Puppy afraid of people and other dogs

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Puppy afraid of people and other dogs

This is a discussion on Puppy afraid of people and other dogs within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; (The first paragraph will be background information on my new puppy.) I recently adopted a 10 week old pomeranian. He was immediately attached to me ...

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Old 05-08-2015, 09:29 PM
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Exclamation Puppy afraid of people and other dogs

(The first paragraph will be background information on my new puppy.)
I recently adopted a 10 week old pomeranian. He was immediately attached to me and on our introduction the breeder handed him over to me and placed him on my lap. I took my puppy home and started facing problems with him with severe separation anxiety (he follows me around everywhere, cries when left in a room by himself, whines and screams if i'm not around.) It's been a week now and I've been able to redirect these behaviors by ignoring his cries and just through research so the whining has stopped. I asked about my puppy's socialization from the breeder and he said my puppies always been shy of new people and that he's never introduced him to new dogs.

My puppy originally growled when he met my older dog. Now they live in harmony. They're not friends/playmates but they don't bother one another. My issue is with how scared my puppy is when brought to a new environment or introduced to new people. If anyone approaches my puppy and I'm not petting him then he'll freak out, growl, and snap. He'll hide in a corner or in his crate unless I bring him out in a new environment. I want people to be able to approach my puppy and pet him without worrying that he might bite them. The only time he'll be accepting of someone is if I physically carry the puppy and put him on their lap or have them carry him. I usually intrduce him to new people this way and have them offer him a treat. Of course, as soon as I walk out teh room, he'll jump off their lap and come following me around again. The same person who is just petting him will try petting him and he'll growl at them. He's never shown aggression or fear around me and is always a calm companion. He's very obedient, stays by my side, and isn't crazy and all over the place. He's also not a barker such as when the door bell rings or if we're walking by another dog or person he'll be quiet. He also doesn't show any possessive behaviors around his toys or me. If I play with another dog he's very submissive and won't whine or cry or if I'm talking to another person he'll be fine as well. Any tips on socializing him to be accepting of strangers?
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Old 05-10-2015, 06:42 AM
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Hi, I'm no expert, but I would think placing an already fearful dog on a strangers lap is terrifying him? I would have people ignore him, including yourself, keep using the treats, but have your guests just drop/throw them randomly & act normal, keep chatting to each other while not looking at him. Again, when the dog comes out for the treats, or just starts wandering around, just ignore him. I know this is hard to do, but he needs to understand that people aren't scary & are not going to lunge at him or pick him up, it's going to take quite some time I think. Hopefully there will be others here who can help address the other problems you are having. I would love to see pictures of the little guy
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Old 05-11-2015, 02:57 PM
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How old is the dog now? is it still very young?
it just lost it's family, so when it was in the fearful side before it will probably need a while until it gets used to you being their new family. Dogs don't know that you're now their owner they don't know that they can trust you and you'll protect them.
They just know that they're still very young and you just took them away from their mother and silblings, which is for a baby animal a very dangerous situation.
Their instinct tells your puppy that it is dangerous to be alone, since it is still too young to protect themself.
Such a young puppy, in a dog group/family wouldn't be the one meeting a stranger, may it be a human or a dog. they're still much too young and too inexperienced to protect their group from the "intruder", so the only thing they can do is stay back and learn how to behave around other people/dogs by observing the adult dogs and finally make contact and start with the stranger when they feel save and the adult family members signalise them that everything is fine.
So from the dogs point of view, I'd say this behaviour is very normal and understandable.
Of course you also have different personalities amoung the dogs and some are more brave and other are easier scared, but generally this is healthy dog behaviour.
It's not that you shouldn't let your dog experience new people/dogs, but I'd ask them to ignore the dog and don't touch him and especially don't leave your dog alone with a stranger.
when he's so scared I'd start with keeping him with you (on the floor, on a leash, in your control) and reward just accepting the stranger calmly until the dog by itself decides to make contact.
I'm not a big friend of forcing people on the dog, since the dog probably doesn't connect a nice feeling with meeting new people and this can (not must) lead to the dog detesting strangers even more.

You should also not forget, that the German Spitz was bred for being wary and more distanced around strangers, since they were bred as watch and alert dogs. So to some point the dog staying away from strangers is also normal the breed.

Last edited by mathilda; 05-11-2015 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:37 AM
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We take our dog to puppy social classes where he interacts with other dogs. Works wonders.
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