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Training/socializing a VERY timid dog

June 25th, 2006, 09:00 AM
So, I finally have my little guy with me. He is definately very small and very CUTE! He is also definately a puppy mill causualty ~ I have heard more about his past and it is too sad to post. I have to give "props" to the rescue agency who took care of him for the past few weeks he has been very well cared for by a great family! :love:

He is still though very shy and timid (he is a year old). He has found his "safety spot" by my patio doors and he has set up roots there (I have put his water, food and pee pads right beside him). He lets me pick him up and I cuddle with him or pet him every so often, but as soon as I let him go he runs back to his "spot". I don't expect things to change overnight, but I do want to make sure that I am doing all the right things to help over the next few weeks. Any suggestions?

June 26th, 2006, 09:35 AM
what type of dog is your new addition? I'm sure it'll take a while for him to adjust to his new family and new home. It sounds like you're doing it right by taking it slow, and giving him his "safe spot". Just keep taking baby-steps w/ him, and although he may be shy & timid, hopefully he'll warm up to you & the rest of your home soon. how long have you had him at your home?

June 26th, 2006, 06:41 PM
He has only been with me for a little less than 3 days now and I know he is doing pretty good (considering it is such a short time). On Sunday I tried him out on a leash and he did such a great job ~ I know I'm biased but he is really, really smart! :D He got used to walking on a leash very quickly and when I dropped him off at my parents today (for doggie daycare) they said he was walking like a pro. Considering his foster mom said when she got him he was afraid of grass this seems like a good sign. He is also did some poops outside (orginally he was used to only using pee pads) and as I understand it he could put a rottwiller to shame!!! ;)

The main thing that concerns me is that he really, really shakes everytime I put the leash on him, or anything around him changes or if he is in a new situation. Again, its understandable after what he has been through but I wonder if this is something that will get better (with time) or will it always be like that and also will it affect his health (nerves, heart?). I guess like any new 'parent' I am just looking for reassurance (and advice) to make sure I am doing all that I can to help him.

June 26th, 2006, 06:44 PM
Sorry, I forgot to mention he is a yorkie mix.

June 26th, 2006, 07:34 PM
He needs to face his fears. You are't going to flood him, but at the same time you need to take baby steps in the very directions he is hesitant about. Having him on the leash following you around is a great start. This takes him out of the flight mode and gets him to start looking to you for the answers.
Start working on his vocabulary right away. The more, and clearer communication you have with him the better. If his world is very black & white then he can relax because he is clear about the boundaries and rules. Otherwise he never knows what could happen next. We all do better with structure.

June 26th, 2006, 07:38 PM
Our Joey was very very timid too. (As time went on he woud react to some things with aggression, but that was usually directed at my husband, who took such good care of him. Go figure. But he had been abused and we don't know what was going through his poor little mind.)

But he would shake at certain noises, changes in his routine, almost anything at all scared him. He did improve in time, slightly, and by six month incrememts it seemed. Once we had left him at my mothers overnight. The next time we went there we spent the night and then took him with us the next day. But the poor little thing probably didn't sleep the entire night because when we got in the car he crashed--big time ! Slept the entire trip, which wasn't like him, but I figured he must have been awake all night making sure I wasn't going anywhere.

He had to have me in his sights at all times. Poor baby.

Just love you ittle guy and hopefully, as time goes on he will feel more and more secure. And please post pictures ! He sounds like such a love !

June 26th, 2006, 08:42 PM
I would put him on a house line - a thin leash with the loop cut off for safety - just let him drag it around for the time being. Once he's comfortable with that, try tethering him to you for increasingly longer periods of time. Start by sitting near his 'safety spot' with the leash tied to your belt. Then move a few feet away, sit down and read a book for 10 minutes. Reward him if he ventures away from his safe zone, but otherwise ignore him. Work up to you moving around the house doing your usual routine, occasionally rewarding any brave behaviour.

I would also look into Tellington touch, rescue remedy and a comfort zone DAP diffuser.

June 27th, 2006, 04:18 AM
Im sure he will be great but it will take time - when taz first came to his forever home with me he shook and cried for a week and would not go anywhere but the hallway! It took days of encouragement and time before i could get him to sit near me, he just wanted to be on his own, i think he was checking out his new situation. The problem with rescue pup's is that they have been pushed from pillar to post so many times they dont know who to trust, he may be loving you and the things you are doing for him but he has just been fostered and will have enjoyed being with them aswell, all he needs now is stability and love and he will come good!!! You obviously have fallen for this pup and the rewards will be great, good luck and keep us posted.:)

June 30th, 2006, 02:27 PM
Thanks for all your advice (and good wishes). Alfie is really an amazing little dog. He has been with me for less than a week and he has come a very long way. He is now walking on a leash and doing his business outside (most of the time at least). He is running around my house, usually to follow me from room to room (still runs back to his safe spot though). He LOVES my cats and that has been great with getting him comfortable in his new home, and they seem to like him as well (lots of sniffing going on). Today he gave me kisses (with very bad breath ~ but c'est la vie! :rolleyes: ) on my face and arms. I know that his behaviour is not very usual for puppy mill dogs and he still has a long way to go with trusting people, but I'll take these small blessings when they come!

Thanks again!

:ca: Happy Canada Day!