Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trouble with being timid....

Charlie has all of a sudden become.. TERRIFIED of EVERYTHING!!!

He's always been shy around new people over the past week its gotten so much worse! I tried to take him on a walk (by himself) and despite the fact that I was on a quite street he was darting in and out and crying the entire time. :( I took him to the pet store with Beau and he had the same panicked reaction... When people try to pet him (even very gently hold a hand out for a sniff) he bolts the other direction! I don't know what to do because at home he is wild crazy and boisterous but as soon as hes alone or somewhere 'new' hes miserable! :(

Anyone else had a timid scared pup? I hope its a stage... all I can think of to do is keep dragging him everywhere I can... but its so bad that people give me funny looks when my cute puppy runs and cries from a welcoming hand :/

Today I tried a solo walk with a handful of treats and we made it halfway down the street with no anxiety but when we went for ice cream with Beau he was crying and wanting to be held or run away the whole time even though I was offering treats and the doggy ice cream!

Oh Charlie...


  1. Kirby (he's 12.5 weeks now) was extremely fearful of other people and dogs for the first few weeks we got him. Now we have the opposite problem- he jumps up on people and rushes dogs... he has no doggy manners.

    It could be a phase. I think you have the right idea- lots of treats! My neighbors have a formerly aggressive german shepherd pup, and they used the food tube listed on this page:

    I'm not promoting the site or the trainer- I don't know her, but I know it was a quick way to deliver quality treats for my neighbor. She would get something that the dog REALLY loved, and then slowly have her dog approach me. We got closer and closer every day until he finally let me pet him without growling. I don't know if the same tactic would work, but maybe? Good luck! I know when Kirby was shy people would think we beat him or something. "What kind of puppy runs away from people?!" It sounds like you're doing things right. :)

    PS: Be careful what you wish for- Now Kirby gets so excited when new people come over that he sometimes pees when he's wagging his tail at them. :/

  2. Thanks Kerry! Charlie isn't aggressive he just wants to RUN AWAYY :(

    Its so confusing because at home with my family he does to the wagging the nub and wiggle pee on the floor dance if we don't get him outside fast enough!

  3. when dash was really young he was very people friendly but very dog shy. we had to go to several puppy socials before he stopped hiding under the chairs. the trainers there gave him treats for being out in the open with the other pups so i think that helped. good luck! keep us posted.

  4. It's an aussie's nature to be wary of strangers so it's not surprise that he is timid! My Simon still doesn't like to be approached by strangers and often does shy away.
    First off, if he wants to run away, don't force him to stay. That will make it worse in his mind (and can cause aggression in the long run). If he's out somewhere, follow him to where he wants to run and try getting him to take a few steps towards the scary thing with treats. Really, really good treats - not dry - I would even use people food in times like this. Hot dogs, leftovers, whatever I had that was delicious so he started to get the idea that delicious treats come with outings and meeting people. If you can set up meetings, have a person give him treats. If he'll take the treat, victory! If he won't, he's overly stressed and you need to get him away from the situation or risk setting his training back. Food overcomes fear so if it doesn't work - he's really scared and you need to protect him.
    You need to keep getting him out, but under very close supervision. If you take him to the park and there's a dog that makes him overly nervous, leave right away. What you want to try and demonstrate is that meeting people is delicious and fun, but if he's scared, you'll make sure and protect him from the "threat". Otherwise he may eventually feel the need to protect himself and become aggressive. The biggest thing with a fearful dog is not to push him, encourage, but don't push. If you push a fearful dog to take on something they aren't ready for, you can actually get the opposite result of more fear. This doesn't mean coddling or picking up and petting, just letting him tell you what he needs and providing reassurance that you'll be there.
    Patricia McConnel has a great book called The Cautious Canine about fear in dogs. Her books are so helpful to learn about dog behavior (just like Kerry, I'm not promoting her for any sort of gain, I just found her work really, really helpful) She's super insightful about dogs.
    Good Luck! It's tough when everyone wants to pet your dog and he wants no part of it - but just explain he's shy!

  5. I can't recommend strongly enough that you bookmark

    Fear biting can come from nervousness and be a real challenge. I'm not suggesting that you are headed in that direction, but I do believe that confidence will be your dog's best friend, and finding a way to instill it sounds like a good start.

  6. My suggestion would be to introduce him to new people in his most comfortable environment ( at home). Have your visitors get down to his level, be calm and move slowly, and offer goodies and toys.
    For dog interactions start with calm friendly little dogs smaller than him.
    Try not to reward his behavior by codling him. Lauren has very good advice.


We love reading our comments! Thanks for reading!