Wouldn’t you love to know what went on in his little life before tou got him?
I've read (anecdotally) that some people who grow up in abusive households develop a "6th sense" / strong empathic ability. Nothing supernatural - just a much stronger (and often subconscious) ability to "read" people - their feelings and emotions. I feel like this with Perry sometimes. In addition to just being timid/ afraid of a lot of things, I feel like he can really read people, especially my husband - unfortunately, Perry does not know/ understand the different between someone being serious or even in a bad mood and whether that mood/ facial expression/ etc. is directed at him!
My husband is a very quiet, introspective, very serious (demeanor) person. And like a lot of people who are like that, his facial expression is often very neutral or could be seen as frowning. I feel like Perry takes that as a danger or at least a very deep concern and reacts to it.
But yes, I would be very interested in knowing what his first 8 months were like and how much of this is just him being a very timid creature and how much of it was his life before us.
Pixel is like that. We call it “discerning” Kodi and Panda love EVERBODY. Kodi would happily leave with the mailman. He will, literally, climb in the truck with him. Panda isn’t QUITE as bad as that...SHE would only leave with a stranger if I came too! LOL! Both will do tricks for anyone I give a treat to and tell them the “magic words” to use. I love to turn Kodi over to someone who has never run a dog on a Rally course and let them run Kodi because it’s like getting to drive a sports car for the first time. They have a blast! Very few dogs will work for someone else like that!
But Pixel needs to get to know you. Once you are on the “friends” list, you are a friend for life. But don’t push her. If you give her space, she will come and make her own decision, and I almost always agree with her. If someone tries to force themselves on her, she just ducks around behind us, and that’s the end of it. We NEVER make her interact with someone she’s not comfortable with.
Perry definitely reacts best to people who just ignore him for a little while. He will eventually come close, sniff feet, etc. and then might, if you still act very chill, let you reach down and let him sniff your hand and then possibly pet him. It's taken several years (though he only sees them twice a year) for him to actively approach my sisters for attention - this past Christmas visit home was the first time he put his feet up on them (standing on his back legs) when they were sitting at the table - they were shocked
I can think of only one person that he approached/ climbed on AND sniffed her breath! the very first time he met her - that was my aunt (who runs a pet store and owns the place where he gets groomed in the US). He has never given kisses - not even to me - the closest he will come to that is sniffing your breath/ head/ face
It's really sad in a lot of ways - not because he doesn't like people - but because you can see him _wanting_ to get close to people, wanting their attention, but being very unsure of it!