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My 3 1/2 month old puppy Rocky is the most affectionate puppy ever...to me and my boyfriend. He loves us so much and I feel like I can do anything to him and he wouldn't care. I can touch any part of his body and he will just wag his tail like he is in love. I can rub his gums, mess with his feet and nails, clean his ears, basically anything. He is the same way with my boyfriend.

However, he is unbelievably shy around others. Any time a person reaches down to pet him he gets as low as he can to the ground and avoids their touch and then run between my or my boyfriends legs or hides behind us. I even had someone ask me if he was abused! (Really upset me!)

When my mom and sister come into town they don't try to pet him at first. They play fetch for 30 minutes to an hour and then Rocky doesn't mind them petting him at all. (I say don't mind because I feel like he just doesn't crave for anyone to pet him but me and my boyfriend) I have been thinking maybe it is like how I love hugs from my boyfriend, I hug my friends, and I don't want to hug strangers. Am I completely wrong?

A man at petsmart told me he had a german shepherd and he didn't try to pet Rocky. He told me that he is glad his german shepherd only craves his touch.

The first time Rocky met another dog was when my boyfriend took him out to use the bathroom (out of our apartment) and the IDIOT next door opened their door and let their big sheep-looking dog run out. It attacked Rocky, but my boyfriend punched it in the face and grabbed Rocky (Who went #2 all over him out of fright). Since then, Rocky only has three dogs that he likes. My neighbors two scotties and my friends pomeranian.

He isn't aggressive towards other people or dogs...so is it ok that he doesn't like them to pet? I give people treats to give him, and he will let them pet him while he gets the treat then leave. He has met one girl and one guy that he let pick him up and cuddle him. Maybe they looked like us?

I'm really worrying about him, though I'm not sure it is neccessary. As long as he is not aggressive, isn't it ok for him to be wary of people at first/not want their affection? When we are on walks, he sits when people walk by, but watches them intently if they jog away.

I was trying to socialize him with other grown dogs, but my vet got upset and said we shouldn't socialize him until after his next shots (December 31) and by then he will be 16 weeks and past that "special socialization stasge" I've been reading about.

Anyone have a similiar story? Or advice? Thanks!
 

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I've been looking at socialization as 90 percent everything BUT dogs and 10% puppy class and known dogs.

We've been taking Eva EVERYWHERE with us. Yesterday we were at a block party and she was just lying down, so ho-hum, because it wasn't her first. I do give strangers treats randomly if they will let me and I've taken her up to police officers, soldiers, etc., (uniforms and extra 'parts'), asking them to pet my dog. No one has refused me.

I don't do dog parks or any heavily trafficked dog areas.

This is what we do and what works for us. Not saying it's all the right way.
 

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i say socialize, socialize and socialize and train, train
and train. find a class or take private lessons.
 

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If you haven't already, enroll in a good puppy class. A lot of them will allow you to enroll before the shots are completely done, they're just playing with other puppies that are at the same level of immunization.

My Rocky is the exact same way you describe. We socialized him like crazy when he was a pup but he still avoids the touch of anybody who isn't in his immediate circle of friends. We have been asked repeatedly if he was abused.

This may be right or wrong, but I make allowances for it. I don't allow people to pet him until he has had a chance to sniff them and decide they're ok. If he doesn't want them to pet him, I don't let them.

With a shy dog, even if he's non-aggressive, you do need to be more careful about bites than with outgoing friendly ones because any dog will bite if it feels cornered or threatened. Some idiots will try to "make friends with" your dog by forcing their affection on him. They'll say, "It's ok, dogs love me" and then proceed to try to corner him and pet him against the dog's will. This is an open invitation to a bite and you need to make sure it doesn't happen.

Make sure all of his interactions with people and with other dogs are happy and positive. You can have people ignore him while holding a yummy treat loosely in their hand. He can come up to him of his own accord, in his own time, and take the treat. In this way he can learn that good things can come from coming up to people and they aren't all going to try and pet him right away.

Hope that helps.
 

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Socializing with dogs isn't the same as with people. Your post talks about how shy he is with people he doesn't know, but then you talked about how you were socializing him with other dogs and your vet disagreed with this.

If you want to follow your vets line of thinking and not socialize with other dogs that is your call, but that doesn't have anything to do with socializing with other people.
 

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I would make sure to talk to a trainer about this. Tanner was the exact same way when he was little, and now at 10 months we're having some fear/aggression issues. Not that your pup is going to have the same issues as mine, but it's good to know what to do about it while he's still little and before he gets really upset.
 

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Great advice....also...

Always have treats and reward for positive experiences. Today we had our foster GSD (10 months) at a Christmas outing the girls had a hula hoop they put it over her head and she was sitting in it and they were moving it around her for fun. As they did this I focused on her and treated her, told her she was a good girl and when people pet her I am always focused on her and her body language and treating her for her calm and confident behavior. Many times I treat her and people don't understand why I would be treating her with either a GOOD or a treat and I say it is because she is being calm and confident with whatever is going on..kids running, dogs going by, noises etc... I am always watching her and shaping her confidence. You can shape a dog by just watching them and rewarding them for their good behavior (not always asked behaviors). So when she lays down and calms herself I tell her GOOD..I am always looking for good behaviors whether we are at training, out doing public socialization or in the house. Shaping is an awesome way to build confidence. I am very lucky that she is a very confident girl but calm too.

I have done this with both my rescues and one is a rescued GSD that I am still working with on shaping. I can tell you my rescued GSD doesn't like pets from strangers he will get up and go behind me and I always say he is more reserved but a good boy. I don't get into it with people. I don't want people to feel sorry for him because he didn't get the socialization he needed I need people respect him for who he is :). If that makes sense.

When we are in the car waiting waiting for the kids at school when the dogs are looking out the window calmly I am always saying GOOD and mark that behavior. Mark good behaviors as much as you can will help eliminate behaviors you don't want.
 

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Doing better... a little!

I've just enrolled Rocky in puppy training class. Unfortunately it doesn't start until the 28th, but I am going to work on socializing him until then. Apparently, the hastings near us allows dogs (the owners have dogs) and so does lowes.

I was a little hesitant to do the training class because he has already learned how to sit, stay, come, lay down, roll over, shake, get in the car, get out of the car, and a few more. However, I spoke to the trainer and he said he focuses more on the socialization with both other animals and humans! Exactly what I need!

Rocky got groomed for the first time today, and as soon as we left they said he was perfect and could come back anytime!

Really excited about that!

The trainer also suggested that with our friends, any time Rocky goes near them curiously, to give him treats as he gets closer and closer until he lets them pet. And he said when they give him treats to crouch and give it from the side so they are less intimidating. Definitely going to try that!
 

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You'll probably be surprised how quickly your dog "forgets" all your home training when in a new enviornment with lots of other dogs and people.

If I had a penny for every owner that said, "But he does it at home..." I'd be rich. ;)
 
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