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Old 10-19-2011, 11:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Timid Puppy

My Husband and I recieved our GSD puppy when she was 9 weeks old, I was around the entire litter almost daily as our breeder is a dear friend. Until my husband and I brought our puppy home Id never seen her administer any timidness, but now she cowers from people, when she barks at someone who comes in the yard it's a bark that sounds like she's in pain, and she's only 4 months old. I'm wondering if this will change as she gets older or if there is something we can do to change this. We got the dog as a form of protection as my husband is on the road 18 out of 24 hours a day, and my young daughter and I are often home alone. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:04 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Could be a fear period, could be nerves. Are you doing much socialization?
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Build up her confidence, play tug with her and let her win(teething is going on so she needs to win all the time!) Don't correct her, let her thing she is the best thing in the world.
Get her into a class so she can be socialized around people and other dogs. Do not isolate her from anything, keep everything neutral and upbeat. Don't comfort her when she is showing the timid behavior, just go on with your routine. She needs to see that you are her leader so she will look to you, instead of worrying about taking things into her own paws.

I wonder if any of her vax have played into this new behavior? Was she recently given the rabies vax?

I also think it could be a fear stage, but a dog with solid nerves seldom shows a fear stage this extremely.

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Old 10-20-2011, 09:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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What is the pup's bloodline? Genetics determine temperament

you say she is 16 weeks old now. what was her demeanor from the time you got her until now? Is this recent or something just getting worse?
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Old 10-20-2011, 11:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Could be any number of things. Everyone feels brave in their home environment. She felt secure with her litter. Now the world is much bigger and scarier. She probably does have some nerves. This does not necessarily make her a bad dog, but it does mean you have to do more work to make her a really good dog. She is going to need a lot more neutral socialization and exposure so that she can feel comfortable with everything. One of my dogs has some nerve and reactivity to him. It's part of his personality and I can't change that, but with leadership and exposure he's confident in almost all situations, has excellent recovery when he does get startled, and is now my favorite dog to take places.

Take her everywhere and ignore her. Sounds strange I know. But consider if you were shy and someone took you to a party where EVERYONE rushed over and immediately got in your face and started talking to you. They were just being friendly, but sometimes it's enough to send you into a full blown panic. Much better to hang out by the wall, get to see everything, assess the dynamic of the place, and then maybe have some positive experiences with one or two new people who are non threatening. It works the same for puppies. Sometimes, it's easier to be accepting of new situations if you're not put on the spot.

So find a store and just go sit outside and watch everyone go in and out. Don't let everyone pet the puppy, not because you dont want her to be social, but because you do not want to overwhelm her. Some puppies are very gregarious and will just deal with any kind of man handling, and some are not. How you act will be important because if you calm and cool and no nonsense, she'll take her cues from you.
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It's a puppy, until it's seen something, it's new to it. Let it be a puppy and let it explore. As a puppy, nerve isn't measured by how it responds, but more of how it recovers. If it doesn't have the nerve to be a PPD, nothing you do now will change that. Let it be a puppy.

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Old 10-20-2011, 04:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKlatsky View Post
Could be any number of things. Everyone feels brave in their home environment. She felt secure with her litter. Now the world is much bigger and scarier. She probably does have some nerves. This does not necessarily make her a bad dog, but it does mean you have to do more work to make her a really good dog. She is going to need a lot more neutral socialization and exposure so that she can feel comfortable with everything. One of my dogs has some nerve and reactivity to him. It's part of his personality and I can't change that, but with leadership and exposure he's confident in almost all situations, has excellent recovery when he does get startled, and is now my favorite dog to take places.

Take her everywhere and ignore her. Sounds strange I know. But consider if you were shy and someone took you to a party where EVERYONE rushed over and immediately got in your face and started talking to you. They were just being friendly, but sometimes it's enough to send you into a full blown panic. Much better to hang out by the wall, get to see everything, assess the dynamic of the place, and then maybe have some positive experiences with one or two new people who are non threatening. It works the same for puppies. Sometimes, it's easier to be accepting of new situations if you're not put on the spot.

So find a store and just go sit outside and watch everyone go in and out. Don't let everyone pet the puppy, not because you dont want her to be social, but because you do not want to overwhelm her. Some puppies are very gregarious and will just deal with any kind of man handling, and some are not. How you act will be important because if you calm and cool and no nonsense, she'll take her cues from you.
That is great advice.
Give her opportunities to recover on her own at her own speed.
My dog tends to be timid but she always comes around and warms up and relaxes. That's just the way she is and always will be. Yours may be similar. All you can do is provide situations where she can gradually build confidence.
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