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I adopted a dog a over a month ago who also was people shy. Now mine was never to the extent that it sounds yours is. Mine never had negative experience with people she just had practically no interaction experience with people (or experience being inside a house), so she was definitely anxious and very nervous but not TERRIFIED (except the first two days, she just mentally shut down and wouldn't leave her crate).

After 3 days she quickly identified her safe-spot as being on the rug of our raised living room, this is her "home base" that she always retreats to as soon as she is nervous or uncertain. We started by tossing treats to her in her safe zone, then on the edge of her safe zone, then slightly outside. Toss treat then walk away (so that your presence isn't creating pressure). We'd toss the treat further and further afield. This got her to the point that she began to explore a bit outside the safe-zone on her own (and after a week or so the whole apartment - with frequent returns to the safe zone).

Then we got her accustomed to us walking around and being near her just outside her safety zone (slowly decreasing the distance between us and the treat so she had to be closer to us to get it). Luckily our girl was never aggressive and we could always leash her and handle her safely, but she was very stressed during those interactions (wouldn't even eat a treat)-- this approach got her to the point that she was around us and (later) being handled by us without the stress. The first 2 weeks was spent with the above approach.

Yours sounds considerably more shut down then ours was. You need to know your dog and what approaches work for her, but you may want to consider leashing her either to yourself whenever your home or if you're in a different room have her tied up on a long-ish leash so that she can't escape back to her safe zone but she has room to move around/not feel trapped/explore (once comfortable). Toss treats to her and then give her space, toss the treat further from her (so that she has to stretch for it, then move a little toward it, then take 2-3 steps to it, etc). This is essentially flooding her to the new area (throwing her into the new place then trying to build positive enough experiences that she gains confidence in that place) -- some dogs will not be able to handle it and will regress, others can respond positively. My dog is definitely one who under controlled flooding will typically realize within a short period "oh...this actually isn't so bad" and then makes substantial progress. If your dog has had negative experiences, this approach may not work as it's not "I don't know what this situation is and I'm nervous", but instead "I've been here and it's BAD".

Also if your dog likes other dogs (many street dogs do), then setting up play dates with other dogs can be huge. I knew my dog interacted well with other dogs (i'd seen her at the shelter happily playing) but once with us she was so scared of EVERYTHING that she was also terrified of other dogs. I spent the first week of our walks getting her to interact with every CALM & friendly dog that I could think of to get her back to socializing normally with dogs and you could visibly see her gaining confidence after a positive interaction with a dog. Again, emphasizing calm (canine senior citizens are great for this). She would be a lot braver & more confident with me right after greeting another dog. So I used that to my advantage as much as possible (lots of frequent walks & dog-meetings during the day to constantly "re-boost" her confidence levels since inside the house was definitely the scary place).


Good luck! She will probably always remain a skittish dog that needs to be carefully watched and her stress levels managed, but watching my dog make progress and gain confidence has been AMAZING. It is so rewarding when you do see these little achievements. The first time my dog engaged in play with me I nearly cried from happiness since she'd been terrified of me just weeks before.
 

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That's a huge positive behavior!! :thumbsup: Great progress! That's definitely the beginnings of her saying "I trust you"!

Don't be scared to push her outside her boundaries, but just make sure that you're moving at her pace. Wait until the "scary" thing has become normalized before making the next incremental step.

I was lucky that my dog moved quite quickly, but she would definitely have (and still has her) off days. Don't be disheartened by them and celebrate all the small victories that she achieves. Although my celebrations were veeeery subdued in the beginning as anything more then a half-whispered "good girl" just sent my girl running to her safe zone. She now embraces the baby-talk "good girl" and lots of pats and face-shmooshes, I just read her body language as what an acceptable level of excitement is from me given her comfort in the situation.
 
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