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Fearful Pup

LianneCatherine
June 5th, 2006, 12:15 PM
My Audrie is about 6mos. now, and has just the sweetest personality. She's very quiet and loves to get attention, give loving licks, and be around people. When I take her for a walk she runs up to every person she sees, wagging her tail.

But this is where it's confusing- she will go up to people but when they reach down to pet her, she sort of cowers and her ears go down. She puts herself in a submissive position, like she would to an alpha dog. Is this normal? :confused:

I don't want people to think I beat her or something. I asked the trainer at Petsmart, and she said something about the "Scared Stage" where a puppy will be afraid of people for a while. Has anyone heard of this? She loves when people come over and gets super-excited when she gets attention. She will lick everyone like crazy.

Your input would be most helpful!:o

jessi76
June 5th, 2006, 12:28 PM
But this is where it's confusing- she will go up to people but when they reach down to pet her, she sort of cowers and her ears go down. She puts herself in a submissive position, like she would to an alpha dog. Is this normal?

yes, normal. have people try to pat her from the side or under her chin. basically, the hands coming down onto her, onto her head, is a bit threatening. My dog acts the SAME way (and he's over a year now). BUT, when I tell people to pat his side, or under his chin or chest area, he's fine. he doesn't back away so much. Also, when my dog does back away, I tell the other person to just extend their hand, and let my dog go TO THEM. this works well, especially with children. the old golden rule of "let the dog smell your hand first"

It could also be she is so small. What does she do when you hold her & allow someone to pat her? does she squirm away? if so, I'd try what I mentioned above, coming in for the pat on the side, and avoiding the head all together.

OntarioGreys
June 7th, 2006, 01:20 PM
But this is where it's confusing- she will go up to people but when they reach down to pet her, she sort of cowers and her ears go down. She puts herself in a submissive position, like she would to an alpha dog. Is this normal?

It is submissive behaviour rather than fearful behaviour, she is trying to show she acknowledges and respects the person as being more dominant than her, thru her body language. Dogs that are very confident often don;t show as submissiveness to that extent. She may or may not outgrow it.

Bending over a dog and touching them over the head, looking a dog in the eyes is a very dominant behaviour to a dog, she would have reacted quite differently had the person squatted down instead bringing their hand up from below her head level to stroke the side of her her or neck.

tenderfoot
June 7th, 2006, 03:49 PM
The 'fear' periods are when pups are much younger.

Have the person squat down first and even ignore her. When she approaches they could gently rub the side of her face for just a second or two and then pull away. Let her think about it. If she advances to them then they can engage her more.

Help her by showing her that people are okay to be with . You can go and shake their hands, act friendly, so when she sees the great experience you are having she will be more trusting.

LianneCatherine
June 12th, 2006, 02:58 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. :)

I will work with her on the social scenes, and get her used to being pet by different people in different ways.

Will treats help too?