Help! New Puppy - Timid

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by teaspoon, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. teaspoon New Member

    I just picked up a german sheperd puppy yesterday. The puppy had been raised in a kennel with the only human contact being when he was fed. He is now 13 weeks old and scared to death of people. He runs to any corner of the house to hide. Won't even come out to eat. I picked him up and sat him on my lap and petted him and he did stay but as soon as I stood up he ran back to a corner. I understand this is a completely new environment, but I also want a dog that loves me and excited to see me....not run from me. Any suggestions?

    Thanks for you time.

  2. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    It is too soon to expect much from him, but that is still a bit much.

    Don't coax him too much. Don't coddle him. Carry around a bunch of really yummy treats and drop them randomly by him. Don't look at him or anything, just drop a treat and keep on walking. Do this a lot--all day long if you want. This will help him make the connection that people=food, and food is good. :) I know it sounds cruel, but you can't try to convince him to eat...if he's hungry, he will. If he doesn't eat all day, he'll be hungry the next and he'll sneak out to munch. Don't try to put his food close to you to encourage him to come to you. Just put it a good distance away where he can eat without feeling uncomfortable.

    Try not to go to him too much. If he doesn't learn to feel comfortable coming to you, then essentially you're a sneaky "attacker" who's constantly trying to catch him. Let him be, but do little things to make yourself interesting. Drop treats as mentioned before, walk past him a lot with your shoulders back and your head high--this is a leaderly posture, but be careful not to appear aggressive. Just look confident. Think of it like you're walking around doing something important and you have a really good purpose--dogs are pack animals, and want to follow a strong leader. Your pup will get curious and begin to wonder just what it is that this confident looking person is up to. If he starts following you or taking interest, don't immediately get excited and turn around to praise him. Just drop a treat without ever even looking at him and keep on going. Eventually you can progress to having him come to you. Once he's confident enough to at least get within several feet of you, bring out the clicker. Click and treat for any interest in you, or for just nothing at all. You can click and treat randomly or you can click for just a brief glance your way. Be quick, and just toss the treats to him. Don't try to lure him to you to reward him. Continue this until eventually he will come right up to you. You'll be tempted to shower him with affection from here on out--don't. He has to build up a good confidence and trust in you, and if he's "attacked" with affection that he isn't ready for when he finally comes to you, then he'll regress. Just treat and perhaps coo a little. A gentle, "Good boy," when he's brave enough to come closer, but no reaching or snatching him up or anything else. You have to work on his terms.

    From here, lots of petting under the chin, lots of working at his level. Try not to tower over him. Come down to him so you're less intimidating. Remember that he is still incredibly young and you haven't had him long. He can make tons of improvements. :) Hope this helps, and good luck to you! Congrats on the new puppy!
  3. teaspoon New Member

    Thank so much for the wonderful ideas. You knew that I was excited when he gave me attention. I will follow your advice. He is so beautiful and I really want him to be comfortable in his new home. Can I purchase a clicker at any pet store?
  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    It's understandable and very easy to get too happy and ask too much when he shows improvements. ^^ I know Petsmart sells clickers, or if you discuss a class with a Petsmart trainer you can ask for a clicker and they can just give you one. sells clickers for anywhere from 90 cents to $3. I would highly recommend subscribing to the classroom--$3 can get you a 1-month subscription, which is less than the gas you would use to go to a trainer, and much less than the fee for training classes. This will help you learn how and when to use the clicker, as well as how to teach some basic and advanced tricks to your pup. Trick training will enhance your bond with him and can boost his confidence. :)

    As people, we tend to think that a scared dog needs to be comforted, just as we would a child. But really it's on the contrary--a scared wolf pup is comforted not by the nuzzle of his mother or the snuggling from an alpha, but rather the confidence his pack members project. If his family is confident, then he will see that there is nothing to fear, and he will relax. When he comes to you willingly and will allow you to pet him, then pet him a little and then just leave him be. If he wants more, he'll ask for it. In time he will become the confident, snuggly lover boy you're looking for. Just wait it out and work on his terms. :)
  5. yvonne Well-Known Member

    Hello Teaspoon and welcome!

    I cant add anything to the advice you have already been given because I would do exactly the same things that have been suggested.

    I hope you wont have to wait too long but better to be patient and achieve wonderful bonds with your puppy than rush things and make mistakes that are hard to go back on.

    Once again, good luck!
  6. snooks Experienced Member

    I've got one shy dog and have fostered a very fearful dog. Sometimes it's best to take the spot light off and give them a nice covered crate to retreat to and stay out of the crate yourself. That should be his little haven where he can go and feel safe. It is going to take at least 8 weeks before he starts to get used to new digs. If you think about it your house is probably a pretty scary place with all the new smells and sounds and he's going to need time. I agree don't coax or coddle him it tends to be a bit too much pressure for some puppies. The dropping treats without talking or really looking at him is a great idea. You then become that neat person who makes treats rain from the sky. Don't stare or call him if you know he's not going to come and try not to grab him when he's out and force him to submit to pets.

    This will all come with time if you are a calm reassuring presence and keep the house as calm and low stress as possible. Time and patience are your two best tools for a dog that is this shy. What a shame the breeder was so irresponsible at to not properly socialized these puppies. Have you thought about a puppy kindergarten where he can play with other puppies?? Since he's used to his litter it might be the perfect bridge to have humans and fun puppies to play with in the same room. It's an important socialization time for him to experience new things now as long as you don't go too fast. Maybe other puppies might make it seem safer.

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