Encouraging the timid puppy
My pup is between 8-9 weeks old and on the timid side. He's very comfortable with my family, but will run from strangers in the house. It takes him several hours to get comfortable enough to cautiously come up to them, and then if there are sudden movements he will take off again. He's not what I would consider fearful though; once he goes up to them, they can pick him up and pet him and hold him and he is okay with it, just clearly prefers to sit on a family member's lap.
Outside, if he's startled by sudden noises or unexpected movement, he will shoot to the end of the leash and then do that fish-at-the-end-of-the-line dance to get away. I usually respond by crouching down and giving him encouraging words, and petting him when he comes to me.
I don't think he got exposure to many different things before coming home, and he was the more timid of his littermates, so I think it's a matter of simply being nervous about anything new.
How can I build up his confidence? We're doing clicker training and he's great with it, and I have been taking him for short forays around the block with lots of encouragement (on walks he trails along behind me and stops here and there to investigate things). When guests come over, I keep it very low key and tell them to just sit on the floor and talk nicely until he comes over. What else can I do?