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Puppy is shy with strangers
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!