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Is shyness in dobie puppies normal?

Discussion in 'Doberman Puppies' started by Avalouise, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. Avalouise

    Avalouise Jr Member

    Hi, hope you all are well.


    Mowgli is 15 weeks old this Saturday. He is extremely shy of strangers. He has never acted aggressive, but just seems very unsure. He goes on 3 to 4 walks a day as I do not have a fenced in yard. During these walks we usually encounter a few people. You can usually tell from a distance when someone has no interest in your dog and just wants to continue on walking, and in these cases I always stop and make him sit and wait until they have passed by. If people want to come up and pet him I always say yes because I want him to be used to people. He almost never lets anybody touch him, always ducks away and tries to hide behind my legs. He will sniff hands and take a little chin scratch and that's about it.

    When we go to the vet he acts like the tech and the vet are the greatest people in the world and has no problems with them loving on him so I'm not sure how to perceive this behavior. He is otherwise extremely well behaved. I don't want this to turn into an aggression issue. He is the same with dogs, he will sniff and be sniffed but then after that he has no interest. Is this typical for his breed or should I be working more diligently on socialization with both dogs and humans? I want to take him to puppy training classes with other puppies but am a nervous dog mom and want to wait until he is done with shots.
     
  2. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

    It is not the normal temperament wise but it seems that there are many Dobermans being breed these days that have nervous or fearful issues. Always be a strong leader for him and try not to be nervous because that will transfer down the leash to your dog. Definitely get into sonebpuppy classes after his shots, that is always a good thing.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  3. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Congrats on the pup!

    Well, each dog is different just like each person is different. Shyness, however, is not desirable. It does sound like your Dobe is at least somewhat fearful. How long have you had him?

    Honestly, one of my greatest fears in buying a Dobe pup is winding up with a shy or fearful one. It is certainly not uncommon.

    Some encouraging news: My previous Dobe, and Oji, showed some minor shyness on nighttime walks when someone is approaching us oncoming (both when very young). This cleared up in a matter of days or weeks. Both of them turned out to be just fine in the confidence department.

    My previous Dobe, also, was fearful of sprinklers (well, Oji too, and part of it is hating to get wet), and of automatic doors on businesses.

    A lot of fears/aversions can certainly be overcome with sufficient exposure. If a dog is just a rather shy/fearful dog, however, that may just be the way it is. You'll want to do all you can to build their confidence.
     
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  4. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I believe I stop doing this. He may be getting the sense that you are nervous, thus making him nervous. I would call his name and confidently walk right on by the stranger or dog.

    You will be surprised what your dog can pick up from his perceived demeanor of you.
     
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  5. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I think I concur with this advice. At the moment, I'm not sure if putting him on a sit while the stranger passes by is beneficial or harmful to his situation. In one sense, he could be gaining confidence in having his master give him clear direction and something concrete to do and focus on. On the other hand, a dog might feel more vulnerable when placed in a stationary position just like they feel vulnerable on leash – no possibility of escape.

    Overall, just act calm and confident like everything is boring and normal when your pup shies away from a stranger. Don't coddle the pup with sweet, babying language.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

    He seems hand shy...was his breeder hands on?

    Putting your dog into a sit while another dog walks by puts your dog at a disadvantage. I wouldn't do that. If it's just with people, I also wouldn't give them special treatment and definitely don't keep a tight leash when this happens. I always preferred to go wide or cross the street and maintain confidence, than to feel nervous and walk by. You're in the early days still, you'll get a hang of it. Also, there should be no cooing when he hides. You don't pick him up by any chance do you?
     
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  7. Avalouise

    Avalouise Jr Member

    His breeder was very hands on as far as I could tell. I was sent pictures on an almost daily basis of him but I suppose he could still be hand shy as I don’t actually know the extent of their interactions.

    I will definitely stop having him sit. It’s hard because when he sees someone approaching on the sidewalk, he doesn’t want to walk any further and does all he can to resist being tugged along. I used to pick him up in these cases but he already weighs too much for me to carry so that quickly stopped.

    I also should note that he does seem very excited with certain random people, like he would like to possibly be friends and let them pet him but he just can’t get himself there. He does a lot of play bowing in these cases. Sometimes I have little treats in my pocket and will let people give him those and that helps a little bit.

    I have a friend coming to visit and stay with me for a couple of days so I’m interested to see how long it takes him to fully warm up to another person
     
  8. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

    Since they learn so quick, I wonder if the initial pick-ups made him fearful. No worries as you're very early on, but you must be calm and confident walking him. Another thing, he's too young to be leash walked for more than a city block. Maybe stick to the backyard. Work on leash manners there - you don't need a fence for that and you should train him ASAP to handle a yard with no fence. I assume he potties there on leash?

    That he play bows seems to be a wonderful communicative sign. My boy play bowed nearly every dog he came across, until he became a more serious Doberman which occurs with maturity.
     
  9. Snoops

    Snoops Member

    Dobes definitely pick up on the owners energy.
    I would remain calm and confident and when someone passes by just walk on by, even if the dog want to sit or not move I would not say anything and gentle look ahead, relax and pull Mowgli along.

    I would also give tasty treats to people if they want to treat Mowgli so associating people with nice things.

    Also anything that scares him just ignore it and relax. He will soon realise nothing to fear as my owners are worried about it and they have my back.
     
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  10. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    Oh. You did pick him up? No offense, but that was not a good idea.

    Some of what you describe reminds me a lot of the two Cockapoos I walk for a client. They are fearful of strangers. They will often freeze in their tracks and stare at the person. They are mature, not puppies, and maybe that's why at this point they (at least one of them) will bark and lunge at strangers – mostly in a clearly fearful way in that she won't so much do this until the stranger has gone past us and she can lunge and approach the stranger from behind.
     
  11. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

    All rewards should come from you, I never give treats to strangers to give to my dogs. You should reward them for sitting calmly for petting and not jumping up, but you reward this behavior. If your dog is wiggling and acting excited as a stranger comes forward, then they give them a treat, you just had them reward your dog in an excited state. Our dogs must learn to cap there behavior and be calm in different situations. Socializing is not just getting your dog out in public and letting them meet and greet everyone and there dogs. It is teaching them to be able to ignore these things as well. All rewards are from me because this is still training.
     
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  12. Doberman Gang

    Doberman Gang Hot Topics Subscriber

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  13. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

    • Agree Agree x 3
  14. Avalouise

    Avalouise Jr Member

    OMG I have this problem all the time. Mowgli is for the most part very well behaved on the leash and already understands to heel. Then we pass someone who starts squealing “oh my gosh a puppy hi puppy!!” And he loses his focus and gets nervous.

    My main goal for now has just been to at least walk by people without him acting like a murderer is walking up to us and he’s improved a lot on that front, we can usually pass people with him just glancing over.

    It’s when people do try and pet him and he’s jumping away and shying that I want to work on. a couple of times people have sat and talked with us for 20-30 minutes and he will warm up a tiny bit and maybe let them get a little pet in on his back. In these cases should I have treats and reward him for even those little interactions?
     
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  15. My2Girls

    My2Girls Notable member

    • Agree Agree x 3
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  16. Tropicalbri's

    Tropicalbri's $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    When you walk always walk where the person approaching is on the opposite side of where you are walking your pup. Keep yourself between him and whoever is approaching.
    I never allow treats to come from anyone but me. I don’t want people that personal with my dog. If mine get a treat they know they have done something outstanding to get it because I very, very seldom use treats anymore. As a puppy you use treats as reward which I understand but mine are 2yrs and I stopped the treats once basic behavior was learned around 8mo old. I use a lot of praise and high value solid rubber balls. They have their favorite balls. Lol
     
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  17. Oh Little Oji

    Oh Little Oji Formerly Tad Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I think I steal some joy from the people who work at the local pet supply store. They always ask if Oji can have a treat and I say yes, but do you mind if I give it to him? I then have him do something to earn them. But yeah, I detest when anyone tries to feed or water my Dobe.
     
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  18. Tropicalbri's

    Tropicalbri's $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    • Agree Agree x 4
  19. Avalouise

    Avalouise Jr Member

    great news! Today we were just near our house and a woman with a stroller wanted to pet him. she squatted down to his level and he play bowed at first and then sniffed her hand and actually let her scratch his chin and neck!! He still seemed slightly nervous but I am seeing an improvement for sure.
     
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