View Full Version : Advice on behaviour

19th March 2008, 11:35 AM
Hi to everyone

Looking for some advice on the behaviour of Amber, our youngest Cavalier. We have had her since before Christmas but still is very reserved. We bought her as a 12 week old. She can be very boisterious & playful with our other Cavalier Ruby but around people she becomes very withdrawn and nearly bordering on afraid. She starts to cower and run to her bed and hides. We asked the Vet and he thinks she may have been neglected as a pup but no matter how much we try to get her used to people she wont. Any ideas how to get her more used to people.

19th March 2008, 12:02 PM
First of all I would advise that you get some friends to come round armed with some tasty treats, each time she goes to them she is rewarded! I would also advise that you take her out as often as you can and allow people to pet her from the safety of your arms and graduate to her being on the ground. Some bitches can be quite reserved naturally, one of my old girls had a bad fright when only 4 weeks old and NEVER got over it no matter how hard we tried with her, but we did eventually get her to tolerate being made a fuss of in the house!!

19th March 2008, 12:25 PM
This is why vets generally aren't the best to ask for advice on dog behaviour as opposed to health. :lol:

This kind of behaviour really only rarely has anything to do with neglect unless the puppy came from a truly vile situation -- a puppy farm or neglectful backyard breeder (hopefully, this is a pup from a reputable show breeder who has health tested her breeding dogs :thmbsup:). I will come back to this possibility in a moment.

More likely, the breeder did not take the time to properly expose the puppies to lots of human activity and different individuals and groups. Alternatively she may just be a shy cavalier and right now is the all-important time to be socialising her effectively. However she is may not be done with her full puppy vax set yet? You need to wait til two weeks after the final jab to take your pup outside, as otherwise she may have no immunity against serious diseases like parvo -- and this is usually at about 12-16 weeks. That means social interactions still need to happen in your home. I'd encourage people to come meet and greet and play with her -- all types from adults to (supervised!) children -- have them sit down, not tower over her, and have them have snmall tidbits to treat her with -- they can offer them on an open palm. Let her take her time to come over and explore; never allow people, especially children, to grab or chase after a puppy. If she is particularly shy, ask people to not look directly at her -- look sideways, and smile -- this is seen as a friendly overture by a dog; a direct look can be taken as a threat.

The key thing for puppies is not to put them in frightening situations as that fearful event can imprint itself on them permanently, making for a permanently worried and shy dog as an adult.

Back to puppy farms -- if by any chance she came from this type of horrific background -- and many of the puppies sold online in the US or thru pet shops, or in Ireland through the ad papers and online sites like Donedeal and the Buy&Sell are farmed puppies sold by brokers or puppy farmers themselves, who typically will not allow you to see where they keep the dogs or come meet you somewhere with the puppy or ship it -- then this can be ingrained as part of temperament or behaviour and may never change. But the approach is the same as above -- and most dogs get better over time. Also some breeders are really only in breeding to make money off litters -- they do not breed for health, conformation or temperament -- and they also cannot be bothered to socialise their puppies -- these may arrive as very shy pups too.

I rcommend reading thru the 'Puppy Stuff' section here which has lots on properly socialising a puppy -- which is fun to do! Also have a look at the 'Worried Dogs' section as that may be of help:


Also have a look at the 'For Puppies' section here, for articles on socialising your pup:


You'll notice Dee also has a section just below this on shy dogs! She also sells a GREAT manual on working with shy dogs that many US traininers use, if you find the shyness isn't going away.

Let us know how she gets on! :)