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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy is shy with strangers

Hello All,

Have been a member here for a bit, but this is my first post. Everyone here seems fantastic and knowledgeable, so I was hoping for some guidance with an issue we are having with our 6 month old puppy, Lola. Lola is great with other dogs - loves to play, has never shown any sort of aggression, is confident but knows her place. In the past few months, though, she has become increasingly shy with strangers. This seems to be unprompted, as she has not had any negative experiences with people, but might be because we didn't introduce her to as many people as we did dogs when she was very young. She seemed comfortable with the people she did meet so I guess we didn't imagine it would be a problem down the road. Anyway, we haven't seen any signs of fear aggression from her, but she is visibly uncomfortable when strangers try to pet her. She typically backs away as far as she can on her leash, or hides behind my legs. She IS curious about people, and will walk up to strangers to sniff their legs/pants. She is also comfortable sitting with strangers on the park bench, or walking along side them on the sidewalk. It is only once they go to pet her that she becomes anxious.

I honestly don't have a huge problem with her not being the most outgoing with strangers (I probably wouldn't be either if I were that low to the ground), but I live in a busy city where people are constantly trying to say hi to her. I am hoping to at least get her somewhat comfortable with that happening. I also worry that her fear might turn into aggression if I don't find a way to help her with the anxiety she experiences when strangers try to pet her.

I have tried communicating with people who stop to say hi that they shouldn't lunge at her or try to pet the top of her head, but it's difficult to get people I don't know to approach her appropriately. I've tried having strangers give her treats - she was receptive at first, but now refuses to take even her favorite treats if they are coming from someone she doesn't know. She now barks when strangers come into our apartment. She calms down within a minute, but doesn't want to interact with them or take treats from them.

I guess I am just looking for any tips on what to do about this situation? There seem to be things outside of my control (strangers behaving as they please), but I would like to do whatever I can. Also, any anecdotes about dogs growing out of puppy shyness would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

And, some pictures!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 04:41 PM
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It's not uncommon for adolescent pups to go through a period of being shy around strangers. I would encourage her to sniff people if she wants, and be firm with people about NOT forcing themselves on her.

In a controlled setting, try asking her to sit, then YOU feed her a high value treat while you ask some one she knows to stroke her lightly on the back. When she's REALLY good at this, and knows what is required of her, practice the same with people who come into your home that she doesn't know so well. Only when she is FINE with anyone stroking (NOT "patting") her, and you can reward her afterwards rather than using the food as a distraction WHILE someone is stroking her should you take the "show on the road" and ask strangers to stroke her while you feed her in other places, like on the street. Eventually, she'll come to associate people stroking her with good things, and relax.

No dog likes to get patted on the head by strangers, and there is no reason that she needs to tolerate their ignorance. If you can't get strangers to help you with her training, I'd tell people to stay away from her, because she is in training. If they get the idea that she might bite, that should help them to approach other dogs more appropriately!

As far as barking when someone comes to the door, I don't discourage this. I WANT Kodi to let me know when there is someone around. As long as she doesn't keep it up once you have welcomed the person into the house, she is behaving perfectly appropriately, IMO.


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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 05:29 PM
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Welcome aboard. Good points by Karen. I think you know what to do by the sounds of it. Probably some adolescence here and maybe a deficiancy in human socialization as a pup. Here's some info on this http://www.dogstardaily.com/training...-weeks-2-years

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 03:27 AM
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Our two,Dizzie and Nellie are pretty indifferent to strangers when we are out,and it makes life easier than when a dog is over friendly, and going up to everyone and any one!They are not too keen on strangers petting them,but they are not too scared either,some times Nellie will go behind my legs,I just try to tell her in a matter of fact way it's fine.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 07:53 AM
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I guess being the size they are, if some giant human came down at me with their hand out I would shy away too. Because I frequently have all 4 dogs with us, if someone wants to pet them I ask them to squat, or bend then I let the dogs choose if they want to go to that person. If not, I find they can be overwhelmed with hands coming at them.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 08:32 AM
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Our Isabelle is very shy with strangers. If people ask if they can pet her I simply say she is shy and would prefer that they not pet her. When strangers come into the house we immediately tell them to ignore Isabelle. She will warm up to them in her own good time. Whether we are outside walking or in our own home it has to be about the comfort level for our babies. Isabelle has become more confident but it was on her time frame. On the other hand, our golden, Olivia, never met a stranger. Just two different personalities.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 08:54 AM
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My little Ollie isn't a snuggle bug, he's pretty independent. doesn't like to be picked up or pet. when we are out and about, the only interest he has in ppl is if they have food. he'll put up with them petting him, if they have food, ha.

He lets me pick him up and pet him, b/c I'm his person, but that's pretty much it. it's almost false advertisng calling him a companion dog.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprorchid View Post
My little Ollie isn't a snuggle bug, he's pretty independent. doesn't like to be picked up or pet. when we are out and about, the only interest he has in ppl is if they have food. he'll put up with them petting him, if they have food, ha.

He lets me pick him up and pet him, b/c I'm his person, but that's pretty much it. it's almost false advertisng calling him a companion dog.
Aren't Shi Tzus supposed to be pretty independent! Maybe he take more after that side!


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 04:33 PM
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Since I've had Ollie I think I've met all the shih tzu's and hav owners in my area. Both breeds vary in personality. the vet tells me Ollie is very friendly and agreeable for a shih tzu, ha!

also, his fur on top is different than underneath, groomer just told me last time I brought him in. I noticed but thought that was normal. so I think he's shih tzu on top, and hav on the bottom, ha. my male anatolian is WAY more snuggly and affectionate than Ollie.

Last edited by sprorchid; 09-29-2012 at 04:54 PM.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 04:40 PM
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Starr is shy!!

Starr is a 4 year old and very shy....but she'll warm up eventually. She does not like strangers coming at her. She could not care less about other dogs and shies away.
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