Shy Dog Training

As you are all aware, I have three Dogs but the shy Dog training only applies to one of them.

Their personalities could not be more different.

Faye is always confident, full of life, bossy, loud, big and bolshy.

Jet, the puppy of Daisy, takes quite a bit after her Mum.  She is still young and fairly shy but is much more timid than Faye.  Jet has many of the characteristics of Daisy.  Much more eager to please (if she feels confident enough) and no where near as naughty!

Daisy, our shy Dog, came from the pound almost a year and a half ago.  She was about four or five months old and a complete nervous wreck. To say she was shy would be a complete understatement.  She was terrified, scared and totally submissive.

Daisy And The Gang

Daisy And The Gang

For about a month after we first rescued her from whatever horrible things she had gone through she would never walk in front of us on walks. She didn’t need a leash.  She was so submissive she would walk behind us and NEVER leave our side.  It was heartbreaking to see her so un-confident.

Daisy Scared And Skinny Shortly After She Came To Us

Daisy Scared And Skinny Shortly After She Came To Us

Daisy would cower if you went to stroke her and normally wet herself.  If there were raised voices she would try to hide.  She always has been, and I think always will be, to some extent, a very serious Dog.

There is no chasing sticks and  no playing fetch for Daisy.  She simply is not interested.  A lot of the times she seems to take life very seriously.  Don’t get me wrong, she is happy now.  She simply has a different outlook on life to a more boisterous Dog.

When Daisy is playing with the other two Dogs, on a walk, or having a fuss, you can actually see her smiling.  Don’t laugh, I am sure of it.

It took Daisy months and months before she would raise her tail from between her legs.  It was always down in a submissive and scared state.  Now her Tail curls up in a confident manner. It is so nice to see her gradually become more confident and sociable.  I am not saying she is still not shy.  She dislikes a change to her routine and is wary of new people.  Although for the first time the other day, she licked someones face that she did not really know very well.  It may not sound like much but for her it is a supreme act of confidence. She was very pleased with herself as well.

If you are still reading then I guess you have a similar problem with a shy Dog and would like to know how to go about rehabilitating and training a shy dog.

Training A Shy Dog

I will say this first.  If you have a very  shy, nervous Dog, never expect it to turn in to a super confident, care free Dog.  It is very unlikely it will ever happen.  As with Humans, Dogs all have personalities and are very different in their natures.

We have come a long way with Daisy and I am pleased that she can now enjoy what the world has to offer a Doggie.  I never expect her to be like Faye though.  They are like Chalk and Cheese.

There are quite a few things you can do to bring your Dog out of its shell and gain confidence.  The following is by no means a comprehensive list, it is merely what we did to help Daisy along the road to confidence.

Be patient. Shy Dog behaviour will not go away overnight.  You must understand that your Dog may be very scared of almost everything.  Take it slowly and be understanding.

No sudden movements. Your shy Dog will be on edge, don’t make her even more jumpy.  Be constantly aware of how you are acting.

No shouting.  Make a conscious effort to control your noise levels. You want to create a soothing, calm environment as soon as possible.  A calm peaceful household at first will ease your shy Dog in to her new home.

Praise her whenever you can. If you see a glimmer of a lifted tail or signs of playfulness, praise her and let her know she is doing the right thing.

Do not attempt to always get close to your shy Dog. You should build up slowly the amount of interaction you have with a shy and nervous Dog.  Trying to pet a shy Dog too much at first will only make it more scared. Take it slowly.

When we first used to pat Daisy, she would put her head down and look worried.  It was all too much for her.  It has taken over a year for her to love it.  Now, if you stop rubbing her ears or patting her on the head, she will nuzzle in and lift your hand with her head so she gets more fuss.

Do not tell her off. A properly shy Dog is not going to be naughty on purpose.  Any accidents in the house etc will be from nerves or simply not being housetrained.  Shouting and telling off will get you nowhere but backwards.  Proper discipline can wait until your Dog has more confidence and is settled.

Absolutely NEVER smack, Alpha Roll or use any kind of aggressive punishment. You could ruin your Dog for life!  Techniques such as Alpha Rolling are for confident Dogs only.

Slowly, and I mean very slowly get your shy Dog used to other Dogs and people. For Daisy, other Dogs, once she got to know them, were not a problem.  Some she would play with, but overtly boisterous Dogs, such as a British Bulldog a friend of ours has, was, and still is a bit of an issue.  She still goes super submissive, lies down and opens her legs to submit to being dominated.  Nothing to be overly concerned about because for the most part she now plays well with other Dogs.

When first getting a shy Dog used to other people, keep her on the lead. Shy and nervous Dogs may actually go to bite someone who is scaring them too much.  Daisy has never exhibited this trait but it is a possibility in nervous animals.

When introducing her to new people we did it from a distance.  Once we had got her leash trained, which took some time, we would go to cafes and sit outside with her.  She could observe the world and see what was happening.  It took months, and for a long time, if someone came to talk and patted her head, she would cower and pee herself.  Life was just to scary for her.

Little by little, and one small step at a time is the way with nervous Dogs.

Don’t expect miracles straight away.  It has taken us nearly a year and a half to get Daisy to a stage where she has much more confidence.  She can meet new people, likes attention, loves to run around liek a loon, chasing and stalking the other Dogs.

She still won’t chase for a stick though!

If you have  a shy Dog and want to ask any questions I will be happy to respond in the comments section below.  I have just realised this post is already nearly 1200 words long.

The main thing is to take it slowly, calmly and be very patient.  You will both get there eventually.

Look to the future and don’t dwell on how sad your Dog seems now.  Think how great it will be to see that tail held high and a dignified look of contentment on your Noble friends face! Maybe shy Dog training will then be a thing of the past.

43 Responses to “Shy Dog Training”

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  1. Cassi says:

    This is @veela_valoom, BTW. As you know we have 5 dogs, all with different personalities. We also have a dog from the animal shlter, Snowball, who is a little shy but not quite as extreme as your Daisy.

    The thing about Snowball is she is confident…in the house. As long as she is in her territory she is fine. A little fearful, meek, but even a little mischievous at times. Currently our fence is broken (tree came down in windstorm) and we can take her outside to pee without fear of escaping. Yesterday she made like she was going to go towards the hole and we just shouted a little and she came back towards the house.

    Inside of our house, she is very friendly and loves people. She’ll quickly become friends with new people & greet them at the door. However, when you take her on walks, the old-pound terror shows. One day when we were going on a walk (it was morning & relatively dark) we encountered a group of strangers with flashlights. She was so terrified that she pulled out of the leash and RAN….towards home. She was waiting on the doorstep when I caught up. She’s also afraid when we walk by houses with other dogs in fences that bark.

    All of our dogs are rescues (only one from the animal shelter though) and I’ve always wondered what happened to them before they arrived on our doorstep.

    Just thought I would share my semi-shy dog story. Most of our dogs are pretty outgoing & some a bit fearless, but Snowball is just a wee bit different.

  2. the three dog blogger says:

    Hi Cassi, nice to see you here again.

    Thanks for sharing your story. Snowball sounds lovely.

    Like you I wonder from time to time what happened before we had Daisy. I wonder if that is what made her so shy or that it was the actaul Shelter that put her in such a bad state.

    I think you are doing a great job taking in so many Dogs.

    Don’t be a stranger and see you on Twitter soon.

  3. Pet snakes says:

    I’ve had one shy dog and found that no matter how gentle and mild we were around him he never really got over it. Someone yelling or a loud noise like a gun shot, or fireworks would set him off. Funny thing was that my dad had gotten him as a hunting dog. Let’s just say he didn’t fill that particular roll too well.

    Anyhow, curious if you think they ever truly get over it, or do they just become comfortable as long as there is nothing to stress them? I ask because we had that dog for 8 years before he died and never really seemed to get over it.

  4. I would have such a hard time with a shy dog…all of our dogs are very confident and outgoing.

    castocreations’s last blog post..From the Mouths of Babes

  5. Good write up, and it was good to hear your story of how Daisy grew more confident! Put a smile on my face, and I’m glad you were able to get her to that point!

    She’s lucky to have been rescued by such a great owner 🙂

    Taris Janitens’s last blog post..Parents: What do you Think About Children’s Vaccines?

  6. Eulalie6412 says:

    Hi there, thanks for another well-written, informative and interesting article. I also have a rescue dog, she is a Border collie cross Aussie. She was born in an RSPCA home where she lived until she was 6 months old, she was then homed badly – the man who had her thought she was half GERMAN shepherd and tried to make her into a guard-dog! All he managed was to make her scared of everything – loud noises, sudden moves, men in baseball caps and even her own shadow!
    When we first got her home she hid in the wardrobe – we had to put her on a lead to get her out -she hated any form of fuss or attention, would cower and show the whites of her eyes, lick her lips, flatten her ears and pant really fast – on walks she would run off and refused to be approached, it once took 2 hours to get close enough to put her back on the lead. She would also round-up people then run round them barking like mad – she chased cyclists and joggers, even kite -boarders at the beach. Teaching her to retrieve cured ALL of this behavior and gave a an outlet for her anxiety, now she never, ever barks, at anything!
    That was 2 years ago, now she is good on walks, chases sticks instead of the public (doesn’t bring them back though – at least not all the way) will perform a remote “Down” and can usually be relied on to obey the basic commands – she doesn’t like doing party-tricks though.
    She still clamps her tail under her belly if people try and pet her – altho I am allowed to fuss her when she feels like it – she now pricks up her ears, is interested in doggy smells and appears to be content.
    She is not and never will be brave and outgoing but I think she is happy and content, she still dislikes her routine being upset and hides if there are visitors at home, but even so I consider her a success story.

  7. the three dog blogger says:

    Pet Snakes, hi. I think in extreme cases like your Dog was and like Daisy, that they never really become confident Dogs.

    You can slowly make them a lot better but I guess their basic nature will always to be less confident than some Dogs.

    Daisy has come a long way but still reacts badly to new and different situtations.

    Castocreations, I am glad you have nice confident Dogs. It makes life easier.

    Taris, thanks for that. She has come a long way indeed.

  8. Marie says:

    I’m glad that you’ve been able to make so much progress with Daisy. Shy dogs are a challenge. I know that with Rogue, (who is more than just shy), we’ve just come to the conclusion that it’s not something that you can just “fix”. It’s a matter of accepting that they will always see the world from a different viewpoint, and that it’s alot more management on our part to keep her feeling safe and as confident as possible.

    Marie’s last blog post..Training Basics

  9. the three dog blogger says:

    Hi Marie, all we can do is our best. All Dogs have their own nature and all we can do is try to make them feel as happy and confident as we can.

    It sounds like you are doing the right thing for Rogue.

  10. This is excellent advice for a shy dog. It’s essentially the regimen we followed with Dennis, who was a wreck when he first came into rescue. At the slightest noise he would bolt from the house and cower shivering behind the trash cans. Now, of course, he is a globe-trotting adventurer and archaeologist who has faced down the likes of Darth Tater and Spiny Norman.

    He still tucks tail when eating his food, though. We would sure like to know why …

    Dennis the Vizsla’s last blog post..weekend awards serremonie

  11. the three dog blogger says:

    Hey Dennis, wow.

    Who would think that Dennis was a shy Dog. You have certainly done very well with him. It’s great to know that Dogs can come so far if looked after properly.

    I don’t think Daisy will ever become an International globe trotter though. Even if she did, who would hear about it, she can’t type like Dennis can!

  12. Pamela says:

    I have just adopted Tess a beautiful 15 month border collie. She came from a breeder on a farm with livestock. She didn’t make the cut in herding, the breeders felt she would be better suited as a pet. When I met her she was with her other litter mates.. very friendly and just wanted to be cuddled. Extremely submissive. As soon as she got in the car her personality changed. She became very scared and nervous. I also had to have her fixed two days after getting her which probably didn’t help. She is great in the house, but only with me. She does not want to play with any toys or sticks and is not treat motivated at all. I have only had her for just over two weeks and was hoping she would relax. She also wont bark at all and I remember her barking when I first pulled up to the farm where she grew up on. She is a wonderful sweet loving girl but it is very frustrating and sad to take her out. Her tail is tucked way under and completely freaks out when she sees people. I realize now its not going to be easy and it will take time. I am looking into a trainer for some help. Your story about Daisy and some of the others does give me some hope. Thank You

  13. the three dog blogger says:

    Hi Pamela, Tess sounds lovely.

    I am sure she will get better with time. It sounds like a change of environment has made her very timid. Be gentle and stick with it and I am sure she will improve very quickly.

    Lots of Dogs will become shy in a new environment especially if they have never been taken to many new places.

    Fairly soon she will get a bit better. It is sad to see them with their tail right down I know, but soon it will be high and you will feel so good that you have brought her out of herself.

    Good luck and let me know how Tess gets on.

  14. Hey,
    Are you aware of some of the new “energy medicine” techniques?
    EFT is one, emofree.com and TAT( tat-life.com) is another very well known method used by rescue organizations to help people after major catastrophies etc.

    Both these methods can do wonders to help a pet get over past traumatic events. I’m a practitioner working with humans, and have had a few animal cases, including my own kitty who was a rescue and who was afraid of even the wind. (No kidding!)

    The emofree site has a search engine and you can read a bunch of case stories, the TAT site is not as good, however the method, IMO, is unsurpassed.

    Both these methods are pretty easy to learn and can make a HUGE difference to a frightened animal. Hope you look into it. 🙂 and bless you for being so gentle with your dogs.

  15. BALA-G says:

    hi that was great

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  17. Colette says:

    I have just adopted a 7 month old Shih Tzu named Yogi 2 days ago and is VERY shy. He is starting to warm up to my sister but not to anyone in the house. He is starting to sit up and relax his ears so I am hopeful he will not be an extreme of a shy dog. He is the sweetest puppy. I got him from a rescue who was on many acres of land and was able to roam free but when I bring him outside he shuts down. I need to carry him outside and then again inside. I try to sit with him outside for 10 minutes at a time so he can get used to the environment so he can eventually be housebroken. As of now the only times he will pee is when I pick him up to bring him out. He also will no come out of his crate in the morning. After 1/2 hour of the door being open in the morning you would think he would need to go to the bathroom so bad he would jet out of it. I again need to pick him up and carry him out. Any suggestions? He doesn’t care about treats or food to use as an insentive.

  18. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Hi Colette,

    It really is just a matter of time. I remember with Daisy how she would simply refuse to walk on a lead. She would just sit there being terrified.

    I finally got her out of it by putting the lead on and just standing there for about half an hour. She then took a few steps and then stopped again for ages. After a good long wait we began to be able to walk a little further each time until she totally got used to it.

    As for your new boy, just be patient. Rather than trying to get him out of the crate in the morning I would open the door and just get on with your normal business. Often if you try to coax shy Dogs they will back off even more. Let him decide to come out on his own and it will get better each day.

    Shy Dogs often respond best to being somewhat left alone and to do things in their own time. Give him lots of praise and fuss whenever you can but the real secret is to take it very slowly.

    It took Daisy about six weeks before she would even walk in front of us on a walk and that is without a lead. They need to slowly get used to their environment and work things through in their own time.

    The problem in the morning is just him feeling secure in his crate. Don’t worry about him needing a pee, if he can hold it then that is OK. Many Dogs seem to be able to wait quite a long time in the mornings while others need to go asap. I hope this helps and good luck with your new boy.

    Oh, I would try to get him used to the lead for going out rather than carrying him. Even if it does take a while like with Daisy you will get there in the end. Don’t let him get too used to being carried, put the lead on and simply wait if he won’t go out with it on. In a short while he will be used to it.

    Let me know how you get on.

  19. Colette says:

    Thanks for the suggestions and I will keep you posted on Yogi’s progress. He actually walked on a leash yesterday for about 5 minutes after seeing another dog do the same. Then he refused..just sat there and held strong. I’ll keep trying until he gets it.

  20. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Hi Colette,

    That sounds very much like Daisy. I bet with a few more attempts he will be walking on the leash for as long as you want.

    Just think, then you will have the joy of having to teach him to heel and not pull;)

  21. Colette says:

    Well it’s been a week with Yogi and he now is walking on a leash, thanks for all your advise. He now follows me around around and is at my feet. He is still shy especially around men but and those he doesn’t know but he’s getting there. The only thing we need to work on is him not pooping when he gets nervous and not pooping while sitting since it makes a terrible mess cleaning it up from him. I haven’t seen a pattern at all(beside when a stranger or large dog go up to him) to help me figure out when he poops to praise him. After I feed him I wait about 1/2 hour and bring him out but he won’t go. Any suggestions would be welcomed to get him to squat like a dog should.
    Thanks.

  22. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Colette,

    I am glad things are improving. I am sorry but I don’t know about the pooping problem. It may just be something he will grow out of. Glad things are working out better for you all.

  23. Louise says:

    Hi there~
    I am actually fostering a 7 month old shepherd mix who is so incredibly shy and nervous. She has started wagging her tail but that is about it. She will not move from one spot, she cowers against the wall, and I have to carry her outside only to have her lay down and dig in her paws. She is too scared to even go outside. I just want to show her love and let her know she will not get in trouble but she is so damaged from whatever her previous owner did to her. I am at a loss about what to do about the walks. I cannot keep carrying her down the stairs only to wrestle her back inside because she is so petrified. I feel like it makes her more fearful of me. Do you have any suggestions? I am not sure how to get her outside….

    Poor little girl…

  24. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Hi Louise,

    Sounds very much like Daisy. The key to training shy Dogs is to take it very slowly. Daisy, even after 2 years will roll on her back and open her legs in total submission if you stroke her when she is lying down. I don’t think it will ever go away totally.

    She was also terribly shy outdoors. I would suggest that if you can you take her outside and spend the day out if you can. Maybe just sit in the garden and allow her to get more comfortable being outside. If you wander around with her she will probably begin to follow after a while.

    It is difficult and requires a lot of time. We ending up spending ages with a lead on Daisy while she took a step every five minutes or so and then freaked out. We just stood and let her do it in her own time. Get her used to outside and even if you carry her out she will get used to it in time as it becomes the norm. She will then go out when called. Try to get her excited by making a big fuss about walk time. She will come round eventually.

    Sorry I can’t give better advice. It really is a matter of extreme patience and getting her used to things so she knows they are not scary. I wish you the best of luck.

  25. Joan says:

    Thank you everyone for the tips. I’m scanning any and all info I can get my hands on. Just rescued a 7 year old Airedale who has known nothing but a kennel life. She came from NC to a backyard breeder here in Ontario Canada because he thought he wanted to breed airedales, but due to her shyness and fearfulness he decided (after 1 year) to give her away to a good home. I work for Airecanada Rescue and went to pick her up on Dec. 9th — she was huddled in the corner of her crate — nails so long that they were growing sideways and fecal matter stuck to her tail — what a sad site — I hopped into the crate with her and let her smell my hand and then they threw her in a crate and put the crate in my car. I’ve rescued lots of dogs over the past 20 years but have never had to deal with this condition — aggression yes, but this I think is far worse. In reading your blog, it appears I’m doing all the right things but am sure it will be a long road ahead for this little girl. Thanks again for all your advice on other dogs — it has confirmed that I am not going crazy and am doing all the right things for this poor little girl.

  26. Rob says:

    I just found this site, i was searching pretty much out of desperation how too fix my rotweiller’s problem. I bought him from a good breader, son of 2 champion show dogs, he is absolutley beautiful, and very friendly. he started out fine, but when he was 5 months old i had to leave him in a pet hotel due too a family emergency. I was gone 3 weeks and when i went to pick him up he would not respond too his name, and was terrified of me, and basically every other person there, never could get a straight answer as too what they did to him. He is now almost 2 years old and i have had little too no success in all this time to have him come or recognize his name, when i am in the house he follows me around and is like any other normal dog, walking him is also fine. I have a large yard and he enjoys running around, fetching his favorite ball etc.

    The problem is when i call him he doesn’t come, he will look at me but that’s about it, i would really enjoy playing fetch with him at a park etc, but i know when i call him he will not come. if he is closer too me and i call him, he very slowly moves toward me but cowered over with his head down, and only if i croutch too his level, if i am standing he will not move toward me. it’s almost like when he hears his name it strikes fear in him.

    if anyone has any ideas please let me know thanks.

  27. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Rob

    I am sorry to hear that. Something bad really must have to have happened to him in the pet hotel. It sounds like you are on the right track. Maybe just continue with what you are doing but do it a lot more often.

    Crouch down and call him from really short distances and give him a treat when he comes. Gradually increase the distance but always just call him from a crouched position and with a treat. Take it very slowly and over time begin to stand a little more upright. It sounds like it will take quite a bit of time but I am sure you will get there in the end. If anyone else can offer advice then please do.

    I wish you all the best Rob.

  28. Carlene says:

    I recently got an appx. 1 year old male Blue heeler. He showed up at our house and some neighbors did not want him anymore. So we took him he seemed sweet and very calm for that bred and that age. I knew at the time he was shy and needed some work but once I got him home I saw more problems. He is not aggressive at all but he wont come to me or my husband sometimes when I call him to me. He cowers away to his dog house and no amount of calling will get him to. We have had him about a month an a half and he does seem to be getting better with me and my kids but not my husband. Probley about 60% to 75% of the time he will come to me. I have used small hot dog piece to reward him when he comes. He likes to ride in the back of the farm truck but if we call him to jump up into the back of our other truck which is taller he wont he will cower and go back to his dog house. He did try once and he fell back onto the ground. Not sure if this is the reason he wont try anymore. The people we got him from said he was that way with them. I feel like maybe he was not socilized enough with people when he was a puppy not sure. I am considering giving him to someone that has a blue heeler and knows more about the bred. I thought that might be best for him because I am not sure I can help him I do have patience but my husband does not. He wont hurt him but he just wont take him anywhere or do anything with him because he needs a dog to come to him when he is out and about with him. I and my 2 boys like him and want to keep him, but we are just not sure what to do to get him where he will come to me and all the household member all the time. He wont come to my husband very often at all he just acts scared. He does not urinate on himself he does not growl he does mind pretty well. Seems to be fine will all other dogs. Just seem scare of us sometimes. Sometimes he just retreat to his dog house when I dont really know what happen to scare him. I would love some ideas to help him. He was very frightened of a leash when I first got him he would trash around and bite it and totally have a fit. But I have walked him on it enough he dont do that anymore. But, he does not feel comfortable on it you can tell he will almost walk under you feet when he is on a leash and gets it wrapped around him. Please if anyone can give me some ideas so that we can help him. That would be so appreciated.

  29. Kathy says:

    Thank you so much for publishing this! We recently adopted a puppy mill rescue dog, about 3 years old. She is happiest when we let her stay in our bedroom alone all day. She skitters away when we try to approach her, unless we have a leash. She loves her walks! She likes other dogs, which is good. But it’s so nice to know the techniques others have used, and that we aren’t alone in our experience. Now I won’t try pushing her as much. I know it will take time, and she may never fully come around. It’s just nice to know this isn’t uncommon, and what I can expect. Thank you for the support!

  30. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Kathy,
    Glad it has been of help. We have definitely found with Daisy that slow and steady is the best way. We have now had her for over 2 and a half years and the difference is amazing. She is confident a lot of the time now but the basic shyness will always be there. It just makes her a very gentle soul.

    Not that she can¡t be naughty like the others mind you 😉

  31. chris says:

    We had a shy undersocialized, possibly abused dog that we adopted at 3years. He would not eat any treats, slunk around, exhibited fear biting, growled when you attmepted to move him and was overly submissive. Within about three years of patience, and lots of pets, soothing voice tones, etc..he became relaxed, happy, very friendly towards strangers and lost fear biting. Still never got over really loud noises, but really a WHOLE different dog. Only in his old age when he was blind and I think senile (he got lost one time in the field…long story but was eventually found 30 miles away from home three weeks later) he reverted to some of those initial behaviors.

  32. stefstar says:

    My 2.5 year old GWP is by no means a shy dog in general, he was very timid as a puppy but has come to be quite the clown! He has been a breeze to train and we have had very little issues, however in the last couple of months he has become hysterical when he hears the sound of the lawn mower – he almost climbs the walls, shakes and chatters his teeth! I have no idea how to curb this behaviour

  33. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Stefsatr, that is an odd one. Our Daisy Dog is a little like that about the Vacuum, and quite a few other things too!

  34. wendy says:

    I just purchased a 5 month old female standard poodle from a puppy farm. She lived in a converted dairy barn and had access to the outdoors and her siblings. She never had collar or leash. She is very very shy. She will only follow from behind and will not approach. She will not eat out of my hand or wag her tail or give the slightest acknowledgment of being happy. She limits herself to the living room and dining room. Fortunately she wimpers when she has to go to the bathroom and I take her to the yard. She won’t go on a leash but if I let her go she will do her duty and run around and play in the snow or play shyly with another dog that I have. When it’s time to come it she has a HUGE struggle getting through the door. I am so sad for her as I thought she would bounce back and didn’t realize it would be so hard for her to adjust. I have taken all of your advice, and still hope she will end up a happy dog. Can you give me any encouragement or advice. Petco trainers think I should put her in a socialization class.

  35. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Wendy, just take it slow. She will get better the longer she is with you. Our Daisy Dog still won’t play with us after over 3 years. She just buries her head in your lap. But she plays with the other Dogs like she is the bravest thing in the world and even stalks Faye in the woods!

    She took ages to get used to the lead and refused to walk with it on. I just took an hour out and let her walk when she felt like it. She kept stopping lots but after an hour or so it got her over the worst. Hope that helps.

  36. April says:

    I have a 4 yr old named Mystery (perfect name). She was found by a friend wondering along the road about 2 years ago. When she was found she had been beaten and burnt and almost all of her fur was gone. They asked us if we could keep her and try to find her a home after we got her healthy. She is very shy to the extreme. To help put her at ease I put a dog house in my bedroom, I have children and wanted her to have an area that was hers no one is allowed to approach her unless she lets us know it is ok. She will only come to me, my brother, and one of my friends and I am the only one who she doesn’t come to crawling or with her head down whimpering. If I am alone she will come running up to me smiling do a quick roll over normal happy dog stuff as soon as I reach for her her tail will drop and she lowers her head. I do squat down or sit first so I am not towering over her and she seems to enjoy me petting her its almost like she doesn’t want to make a mistake. Also the past few months when I am the only one home she likes to come and curl up with me on the bed or couch. She isn’t aggressive at all but I limit her interactions with the kids, they seem to overwhelm her very fast and I really want her to feel safe and comfortable. My biggest problem that I can’t figure out is when I take her out even if she is on a leash she will walk backwards the whole time in front of me or if she is beside me she will literally walk sideways like she is afraid if she takes her eyes off me I will disappear. This happens even in our yard Even without a leash she still acts the same way she won’t leave my side and she never walks behind me. I did try to re-home her to someone who lived up the road from my house she kept getting away from them and showing up cowering on my front porch. After several times they gave up and we just kept her. Last year we got a puppy mainly for the kids but it turned out to make a difference for her also she had never had any interest in playing before but every now and then they will go jetting through the house most of the time it is because she has stolen one of his toys :). That is a new game she started if he is playing with something, he does this thing where he will toss his toys up in the air and try to catch them, she will snag it and the chase is on. I do try to keep an eye on this I am afraid if he becomes angry or something it might cause issues but it seems like it is all in good fun she hides the toy someplace and he finds it and it starts all over. But I was just wondering if anyone else has ever had the issue with the dog walking backwards? And what I can do to correct it.

  37. Margo says:

    Great Information. Very Informative.

  38. Tricia says:

    To: The 3 dog blogger:

    Hi, my name is Tricia and my husband and I just adopted a 2 yr. old, Rescue from So. Korea, Jindo mix dog. Her name is Rio. She was rescued by In’tl. Defense of Animals, from Moran Market.

    Rio, is so shy, she won’t come out of her crate. We have had her for about 10 days. She has is very sweet, but very scared. She loves her crate so much, she won’t come out. I walk her twice a day on a leash, and she is doing great there. Tail is sometimes up and sometimes down. She was in a crate with 7 other dogs, so she loves dogs more than humans.
    Except at home, she stays all day in her crate. She will come out when coaxed for a walk. Also, eats in her crate.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated? Thanks Tricia

  39. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Tricia I would just make a point of keeping it closed so she can’t get in all the time. You need to get her to socialize with you more, so just don’t let the crate be an option for her. And I would just put her food down well away from it so she cannot eat there. It may take a few days of her not eating, but the reality is that Dogs will not starve themselves for very long. Hope that helps.

  40. Tracie says:

    I am fostering a small Sheltie named Tucker. He is very shy. I have had him about 2months now and though he won’t go in his crate, he stays in a small corner beside my bed and if anyone approaches too quickly, he darts under the bed but comes out the other side and back around again. I can lay beside him when he is eating and softly pet him with no problem. I also will sit beside him, not looking at him, and read a book and sometimes talk to him. I never approach him standing up looking directly at him. I bend down but still keep my eyes averted. I have two other Shelties who have tried to play with him a bit but he isn’t sure about that. He does go outside to potty (I have a doggie door) and will come right back in and he walks fine on a leash, once you get him outside. He becomes very active at night outside and I can’t get him back in. If I call him, he just barks at me and runs away. I have learned to just go on to bed and he will come in when he is ready. My concern is that after two months he won’t come out of the bedroom at all and he won’t come to me when called. If I pick him up (when I can catch him) to take him to the family room to be around others, he wiggles so much trying to get down but then settles down a little when we sit on the couch. The first minute I relax my hold on him though, he is gone back to the bedroom.
    Do you think I am on the right track to eventualy bring this shy boy a little bit of confidence so he will have a happy life?
    Thanks! Tracie

  41. Three Dog Blogger says:

    Hi Tracie.

    I think it sounds fine. It will just take time. It is a slow process to get them to really adjust and be brave, it sounds like you are doing the right thing, and if you keep at it I am sure he will improve a lot.

  42. Ridgeback mom says:

    We just adopted a 10 week old ridgeback lab mix who is exactly as you described daisy. We saw him with his brother and the two were so rambunctious we were actually worried how crazy he would be. They were wrestling and nipping our fingers through the cage and everything. Typical puppy behavior and then some.

    When we were in the room with him one on one, he immediately layed down in the corner under the desk. It was a complete 180. He tried chewing on computer wire so we had to reach down and pick him up, which probably scared him but obviously, for his safety, it was necessary. I put him in my lap and he just melted into this puddle of fur. It was like he was afraid to move.

    We did eventually get his tail to come up a little and we even got a few wags =)

    I think some of it can be attributed to the fact he was tired. It was the end of the day and he had just eaten. But I do think he does have shyness issues on top of that.

    I wonder if he was just born with this temperament or if he really has had such bad things happen to him in his short 10 weeks.

    Do you think that “early intervention” could mitigate these kinds of issues? We want to get him in puppy school ASAP for additional socialization since he played so well with his brother.

    I’m just wondering if you had any additional tips that would apply to very young pups who are still learning…well, everything.

    Thanks for the great article!

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