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!