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Old July 8th, 2011, 02:12 PM
TresBelle's Avatar
TresBelle TresBelle is offline
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Location: Hamilton, Ontario
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Unhappy EXTREMELY Timid Puppy-Help?

Hello!

I have a 12 week old male cockapoo, Sammy.

He's been with us for six days now. Before us, he stayed with his siblings in a puppy pen in his mommy's owners kitchen.
He didn't get outside at all and didn't get much contact with people.

He's very submissive with me, he's become very attached to JUST me, he's terrified of the whole outdoor world and of many things indoors, especially after dark.

He cowers and slinks away when my boyfriend comes home from work and runs to me to hide and protect him.

Luckily, he's still wonderful with my (also) very timid and shy 3 year old daughter who has special needs.

Sammy gets much more afraid at night...We live near railroad tracks and he comes to me when he hears a train go by, when there are kind outside on their skateboards, when I drop something in the kitchen, when he hears any unusual or loud noise outside or in another room.
He cowers, comes to me and wants me to pick him up (I don't).

For example, a few nights ago, we were playing in the living room with his rubber duck. I tossed his duck and it fell against one of my daughter's electronic toys, which made a low car honking sound.
Sammy got so scared! He actually "ruffed" at it (I'd never even heard him bark before this!), a low, in his throat type of bark. He paced around it for a bit, then went to sniff it, stecthing his neck and nose way out, then backing off again.
I finally removed the toy, which was probably the wrong thing to do?

Last night he tried to stay hidden under my desk because he was terrified of my reflection in the picture window in my living room.
Every time I'd walk by the window (which is often), he'd see that reflection and bolt under the desk.
It took me forever to figure out what was scaring him!

I was able to coax him out with treats and we played with his toys in a spot where he couldn't see the reflection, but I can't stay away from the window all night.

And that's just one example!

If he hears my boyfriend rustling around in the bedroom after he goes to bed, Sammy jumps and stares in that direction.
If he hears my daughter cough through the baby monitor, he jumps and stares at it.

SOMETIMES...Not often, but sometimes he'll actually go and investigate and sniff at the monitor or sniff down the hallways and into the bedroom, and if I walk to the bedroom he always follows me (I joke I should have named him shadow because he follows me everywhere, sometimes to the point of tripping me!) and he has no problem with that.

But nights are the worst because he's jumpy and scared and then I get anxious (I try so hard to stay calm...I really do, but it's so hard when he scared and I don't know how to make it better for him ) and we just go in a big circle.
He's scared so I get anxious which he feels which makes him more scared.

HOW do I cure him of his fear of the dark?


Another issue we have is when I take him for walks around our neighborhood. Sammy tries to weave in front of me, over and over to get away from the cars that drive by, smells that he doesn't like, etc.
He also tries to stop and stare at the cars that pass by but continues to follow if I keep walking.

When people pass by, he stops again and tries to hide behind me. If they stop and try to pet or reach out to him, he pulls away and again, hides behind me.

When I'm walking him and he starts to cower or tries to stop, I pretty much ignore his behavior and just keep walking. I don't pull or tug...He's really good at staying with me.
I don't let him weave in front of me when he tries...I keep him tight to my right side.
I do let him stop and sniff around as he likes.

When he doesn't cower or stop when cars drive by, I say in a happy tone, "Good boy" and keep walking.

I walk him twice a day to try to socialize him, we have his first vet and grooming appointments next week and I plan to take a puppy class as soon as he's vaccinated enough.

Am I doing this right? Am I doing enough? Should I look into clicker training, which I know basically NOTHING about? (I'm worried he'll be afraid of even the clicking sound!) Will time fix this?


I should add that he's a VERY smart pup. Crate training has been amazing since day one, and house training is also going exceptionally well.

Thank you!
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Old July 8th, 2011, 06:48 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Calgary, AB
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Oy, you've got your work cut out for you. Looks like a very crucial socialization period was missed with this little guy (shame on the "breeder" for that). Maybe these articles will help a bit?
http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/fearfulness
http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/puppy-outside-home
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