Puppy with fear. HELP?

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Puppy with fear. HELP?

This is a discussion on Puppy with fear. HELP? within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; hey guys I'm looking for a puppy, so today i went to visit an abandoned 5 months old mix puppy breed..I really like her and ...

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Old 05-10-2013, 10:35 AM
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Lightbulb Puppy with fear. HELP?

hey guys

I'm looking for a puppy, so today i went to visit an abandoned 5 months old mix puppy breed..I really like her and she seems very sweet. The only problem is that she is fearful for people. She was abandoned on the street and she has been for like 10 days with these volunteers that keep her in the moment.They have a cat and a labrador dog, and she seems to not be afraid of them at all. Also with those volunteers she gets along pretty well..It's just a matter of time and confidence i guess. When i came in she was hiding. The whole time she tried to hide, growled softly and tried to hide behind the volunteer-man.
He took her up and let me pet her, she was pretty afraid..but didn't bite or something.

I really want to adopt her and help her become less fearful. It's my first dog, what should i do? Should i take her and try to help? Will it be ''easy'' ? She doesn't seem like an extreme case because she doesn't bite, goes along with animals and is still young. Please help!


Last edited by soleaa; 05-10-2013 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 05-10-2013, 01:44 PM
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I say go for it, if you have a lot of patience and can commit to using positive only methods. (Plus, that face! How can you resist?)

My dog was very, very fearful when I got him. He didn't bite, either, he just completely shut down and went to sleep. He barely left the couch the first 2 weeks I had him. He wouldn't look at my face, wouldn't play, was hand shy and if I gave a command, like "sit", he would curl up into a ball of misery.

So, we implemented a rule: if the dog asks for attention, he gets it, immediately, but no one could give him attention if he didn't ask for it. I started giving him treats for everything: responding to his name, looking in my direction, moving one step in my direction. Treats rained from the sky on my dog. Now Kabota follows me around, asks for attention, asks for play and is confident in every room of the house.

I didn't train any commands for 6 weeks. When I started training commands, I used hand gestures instead of words. I trained in very short sessions, just a few minutes, and I always started and ended on something he knew, like his name. Using a clicker really moved things along. The clicker allowed him to understand exactly what I wanted and that allowed Kabota to really enjoy training, instead of being frustrated. Now, he knows sit, down, up, stay, wait, speak, spin, back up and play dead.

I worked on playing by rubbing his toys with hot dogs and treating any interest he displayed in them, even just looking at them. Now we play a game I call "running around like loons", which involves chasing each other, playing tug and rolling around on the floor.

Just be aware, these things take time. There were many times I despaired of ever reaching Kabota. It was 6 months before he wagged his tail. I'd say I only started seeing the "real Kabota" about a year after I got him. But, Kabota was 3-5 years old when I got him, and he was treated very poorly, whereas your dog is very young and just isn't used to people.
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Old 05-10-2013, 03:04 PM
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If you get her please keep in mind that it may not be easy, and it probably won't be fast, to get her to come around.

You'll need to be very patient and calm with her. Amaryllis gave you some great advice about how to reach her and teach her that she can trust you. Check out this thread about calming signals, it'll help you learn what she's trying to tell you with her body language https://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior...signals-10084/

I find that once a person wins a shy dogs confidence they're some of the most loving dogs around.
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Old 05-10-2013, 04:49 PM
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Thankyou guys so much!

I'm getting more and more motivated of getting her..
Wish me luck!
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Old 05-10-2013, 05:22 PM
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Well, I"m going to be a realist here, and a contrarian.

You are in for a load of difficulties with a pup who at 5 months is this fearful. Fear as a puppy can easily turn to fear-aggression as an adult.

It will take an experienced dog owner/puppy raiser to give this dog a shot at growing up balanced and confident. Even with an experienced owner, odds are still against a happy ending.

THAT is the REALITY of this situation.
Believing in the Disney story of being able to turn around a pup like this with lots of love feels wonderful, but may not be how it turns out.

The pup looks like a shep mix, and is likely to grow large. She is also likely to have some genetic temperament issues (so many sheps out there now with this) along with her traumatic start, you are really in a tough place.

I have no doubt YOU can gain her trust, but the problem will be her fear of other people and dogs. She may turn out to be untrustworthy around people and children and other animals.


Leave this one for someone who knows more.

Get yourself a puppy or dog that has been properly socialized and has been better cared for. Go to your local shelter and there are loads of dogs who will be a better match for you, and you will still be saving a life.

Its a 10 year commitment. Think about your family situation over the next decade, and make a sensible decision. I know, from having a difficult, fearful, reactive dog, that it can take over your life.

That's my 2 cents.
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