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Hello all,
I’ve recently started showing my 7 month old miniature poodle but he’s so nervous outside of the house. Inside he’s always bubbly with his tail upright and wagging but the minute we go out the house his tail is between his legs. What can I do to make him happier ?? Any tips will be greatly appreciated ? thanks
 

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How much socialisation and experience of the world did he have as a young puppy? At 7 months he will be wary of anything new that is unfamiliar, and if it proves scary that will confirm his fears. I would look at the world from his perspective, and plan lots and lots of small, happy experiences. Don't overwhelm or force him, but always have a pocketful of good treats and set out to teach him what a happy place the world can be.
 
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Have you taken handling classes?
 

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Yes he goes to handling classes and has done since we got him at 12 weeks. We take him for regular walks to the park but still nervous. Maybe I’ll just persevere and keep trying
 

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Take him to all sorts of environment, especially busy ones. Busy streets, baseball games, soccer games, anywhere there are lots of people, kids screaming, cars passing by. He needs to experience the outside in many forms.
 

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He needs lots of experiences, but make sure that they are happy ones. I always reckon that 20 happy positive, happy experiences proof against one minor set back - rather like a bank account you can draw upon in an emergency. Take him to places where he can watch people, dogs etc from a distance - perhaps just sitting on a chair outside the house at first - and play the Look at That game with really good treats; protect him from anything that worries him by taking evasive action (cross the road, turn around, walk in a wide curve) or if necessary stepping forward and body blocking, so that he learns he can rely upon you; start small - a walk somewhere quiet with another friendly dog would be ideal - take it slowly and never force him to "face his fears" or you will undo all the previous work. Watch him closely to try and pin point just what it is that worries him - Poppy disliked people looming over her, but was very happy to greet them if they crouched down; Sophy hates big vehicles that come too close. Once you know you can avoid those triggers while you build up his confidence.

Have there been any specific experiences you can think of that might have contributed to his fearfulness? Something that startled or frightened him?
 
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Yes to fjm's advice! Always short positive exposures to the world rather than "flooding" his senses with loads of stimuli, which you cannot control. At 7 months, he's ripe for a second fear period. Little things can have a big impact.

I see lots of toys and minis out and about with their tails firmly tucked and an overall nervous demeanour. Could it be that they've been accidentally stepped on a lot? Or even that they were stepped on just once at a critical time? Or even almost stepped on? A colleague once dropped his sunglasses on my mini mix while bending down to pet her, and, despite being a pretty confident little lady, she NEVER forgot or let down her guard around him.
 

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What does he breeder say? Do you have a co-ownership with him? Are you doing owner handled or will you use a handler ? Back when I had show dogs I used a handler, mainly because she knew how to have him perform. I would speak with his breeder and see what is suggested, every breeder wants one of their pups to do well.
 
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