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Is my pup shy or scared?

Kim and Loki
September 3rd, 2007, 01:07 AM
Hi everyone! I just brought Loki home this past Friday so we're still getting used to eachother. I've noticed that Loki will cower sometimes when I come to greet him. I don't know if it's that he's scared or just being shy. We've been playing non-stop and I constantly show him affection. The vet said he has some low confidence and it should pass soon, but does anyone have any suggestions on what i can do to help this? He's 4 months old and was raised in an outdoor kennel. I'm in the process of getting a run built in the backyard, but i'm also trying to get him used to being indoors as well (winters here in Winnipeg are very harsh and extreme). He's gotten used to going up stairs, but he is still quite leery about walking across the kitchen floor (he'll either whine alot about coming out of the bedroom, or won't come out). I know the breeders were not abusive as he's a very gentle and sweet little guy - he doesn't bite, nip, growl, etc. I've been rewarding his good behaviour and fortunately, he hasn't done anything "bad" yet. The previous owners didn't have any toys for him, but since he's been here, he's had no problem adjusting to playing with toys (he LOVES socks tied in knots!). I'm trying to socialize him as much as I can; the crappy part is that he's going through all his vaccinations right now and he's on vet's recommendation that he stay in the yard until they're complete (parvo is rampant in the city this year). I know he's only been in his new home for a few days and everything is quite new for him, but does anyone have any suggestions on what I might be able to do to help my little guy open up a bit more and feel more confident and comfortable?

growler~GateKeeper
September 3rd, 2007, 01:24 AM
I responded in your other thread :)

I will repeat we need pics of your sweet boy :)

NoahGrey
September 3rd, 2007, 09:02 AM
If he is cowering, he is scared, just be patient with him, he'll come around.

ACO22

mummummum
September 3rd, 2007, 11:13 AM
Be quiet. :D

No, seriously ~ most of us go ga-ga around puppies. Our voices get higher and slightly louder. We talk in a version of baby-talk. We can't help but touch our puppies because they're just so darn touchable. You have to consciously turn your mind to being quiet and approaching Loki in a soft, unobtrusive manner. Sit beside him, no sudden movements, soften and lower your voice, put your hand on him, stroke him slowly, speak to him slowly. Just be with him and take his lead, he is giving you cues as to his comfort level ~ he will come around with patience.

The kitchen floor may be too shiny and slippery compared to what he is used to in the kennel. Why not buy an inexpensive rubber runner (2.49 a foot at Canadian Tire !!) for the meantime until he gets used to different floor surfaces. You can slowly shorten it or cut it into "stepping stones" to get him accustomed to walking on the bare floor.

sugarcatmom
September 3rd, 2007, 12:20 PM
Although your dog's breeder may not have been abusive to him, I suspect they didn't socialize him properly during the most crucial time if he was raised in an outdoor kennel. At 4 months, you're going to be playing a bit of catch-up in trying to get him comfortable with new people and new situations. My suggestion would be to stop feeding him out of a bowl and hand-feed his daily rations instead. Have new people come over everyday and hand-feed him with you. Very soon he'll learn that people=good! And do check out this excellent resource of pupping training and socializing tips: http://www.dogstardaily.com/

Longblades
September 3rd, 2007, 12:47 PM
And, to carry on from some really good posts above, most puppies go through a fear period at anywhere from 5 months to a year. All of a sudden they are afraid of things they never used to be. It is quite likely Loki is hitting it a bit early due to his move. Now he has new things to frighten him. Taking it slow and easy is the best bet I think. Try not to push him, let him come around on his own.

JanM
September 3rd, 2007, 12:54 PM
I agree with mummummum - quiet mind, quiet body is key. I'm betting he's nervous about his new surroundings, missing his first home and siblings. There's a lot for a new puppy to get used to when they come to a new home. When he realizes this is really his home and you are really his mom, he will, I'm sure, be comfortable and gain his confidence.

A dog behaviourist I worked with for Amber - who was very timid and shy and scared of everything - suggested I absolutely ignore her whenever the timid behaviour was evident - and it has worked. When she did something with her body language showing confidence she was praised to the hilt - something as simple as walking across a linoleum floor - but if she whimpered and cried at the doorway I ignored her - she soon learned to come across without showing timidity - she wanted the attention and that became more important than her "fear". It's a hard thing to do because I always felt I should be comforting her but it was explained to me that comforting her in these situations showed her that her behaviour was the right one.

BTW - I am an ex-Winnipegger and I sympathize with you about the winters! They are truly awful...

Pictures of Loki would sure be nice to see!

Kim and Loki
September 4th, 2007, 12:13 AM
There's been some really good advice here. I really appreciate the feedback from everyone! I'm definetly going to watch my reactions to him - my voice pitch, and try not to 'baby' him too much when he's cowering (I caught myself!). I have noticed that today, Loki seems much better. Every day he's coming along a little bit more. I observed him a lot today, and I think he is unsure about his footing on the floor (darn laminate!). Probably just unsure in general. But, there were a couple of times he went across it without any hesitation. So, I guess he just needs to stop being so sucky about it!! I'm ignoring his whining when he does hesitate to go across the floor. I'm really going to watch myself when it comes to trying to console him. I certainly don't want him to think that it's okay to behave like that. As for socializing, he's great around people, especially children (surprise!). He adores my nephew and he gets so excited when he comes over. I don't want to socialize him with too many dogs as of yet as he's getting all of his vaccines done. I'm thinking the previous owners didn't get too much socializing in with him either, as suggested in sugarcatmom's post. However, once his shots are all up to date, he's going to be going for puppy obedience classes (I want to make sure we both know the proper commands!). Speaking of which....when searching for good obedience training, what sort of "qualifications" should I be looking for? I'm thinking I should go with Loki's vet's recommendation.....



I will get pics of my handsome boy as soon as I can figure out how to download them! HA! New computer = new frustrations!

TeriM
September 4th, 2007, 03:06 AM
A dog behaviourist I worked with for Amber - who was very timid and shy and scared of everything - suggested I absolutely ignore her whenever the timid behaviour was evident - and it has worked. When she did something with her body language showing confidence she was praised to the hilt - something as simple as walking across a linoleum floor - but if she whimpered and cried at the doorway I ignored her - she soon learned to come across without showing timidity - she wanted the attention and that became more important than her "fear". It's a hard thing to do because I always felt I should be comforting her but it was explained to me that comforting her in these situations showed her that her behaviour was the right one.


This is excellent advice :thumbs up . It is very important to not reward the fearful behavior as this just reinforces that their reaction is justified.

Also, the sooner the better with the socialization with other dogs as the optimal socialization period is close to ending. I know you are worried about the vaccines but if you know other people with dogs that have been vaccinated I would be sure to utilize them if you can.

Good luck :) .