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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have a 10 month old spaniel who is hand shy towards strangers. We've had him since a pup and he isn't hand shy towards us or people he knows well. Is this a normal thing? Every time I research it websites assume the dog is hand shy towards everyone and that he must have been mistreated. He's super sociable with other dogs.
 

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My Cocker mix is similar. Of course, my dog is also fearful and reactive, but even when he feels comfortable with a person he has to get really, really comfortable before he won't wince or shy away from affection.

I'd not worry too much about it, but I would give lots of treats when he's near strangers (even if he doesn't interact) and a jackpot if he initiates any sort of positive interaction. Won't hurt to get him to think that strangers are the best things in the world :) Even if he never lets them pet him, at least it will (hopefully) prevent the major reactivity my guy is working through.
 

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I would just say when you meet new people give them treats, and have them just hold their hand out and if the dogs sniffs then praise, praise, praise.

Then you can have people scratch under the chin and lift the head up a little bit and then maybe move to the top of the head. but take it slow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
At the moment he happily takes treats from people and allows people to go under his chin or pat his sides, it's literally just his head.
 

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I don't think you have an issue then. Many dogs don't like when people they don't know reach over their head; it's actually better manners to pet a dog below the chin.

Just look at it as an opportunity to educate people on how to approach/handle a strange dog.
 
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