6 month old very timid - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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6 month old very timid

Hello my wife and just got our first German shepherd last Friday. She was shy when we got her and we didn’t think much about it. She’s still very shy and timid scared of dogs and cats/kittens. Very sweet dog but doesn’t want to play at all just wants to sleep or hide behind me. Anything I can do to help am I over reacting? She also seems like she don’t want to eat either. Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 12:15 PM
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A large part of behaviour is genetic. A dog that is shy as a pup will likely always be shy, and by 6 months old, a dog's character is pretty firmly set.

If you want a companion that is not going to cringe when exposed to new things, don't pick the one that's hiding in the corner of the kennel. Pick the one that comes boldly forward to greet you and sniff you.

I've been in your shoes, and spent hundreds of dollars on training to overcome the dog's shyness, without seeing much change. In my case, the dog's shyness didn't show up when she was a pup, but began around 7 months old.

By 2 years of age, she still could not pass a basic temperament test, and was so frightened when a small puppy came running towards her that she jerked the leash out of my hand.

I eventually rehomed her to an owner who gave her a quiet pet home.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 03:23 PM
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After rereading your post, I need to add, please get her vet checked. Sleeping all the time and not wanting to eat does NOT describe your average healthy 6 month old GSD!

Are her shots up to date? Has she been wormed?

What do you know about her background?

It's quite normal for a dog, especially a timid dog to shut down when major changes happen in its life, but most healthy dogs have healthy appetites, even when somewhat stressed!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 03:35 PM
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What Sunsilver said about a vet check^. This dog is brand new to you. At six months she was probably bonded with someone and she is missing them and her home and wants to go back to the only world she knew.

Get her to a vet and take it easy on her. Give her a couple of weeks to come around. The shyer dogs can be a blessing and easy keepers so don't sell her short. If you don't see much improvement in a few weeks, work on bonding and exposure with her doing things that she likes to do.

If you need equipment to maintain control of your dog, understand you’re hanging on to your dog’s body because you’ve lost his mind!

Suzanne Clothier
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all. Yes she’s up to date on all of her shots. I will go get her checked out.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-23-2019, 03:52 PM
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My older dog was a rescue at 4 months. When we met her, she seemed curious and calm, but by the time we picked her up they said she was not coming out of her crate and was hiding a lot. We took our older dog with us and the second she saw him, it was like she woke up and got her confidence back. She still was afraid of many things and cringed when I took her out in public. I refused to let that continue. I kept her with me for two weeks, only interacting with family or our other dog. Then I put her into puppy class and began taking her places where we could observe from a distance. Food is soothing, so I took her out when she was hungry and had a treat bag with kibble in it. Every time we explored something new, I kept treating her the whole time. I was careful to feed her when she showed positive behavior or curiosity and not when she was cringing. I used her regular food to soothe her and better treats to train. We did that for a year. She went through a full year of obedience classes and got a near perfect score at their graduation match. She still cringes away from strangers but has amazing confidence when she needs to.

I think this all started in the foster home. They had a toddler who was in a lot of pictures with her. They fostered for two months so she spent her most formative socialization period hiding from a grabby toddler and some pretty aggressive cats. She is still good with children, but we never got her 100% over the reaction. It’s Ok, though, it is who she is. I suggest a two week shut down. Then start gradual exposure to 1000 different things and 1000 different people. Reward her for calm behavior but don’t comfort her fear.
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Last edited by LuvShepherds; 09-23-2019 at 03:55 PM.
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