HELP!! My new puppy is REALLY Shy!!!! - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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HELP!! My new puppy is REALLY Shy!!!!

I am afraid that Daisy is either going to be really shy or worse, nervous.

She has been home 2 weeks and has spent most of her time in her ex pen or in our laps as we are working on potty training. She is in her crate all night from 11-6 and is dry in her crate.

Daisy was born on 11/10/09. The breeder said that her mom was shy....

I am waiting on my puppy book to arrive (How to raise a puppy you can live with) and have been trying to train with liver treats to come....not alot of success with that.

Help me Wise Ones of the Forum!!!!! ~Pamela
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 11:12 AM
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I would get her into a puppy kindergarten class ASAP. There they get to learn that people are fun, lots of treats are involved, and nothing bad happens. Find a good class in your area, and tell the instructor you have a toy breed puppy, and see if you can get in a class with like sized puppies. It won't help her to be in a class full of crazy lab puppies. Then tell her what you are trying to work on. There are fun games like pass the puppy, that can help with shyness and help get her socialized. The key is to get her out now, and nip it in the bud now while she is still young enough to learn to trust people and strange situations.

If her mother was 'shy' she may always have a propensity for being reserved, but hopefully you can make the most of it.

Did your breeder do anything with the mother? Hopefully she wasn't extremely shy. I have a girl who is reserved, and just likes to take her time to warm up to strangers. I call it the princess complex. She just wants to get to know you on HER terms. She's not really shy, she's just making sure you are good enough to be able to touch her. You must be worthy, you know.

You want to get her socialized so that if she is really shy, she learns acceptable ways to cope with her discomfort, and doesnt resort to being really insecure and snapping or growling. Often really shy or insecure dogs will resort to these behaviors because they don't know what else to do, and it works! If they snap or growl you back off and then they don't have to deal with the situation that made them uncomfortable. Just gotta get this girl some tools in her tool box on how to deal with new people and situations.

Also, don't over coddle her. Put her down. Holding her and picking her up and telling her 'Its okay" only reinforces her behavior. Generally a very calm, low, 'You're fine" is all I use for puppies that are overreacting. Holding them, telling them its ok, petting them, giving them treats when they are upset, only validates the behavior as correct, and you are rewarding the insecure behavior.

So, put her down, let her be a puppy, and find a good puppy class ASAP. Thats my advice. Keep us posted! Hope that helps!

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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Wow Farah!!! That helps soooooo much!! Okay, so where do I find a GOOD puppy class? Are the ones offered at Petco or Petsmart good? How can I go about finding a good fit and how much should I pay...any ideas?? ~Pamela
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 11:37 AM
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Hi Pamela! I did a google search with my zip code and then visited a few places that I liked from their websites. That way you are able to see the facility, talk to the trainer and they were able to do a quick evaluation of Piper to help place her in the right class. The place I chose has a trainer that formally worked training seeing eye dogs and I felt really comfortable. Most importantly you want to make sure they have some trainer certification and practice POSTIVE reinforcement methods.

The biggest thing that I was doing wrong initially was reinforcing the scared/timid behavior. Picking her up, saying "it's ok" while petting her, etc. The moment I walked in to the training facility carrying Piper, the first thing he said to me was "put her down".

I have a friend that brought her dog to the local Petsmart and was very happy with them. I think you really need to visit and then decide.

Good Luck!

Julie, Piper and Riley

My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 11:52 AM
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You could ask your vet about where to go with her, or you might try looking on Yelp. I walked past classes at Petco and they looked like they were emphasizing the right things. We used an independent trainer, she was really great (google k9essentials in Los Altos CA). She offers puppy training classes and an array of other classes for older dogs, and also pushes weekly puppy play groups. One thing you should understand: YOU ARE IN A HURRY to socialize your puppy. There is a defined window when socialization and bite inhibition can be learned. After that is isn't natural.
Cart your puppy around with you all over- buy a fundle or a doggie messenger bag or just carry her if she's too young for the ground. Bring plenty of treats. Havanese are magnets for people- have all these strangers give your pup treats. Teach her that strangers are mostly just admirers she hasn't yet met, people are good, people give treats. Most importantly: human hands bring good things (pats and treats). When she's had her shots, have her do the walking, so she can learn confidence. Also make sure you get a pulling/tug toy ASAP. If she is going to be timid, she is at risk for biting if she has trouble learning how to respond to people. Her bite inhibition window closes at 18 weeks of age. She needs to learn before then exactly how hard she can bite others before it hurts. This kind of tug play and toothy play is great interaction with puppies. Make sure to yelp and go totally cold to her when she nips too hard. Give it a rest for a minute and go back to play. She will quickly learn just the right touch with her mouth.
Enjoy your new baby, I'm sure you'll have a great relationship. Taking her to training classes will really build a great bond while she learns about the world.

Juliette and Phoebe
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 11:58 AM
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Pamela, where in Northern California are you? With a more specific location, several of us may be able to point you in a more specific direction for training.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 12:01 PM
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Lots of good advice here. Hopefully you can find someone local that can recommend a good trainer/class.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 12:49 PM
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Hi Pamela! I am not a dog expert, but can offer some advice based on my experience with Lola.

Lola was extremely shy of people when we first brought her home at 11 weeks. I was so worried! She's now 8 months and still shy, but has made tons of improvement. You've already received some great advice. Puppy classes are key, as well as taking Daisy everywhere and anywhere. I had a trainer recommend that I take Lola to 5 new places a week so she would get used to different sights/sounds/people. Always have a bag of treats handy in case you run into a stranger that wants to say hello. Make sure you tell people to approach her gently & calmly, palm facing up. Its also good to have friends come over to your house. Make sure they approach Daisy gently or they can even ignore her when they first come in and let her come to them. When non-dog people would come over who I didn't think would be able to approach her correctly I would tell them to just ignore Lola. Eventually Lola would go over to them to investigate and they would give her a treat. If they were dog people, I'd have them sit on the floor with her and say hello calmly.

After puppy class, I took Lola to a basic obedience class, once she was fully vaccinated I took her to a park daily where a group of friends meet with their dogs [an unofficial dog park that seemed safer to me than the actual dog park]. Going to the park helped with her socialization with both people and dogs and was great because all of the people there know how to behave around dogs and all of the dogs are friendly and non-aggressive.

As others have said DO NOT feed into her shyness or fear or you will only make it worse. Then she learns if she's scared, she can rely on you to pick her up and she won't build confidence on her own.

I had to constantly work with socializing Lola and it did pay off. At 8 months I still have to make the effort to have her meet new people and go new places. I wish she would have come out of her shell a little more and be a more "typical" social hav. But sometimes you just have to accept your pup for who he/she is. I think some dogs are just naturally more shy....they have their own personalities like people.

I also think the more shy havs might be prone to separation anxiety. Maybe its their lack of confidence that makes them attach to their owner a little more than necessary. So make sure you also factor in leaving Daisy alone for short periods, working up to longer so she gets used to spending time alone. I really went wrong here with Lola. I was so focused on getting her out and socializing her, now she doesn't like to be left alone!

Good luck! Just be patient and all of your hard work will pay off in the end

ps: At least your breeder was honest with you regarding Daisy's shyness. My breeder told me Lola was the most outgoing puppy in the litter!
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much everyone!! I live outside of Folsom if anyone has an idea of a local puppy class that would work for us. I will be researching today to start one ASAP.

I must confess, I am really thankful that some of you have had shy puppies that have worked through most of their shyness. Daisy is so very sweet and we are puppy training with her mouthing and letting her chew on her chew toys instead of us!!

She will have her second set of shots next week and then we will wait for her rabies at 16 weeks. I have taken her to the Petco several times and held her because she is not fully vaccinated yet. Have taken her on lots of car rides, but have yet to introduce her to friends and their dogs. I was under the impression that she had to have ALL her vaccines before she could meet other dogs, and I thought, hmmmm...then how can I socialize her in the ideal window.

This forus is just THE BEST!! Thank you all so much for the support and advice...keep it coming!!! ~Pamela
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-05-2010, 04:11 PM
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I've no advice on the shyness, but I can say that is a good book that helped me quite a bit.
kisses to Daisy
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