the breeder had brought the pups in to get rabies shots for them and said how they were having a hard time selling them. He was in a litter of 6 and they had only sold the one female. I fell in love with him at first sight. I did notice from the begining that he was very skitish and seemed very nervous and untrusting. I took him home and within the first two days he completely bonded with me and my children. He is a wonderful dog and is very gently and obedient. The only issue that I am having is that he is so uncomfortable and untrusting to others. My boyfriend does not live with me but he is at my house and stays every weekend with his dogs. All the dogs get along, but he is so intimidated and afraid of my boyfriend. He has never bonded with him. If my boyfriend gets up rueben just watches him and if he comes close to him or walks his direction he darts. He has no reason to do this. My boyfriend is good to rueben he has never done anything to rueben for him to act this way towards him. He does this to every stanger especially men. He would completely cower or dart when my mother would come near him. we recently went on vacation and she kept him for a week and now when they see each other he is completely fine with her. When i take him in public and people see him and want to pet him it makes him so uncomfortable. I just would like some ideas on how to help this. I know the he needs to be socialized, but honestly i take him to work with me every day. He is with people everyday and i dont feel like i should be having this issue. I know that this probably has something to do with him being uncertain in himself but im not sure how to fix it. I do want to add that I since I have gotten rueben i have seen his littermates come in to get fixed and they all have the same issue they were skitish and untrusting.
 

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How much do you know about this breeder? The issues your dog is having sound very typical of problems found in puppy mill and backyard breeder dogs. He probably wasn't properly socialized with people during those important first few weeks. I would get him enrolled in a basic obedience class. It will help you create a better bond with him and it will give him more confidence.

Good luck!
 

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The best advise i can give you is to get into training classes ASAP!!! Your dog hasnt been properly socialized and the sooner you get him in class the better. I know he already knows basic obedience but the benefits he will get from interacting with other people and other dogs is so worth it!
I am also curious what kind of breeder she was and why momma only had 6 pups, was it her first litter?
 

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I agree about signing up for any kind of class that you can get him into that fits your schedule. My girl Claire was very shy and soft when she came to us at about 4 months old. Her breeder warned me ahead of time that she was shy, but knowing that I planned on doing obedience training felt that she would do well with our family. Her first obedience class made a huge difference, I only use positive reinforcement type training with my girls, and she has really blossomed. Our instructor was amazed at the transformation we saw in her in just 6 weeks of class. We did discuss ahead of time how she was, and she was never pushed or forced to do something that made her uncomfortable.

It does sound as if your boy had a bad start in life, and perhaps was mistreated or ignored. All I can tell you is to keep doing what you are doing, and I hope that his confidence improves. Put in in situations where he has good experiences with strangers, set him up to succeed! Good luck with him.
 

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=Brandy;93964] He was in a litter of 6 and they had only sold the one female. I fell in love with him at first sight. I did notice from the begining that he was very skitish and seemed very nervous and untrusting.
First, congratulations!

Likely that Rueben and littermates were very undersocialized, and not exposed to diverse people, places and things during the first 12 weeks of life, and probably didn't go anywhere/do anything but stay with each other at the breeder's the entire 6 months of his life.

I took him home and within the first two days he completely bonded with me and my children. He is a wonderful dog and is very gently and obedient. The only issue that I am having is that he is so uncomfortable and untrusting to others.
Expose him gradually, through desensitization and counter conditioning. I would also encourage you to build his self-confidence through training class. Enroll ASAP.

My boyfriend does not live with me but he is at my house and stays every weekend with his dogs. All the dogs get along, but he is so intimidated and afraid of my boyfriend. He has never bonded with him. If my boyfriend gets up rueben just watches him and if he comes close to him or walks his direction he darts. He has no reason to do this. My boyfriend is good to rueben he has never done anything to rueben for him to act this way towards him. He does this to every stanger especially men.
Have your boyfriend ignore Rueben, but toss yummy treats to him whenever he enters the room, or walks by Rueben (BF = good things happening). No eye contact w/Rueben, no leaning over him, no direct contact (touch), yet. When approaching Rueben, have your BF walk slowly, turning sideways. Have him yawn, turn his head away from Rueben. These are calming signals which should tell Rueben that he's no threat, all is well. As Rueben gets more comfortable with your BF, and used to treats coming, have your BF get on Rueben's level, or, down on one knee, turned sideways, and hold out a treat. Let Rueben approach him, although your BF can coax verbally. Don't push it.

Being alone with your mother for the week you were gone taught Rueben she's A-OK, and he should come around with your BF as well. He got a large dose of your mom all at once, and over an extended time. Not so with your boyfriend. He's only there on the weekends. Not too sure about him, yet. I always ignore skittish, nervous dogs completely. They end up coming to me of their own accord, for the simple reason that I AM ignoring them.

When i take him in public and people see him and want to pet him it makes him so uncomfortable. I just would like some ideas on how to help this.
I would not push exposure to people close enough so they can touch him. The unwanted reaction will then be reinforced, which is the opposite of what is desired. Figure out the distance of his comfort zone, and keep him there when approaching on-coming people. If it's 10', then don't get any closer than 10'. Avoid any direct contact by turning in an arc to your left, keeping your body between the on-coming person and Rueben. Use "happy talk" to keep his attention on you, and when far enough away, have him sit, and give him a GOOD BOY! and a treat. Again, desensitization and counter conditioning is a sound and scientific approach to behavior modification.

You could hang out for an hour or so at a strip mall, keeping to the parking lot, far enough away, so he's in his comfort zone. Ask for sit, down, sit, shake, etc., and lots of treats. Gradually work your way up to an entrance door for meets and greets as people come and go, lots of praise and treats.

I know the he needs to be socialized, but honestly i take him to work with me every day. He is with people everyday and i dont feel like i should be having this issue. I know that this probably has something to do with him being uncertain in himself but im not sure how to fix it. I do want to add that I since I have gotten rueben i have seen his littermates come in to get fixed and they all have the same issue they were skitish and untrusting.
Given the behavior, and the fact that his "breeder" still had 5 out've 6 puppies for 6 months, I doubt that they were socialized at all, let alone properly, so their isolation and therefore lack of exposure to the world, makes them uncertain and probably scared. You do NOT want to reinforce the fear through force (making him meet/greet people when he's that uncomfortable), which could create a fear-biter, you want to help him come to the conclusion that people = good things happening (yummy treats, a special toy) through gradual exposure, and building his confidence.

Good luck to you, and do keep us posted on his progress!
 

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Mandy was the same way and she was socialized as a pup.
I lived in the country but made a point of bringing her into town often to socialize her.
I got Casey when she was 5 months old and Casey was such a attention hog that she would stand back and let him be pet unless there were older or disabled people for some reason she is and still is drawn to them.
We moved to the city last fall just before she turned 2 and we would go to an off leash park. She never played with other dogs or went near people
Within 2 months she LOVES to run with other dogs and more then anything loves others to pet and cuddle her now.

I now have the oppisite problem and she won't leave people alone if they come over LOL.

So my suggestion is as other posted get into a class and perhaps find a off leash park and just keep going and letting her wander on her own and watch other dogs. Yes she sees other dogs at home but it is good sometimes for her to see many other dogs having a good time.

just a note I leave if I see a dog that its owner is not paying attention to and is aggressive as I don't need a different problem.
My attention is always on my dogs and whats going on around them as if there is a fight at the park i find Casey gets wired and high strung for a 20 min after so I leave or leash him for a bit Mandy just goes the other way
 

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First, congratulations!

Likely that Rueben and littermates were very undersocialized, and not exposed to diverse people, places and things during the first 12 weeks of life, and probably didn't go anywhere/do anything but stay with each other at the breeder's the entire 6 months of his life.



Expose him gradually, through desensitization and counter conditioning. I would also encourage you to build his self-confidence through training class. Enroll ASAP.



Have your boyfriend ignore Rueben, but toss yummy treats to him whenever he enters the room, or walks by Rueben (BF = good things happening). No eye contact w/Rueben, no leaning over him, no direct contact (touch), yet. When approaching Rueben, have your BF walk slowly, turning sideways. Have him yawn, turn his head away from Rueben. These are calming signals which should tell Rueben that he's no threat, all is well. As Rueben gets more comfortable with your BF, and used to treats coming, have your BF get on Rueben's level, or, down on one knee, turned sideways, and hold out a treat. Let Rueben approach him, although your BF can coax verbally. Don't push it.

Being alone with your mother for the week you were gone taught Rueben she's A-OK, and he should come around with your BF as well. He got a large dose of your mom all at once, and over an extended time. Not so with your boyfriend. He's only there on the weekends. Not too sure about him, yet. I always ignore skittish, nervous dogs completely. They end up coming to me of their own accord, for the simple reason that I AM ignoring them.



I would not push exposure to people close enough so they can touch him. The unwanted reaction will then be reinforced, which is the opposite of what is desired. Figure out the distance of his comfort zone, and keep him there when approaching on-coming people. If it's 10', then don't get any closer than 10'. Avoid any direct contact by turning in an arc to your left, keeping your body between the on-coming person and Rueben. Use "happy talk" to keep his attention on you, and when far enough away, have him sit, and give him a GOOD BOY! and a treat. Again, desensitization and counter conditioning is a sound and scientific approach to behavior modification.

You could hang out for an hour or so at a strip mall, keeping to the parking lot, far enough away, so he's in his comfort zone. Ask for sit, down, sit, shake, etc., and lots of treats. Gradually work your way up to an entrance door for meets and greets as people come and go, lots of praise and treats.



Given the behavior, and the fact that his "breeder" still had 5 out've 6 puppies for 6 months, I doubt that they were socialized at all, let alone properly, so their isolation and therefore lack of exposure to the world, makes them uncertain and probably scared. You do NOT want to reinforce the fear through force (making him meet/greet people when he's that uncomfortable), which could create a fear-biter, you want to help him come to the conclusion that people = good things happening (yummy treats, a special toy) through gradual exposure, and building his confidence.

Good luck to you, and do keep us posted on his progress!
great advice!!
 

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just a note I leave if I see a dog that its owner is not paying attention to and is aggressive as I don't need a different problem.
My attention is always on my dogs and whats going on around them as if there is a fight at the park i find Casey gets wired and high strung for a 20 min after so I leave or leash him for a bit.
Not to derail, but I am aggravated at the dog park too- on Sundays, there are two danes that are in love with Pearl, slobber on her (that's fine, par for the course) but harass her, till she is giving warning snarls. The owners ignore it- last week I had to lift one off her- the day after I found out I'm probably going to need back surgery this summer. ARGGGGHHH).

It's a long drive, but I'm going to need to drive twice as far, to one that excludes bully breeds & aggressive dogs- there was a fight between unaltered german shepherd & a pitty while we were there. My dogs were upset. Until I saw the large bully need to get lifted off the GS, I was of the opinion it was a shame most around here don't allow pits, till I saw what could've happened (this was a BIG pitty).

There are kids & smaller dogs there, geez! (At least the guy who was dullard enough to bring a dog aggressive pit to the dog park LEFT. The dane folks just kept shmoozing.)
 

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No problema- I'd rather take my chances in the big dog area (which is basically Danes to 15 lb pups) than to have my dogs trample a maltese! Big dog play can be very ruff. ;) (Alf is an inveterate tail-chewer, Pearl's tail is root beer over blue. Sigh.)
 
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