View Full Version : My Male Is very Scared and Shy

6th November 2008, 04:20 AM
I recently rescued a male tri color from a breeder that was neglecting him. He is 2 now and I got him when he was 1.5 year old. He has never gotten the socialization he needs. He is very passive and scared of everything. Luckily, he is very good with my kids and my other dogs. When I first got him, he is very scared of me, but now starting to trust me. When I walk him, he is scared of the outside, and cars...When people bend down and try to pet him he backs up, like they are going to hit him. This makes me really sad. How can I get him socialize at this age? And not be scared of anything? Espicially of new people? I am giving up on him... I love him dearly....But, I need help.

6th November 2008, 08:28 AM
I rescued a papillon bitch some years ago who had been kept in a rabbit hutch by an old lady. Poor Dottie took three days to venture out of her carrying box, and every sound in the house or outside scared her silly.

I felt rather stupid, but what helped her was I borrowed a pushchair (baby buggy in America?) from a friend, one of those with a see through cover that goes right over? I put a harness on her and put her in that snuggled up in a blanket. She could see the world, cars and people, but they couldn't touch her and she felt secure. Then after a couple of weeks I took her out without the cover up, and invited calm friends to stroke her and give her a little treat. It took several months to get her socialised and she never was as confident as my other dogs, but she was much improved.

I'd take it very steadily, only take him places you know will be quiet, no screaming kids or roaring traffic to start with, and as he gets more confident with you, he should improve. Good luck!

7th November 2008, 08:31 PM
I'm responding to this post so it will get kicked back up to the top, as I think you would benefit from some words of wisdom from the many people on this site who have rescues.

From what I understand, it takes a long time for rescues to become "normal" dogs, and some never will. I wouldn't worry so much that he gets scared when strangers try to pet him...that will just take time. I think it may help him if you say to people "he's very shy- he is a rescue, so it would help if you didn't try to pet him until he feels comfortable. thanks." If he gets accustomed to people kind-of ignoring him, he may feel better about sniffing them first and would be less scared of someone trying to pet him.

I think the most important thing is that he feels comfortable with your family, and it sounds like he does. The rest will come...with TIME. Take things very slowly and try to let him take the lead with what he's ready for. Enjoy him for who he is, and not what you'd like him to be ideally.

Cathy Moon
7th November 2008, 11:28 PM
If you are in the US, it might help to find a certified pet dog trainer (CPDT) who belongs to APDT: http://www.apdt.com/about/default.aspx

APDT is an organization founded by Ian Dunbar, who is one of the foremost modern dog trainers. A CPDT will use only the most positive training methods.

Another thought would be to contact a veterinary behaviorist (but they are very few and far between in some areas): http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/ We have only two behaviorists in our area.

7th November 2008, 11:56 PM
An APDT or CCPDTtrainer would hep you with this task. Please don;t give up on a dog for being shy -- if it is really important for you to have a different personality in your dog, and this task seems too daunting, then talk to club rescue in in North America (all club rescues are listed in the breed rescue forum) or PM me if you are in the UK or Ireland, Rescue dogs can be a major challenge and understandably for many people this is a big mountain to climb -- not all families can give the training and time to a dog with problems due to its earlier hardships. It is not reflection on anyone if they feel this is not the role for them as people don;t know whether this type of challenge suits them til they are in the middle of it. :flwr:

In general, you need to let your dog take its own pace while giving supportive training. Meeting people is clearly too frightening still and you need to ask people not to reach for your dog and scare him. I'd suggest getting the manual on training shy dogs on www.deesdogs.com as this should be a huge help for you if you wish to take on this task but I'd also get professional help from a certified, rewards-based training trainer.

If this is only a recent rescue you need to lower your own expectations to allow this dog to emerge at his own pace. he may never be an outgoing friendly dog -- and if that is the case you need to respect that his early life shaped him in ways that make this just too hard for this particular dog. I have two shyer dogs and two outgoing ones -- I simply ask people to leave the shy ones alone and invite them to interact with my outgoing ones. :) There are ways to gradually encourage a shy and scared dog, but placing them into situations that are scary for the dog will generally only worsen the problem, not address it.

8th November 2008, 02:07 AM
as of right now, he is getting a little more comfortable with me and my kids. He loves my kids, and he doesn't feel threaten with them. He is also likes my 2 other dogs and that makes me feel happy that I know he is not alone all the time. Sometimes though he hides and prefer to stay in his crate. I did take the door of the crate...
I am really hoping he won't be so scared anymore....