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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
On the 29th of July we welcomed a little sable gsd puppy into our home!
I couldn’t be happier - she’s friendly and funny, is taking to commands nicely despite being with us for only two weeks and she’s a joy to be around. Well, for everyone except my dad.
My parents have been at work for the last two weeks leaving me to look after the kids and Mik, meaning she’s only really got to know the children in the household. My mum is home more often than my dad during the week so Miki has had a chance to befriend her as well (even if just a little).
However, Miki has only been able to see my dad on weekends and on the mornings and the evenings of weekdays. Due to this she’s quite fearful of him - he doesn’t help by chasing after her and picking her up when she tries to run. She wees a little when she’s cornered or hides behind me, and yesterday she was growling at him. It wasn’t a playful growl, she looked genuinely afraid. She was sat on my lap when this happened so I thought this may be a guarding thing.
I’ve told my dad that it will take time but I’m scared Miki’s behaviour has upset him. Does anyone have any tips?
Also attached some pics for anyone interested ? xx
 

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Dad has to ignore her. He has to get over the urge to pick up the cuddly puppy and love on her and see if from her eyes. She is not long lost from her brothers and sisters and mother. Everything is new and she doesn't know how to respond to everything that is coming at her. He probably looks huge and dangerous. If he ignores her and gives her space to just watch him, then she'll have time to see that he is safe and part of her new pack. Patience patience patience...and the occasionally dropped treat. If he does drop treats now and then, he has to ignore her and not make a big deal out of it. Otherwise it will be "Oh, Look a treat! Oh crap, I got the treat but now that big scary man is coming at me again. No more treats for me!" The idea is that eventually when she wants a treat she may even come to him to see if one will drop. Then over time she may even nudge him "hey, do you have any treats?" One of the dog training podcasts I listen to calls this technique "the leaky toddler". You know how kids drop crumbs all over and think nothing of it so the dog follows the kid around.
 

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The leaky toddler technique sounds great and I’ll be sure to suggest it to my dad, thank you! As for leaving her be and ignoring her, i did advise my parents to do this but neither really took to the idea (its hard to ignore a little fluffy puppy, right?). My mum has been better than my dad though who seems to be forcing things a little. I think a second opinion on this will mean he’ll try to tone things down a bit though, so thanks for the suggestion ! X
 

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She's adorable!


I instruct people how to interact with my dog - that's totally ok to do that. I agree, have your dad tone it way down, ignore her. No forced interactions. Just let it happen.


It's funny, one of my little brothers has always been super friendly to my adult GSD, who really wants nothing to do with him. He greets him, then is done. Now my other brother who hardly pays attention to him, he will seek out, lay at his feet, will bring him a ball to play.
 

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Chasing a fearful puppy is plain stupid. Your dad may not be experienced in dog behavior but any ***** can figure out that doing just that is mean. She piddles as the ultimate sign of submission. When she is older she may fear-bite him and then what?
I hope he raised you differently ;). If he doesn't comply, you have to keep the pup away from him before she is ruined.
 

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It’s been two weeks since we got her so I think he’s a bit impatient now. You’re right though - nothing should be forced and things like this take time ! I’ll continue to look out for and stick up for her as I know any negative experiences she has now could lead to long term problems ?
Thanks all for your advice!
 

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I was in your shoes when I got Halsey. She attached to my mom fairly quickly. She would babysit and Halsey loves her so it helped my dad with his wanting to pounce on and pet the puppy. She was also pretty bad with my brother but he was the most forceful. She likes him now but when there are new people she's unsure of she will back-off from my brother but he respects her space and she warms back up.
 

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Yes exactly - I think it’s so important for an owner to respect a dog’s space.
It’s reassuring to hear things turned out well for you. I hope that will be the case for us also! I just don’t want my dad to be too upset or frustrated with the situation. Obviously it’s not Mik’s fault, I suppose it can’t be helped ?
 

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In addition to the leaky toddler technique (love the name), also have him try sitting on the floor while he's watching tv or listening to music. Hard as it is, he should ignore her totally while sitting on the floor. Only if/when she approaches him, can he can toss a treat. Over time, he can toss it closer and closer to himself as she seems more comfortable. He should NOT reach out and try to touch her right away. She's gotta gain confidence in him and any sudden movement is likely to undermine that. IME male humans (especially adults) often scare puppies because they're big (relatively speaking), tend to move abruptly (compared to female humans), and speak abruptly in deep rather than higher pitched baby voices.

If you look at videos of really good trainer/handlers working with very young puppies, their bodies are rounded over, rather than upright, their movements are generally slower, and their voices are soothing and more high pitched. It all sends a message saying, "I won't hurt you, you're safe with me."

Aly
 

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She is adorable. Congratulations on your pup. It's exciting to get a pup, and everyone, EVERYONE, wants to feel important or special/acknowledged by the pup. There are those of us who know better but still the initial, the pup doesn't like me, hurts a little until our brain kicks in. I agree with having your dad ignore her, for now.
 

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I had to follow my own advice with a young GSD today. He wasn't a tiny pup but he was still very young. I wanted to play with him but instead just made myself present. He really wanted nothing to do with me but was polite. He really wanted to go to work (tracking down lost hotdog pieces in a field). If we had insisted on him greeting me it would have set us both up for future bad feelings.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi all,
Thanks for all your advice and congratulatory messages! Dad has really taken to the leaky toddler technique and is doing his best with being patient. Miki is improving too! She hides behind me still but tolerates dad thanks to him starting to restrain himself.
I can see the two being good mates in the near future... ?
 
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