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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 09:02 PM Thread Starter
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Socializing shy dogs...?

Jasper is very, very shy. He's perfectly fine in our house (or yard) with us but around other people or new places, he sort of just shuts down. If we try to go somewhere new, he'll just stand there and not move or if he does move, he's real jumpy.
When he meets new people (or even just people that he doesn't see all the time) he refuses to get close to them and sometimes will hunker down and run around the edges of the room.
The reason I say that he sort of "shuts down" is because he sometimes doesn't even care if I'm there. When I picked him up from the vet after being neutered, I thought he'd be so excited to see me but he didn't even act like he knew me. I took him out of the vet tech's arms and he just sat there with his head down. That night that he was loose in the neighborhood and I went to pick him up from the lady's house who found him, he just sat on her couch and wouldn't hardly look at me. It makes me feel horrible. Once we get home he warms up and is my happy cuddle bug again.

I've never had a dog like that. The dogs I had before were all younger puppies when I got them, so they were easy to socialize. I'm finding out that the breeder that I got him from wasn't the best and I'm thinking that she might have kept him in a kennel-type situation. I got him when he was almost 6 months old and she was getting desperate to find him a home. When we first met him he acted nervous and wouldn't come to us in the little yard that she put him in. She had to pick him up and hand him to us when we were leaving because he was so skittish. At the time I didn't really care because I knew he'd warm up to us eventually....plus he was adorable and I only paid a tiny amount that I'm sure just covered his shots and worming.

Of course, he's warmed up just fine with us. He's my little snuggle bug and he's very good with the kids.
I just wish that I could get him to be more comfortable with new people and places. My little sister and her boyfriend have been coming to my house almost every week for the past few months (we have movie nights) and last night was the very first time that Jasper actually jumped up in her lap. Before that he would barely come up to her.

Anyway, it bothers me. I want other people to see how sweet he is. I feel like they think he's been beaten or something. He's so sweet and playful when no one else is around! Also, I like to take my dogs places. That's one of the reasons that I wanted a small dog this time. I feel like I can't take him anywhere because he's so scared.

Any ideas? I don't want to move too fast for him and scar him even more, but not doing anything about it isn't helping.

I emailed a dog trainer that my friend told me about and I'm waiting to hear from her. She does a free puppy socialization class in the park every Saturday and I'm thinking about trying to take him there. He loves other dogs so maybe that will help him.

I should add that he's never ever shown any signs of aggression. He also loves small children, he's not afraid of them at all, which is really good for us!


Jasper and Buttercup
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 09:17 PM
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Yeah I think some work with a trainer is appropriate. This can definitely happen if they miss the boat as puppies. I think private sessions outside of a group would be better. He's an adolescent now I'm assuming and puppies can be too over the top for him possibly.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 09:19 PM
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Is he motivated by food treats?


You might want to consider working with a dog behaviorist to confirm why he is acting this way.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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He will take food from other people but it's a slow, very cautious, take and run process.

I emailed the trainer today and I'm just waiting to hear back from her. The only bad thing is that she's in the next town over. It's only 30 minutes away but car rides are just one more thing that makes Jasper freak out. He drools, shakes and eventually throws up.


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Last edited by Leah00; 05-02-2012 at 09:27 PM.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-02-2012, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Leah00 View Post
He will take food from other people but it's a slow, very cautious, take and run process.

I emailed the trainer today and I'm just waiting to hear back from her. The only bad thing is that she's in the next two over. It's only 30 minutes away but car rides are just one more thing that makes Jasper freak out. He drools, shakes and eventually throws up.
Another reason for her to come to you.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 01:01 AM
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Jasper sounds like Louis, only thing different is that Louis dislikes children due to their fast movements. I don't have much to offer in advice, just wanted to tell you I know where you're coming from. I tried training Louis to sit and he shut down and acted like I was going to hit him. He likes dogs but hates the dog park. I should probably look into a trainer too. I realized Louis seems like he does well in certain public situations but it's just cause I'm there. You take me out of the equation and he acts like a feral dog. I'll be following this thread to see what others say.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 06:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks. It is sad because I want him to be a happy dog in most situations. I know other people look at him and think "What is wrong with that poor dog?" and I've had people ask me if I think he'll bite the kids one day because of how scared he is. They don't get to see how sweet and gentle he is with children.
Anyway, I've been emailing the trainer back and forth. She definitely seems nice and she has given me some good suggestions that make sense. She said that it sounds like we need to work on his confidence level and that he's too attached to me.

She's the only trainer I can find near me so I hope she's good! I googled "dog behaviorist" and the closest one in 4 hours away.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leah00 View Post
Thanks. It is sad because I want him to be a happy dog in most situations. I know other people look at him and think "What is wrong with that poor dog?" and I've had people ask me if I think he'll bite the kids one day because of how scared he is. They don't get to see how sweet and gentle he is with children.
Anyway, I've been emailing the trainer back and forth. She definitely seems nice and she has given me some good suggestions that make sense. She said that it sounds like we need to work on his confidence level and that he's too attached to me.

She's the only trainer I can find near me so I hope she's good! I googled "dog behaviorist" and the closest one in 4 hours away.
I don't know if you have any agility training centers near you, but I have seen remarkable improvements in shy dogs who are gently and slowly introduced to agility. It improves their confidence, encourages working (eventually) at a distance from the owner, and once they get the hang of it, it is so innately rewarding that it's a great opportunity for them to be near other dogs and people, but doing something they love.


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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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I think Jasper would be great at agility. He's very light footed, fast, and has lots of energy.
Unfortunately, I'm 99% sure that there is nothing like that around here.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-04-2012, 07:02 PM
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you need a better treat.

my go to's are cheese (cheddar or Jack) or grilled/roasted chicken breast.

here's a quicky recipe good for human or canine:

chicken breasts bone-in better but deboned is fine too (usually come 3 in a pack)
preheat oven to 425 (conventional)

on a sheet tray, put foil on it,
season - extra virgin oil (like 1 TB), then season how you like - I like garlic salt (lawry's - no salt in there) regular salt and pepper.

if you want to cut the calories you can just spray a non-stick spray.

bake for 25 minutes. cut at the thickest part of chicken breast to check doneness. if it's deboned - check it at 20 minutes.

let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes. if it's for dogs, let it cool to touch, and then dice in appropriate small pieces for treats.

good luck.
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