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Puppy fearful of strangers

Discussion in 'Doberman Talk and Discussions' started by hunterdobie, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. hunterdobie

    hunterdobie Jr Member

    Hey guys,

    So basically, when I got Hunter he was perfectly fine around strangers and although he's always been gentle and laidback and never the type to run up to someone or greet people he didn't know, he was always happy for people to pet him etc.

    He's now 4 months and about about 3 weeks ago I took him for a walk and this guy made a bee-line for us with his very uhhh, full-on dog, not necessarily aggressive but he was not a dog I'd want around such a young puppy. The dog was on a leash and the guy was basically following me, trying to make conversation whilst I was heading back to my car, then out of no where he took his dog off the leash whilst telling me he wanted his 8 month old to socialise more with younger puppies...the dog went crazy and jumped all over Hunter and Hunter freaked out. I was really annoyed to say the least, he didn't even give me an opportunity to get out of that situation.
    Since then Hunter will not have any person approach him, as soon as they come close he will run behind me or as far from them as he can and he refuses pets from anyone even if I'll encourage him. It was an immediate change in behaviour and has lasted since then. I've tried going back to the same place and giving him some positive association with it, he doesn't have an issue with the place just people and sometimes dogs approaching him no matter where we are. I think he was a little more weary of dogs right after that situation than he is now but he has definitely become uncomfortable and is easily rattled by a dog that is barking or showing any aggression.

    I don't know if I should just leave him be and ask people to give him space (which is hard when people constantly approach him without asking me :/) or do something else to help him feel better about all this?

    I just don't want him to feel so intimidated by every new person who gives him any attention but I'm not sure of the best way to help him with it.

    Also, he does attend weekly training sessions and I've continued to socialise him in different areas with different people and dogs around often.

    Thank you, I appreciate any advice a great deal : )
    • Empathetic Empathetic x 2
  2. Rodyboy

    Rodyboy Jr Member

    You are doing what you need to do with training and so forth. He will have to begin to feel safe, he doesn't now. I wouldn't force him as I don't believe you are doing, give him space and I would keep people coming up to him to a minimum for now. With Buddy, not liking to be approached, I just let people know. It has to be his idea, just ignore him. Actually I would not approach a dog on leash unless I asked owner. Really it's a matter of courtesy to owner and dog. Also work with your trainer on ways to bolster the confidence he lost with being so to speak mauled. Hope some of these help.
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Ddski5

    Ddski5 Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $


    That is really unfortunate.

    Others will chime in with more detail but somehow you have to rebuild his confidence.
  4. Tropicalbri's

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

    This is an unfortunate situation and personally I would have sucker punched the guy. :mad:
    Your pup is at an age of trying to build self confidence, which is done by being in a controlled environment.
    This event blew all of his confidence out of the water. Damn I am mad.
    A group puppy training class will greatly help him overcome this.
    They experience fear periods at this age and several more before they are an adult.
    This could cause him to become a fear biter if not handled correctly.
    Please speak with a trainer and or behaviorist for assistance.
    Don’t coddle or dwell on his past experiences as this will only reinforce it.

    Start training with him now and work on confidence building exercises.
    If you have to pin a sign on the front and back of your shirt that says;
    “DO NOT APPROACH ME OR MY PUPPY”, then do it.
    People that allow or encourage their dogs in that behavior are irresponsible and should be called out. They need to learn exactly what socialization of their dog means.
    It does not mean interacting with every dog and person they see. It means taking your pup in medium distraction areas and teach them to focus on you and to ignore all other distractions.
    As they become confident you can increase the amount of distractions they are exposed to and work for better focus on you.
    This breed does not need doggy buddies to play with. They only need you and for you to be the most exciting and important person to them so that their focus stays on you always.
    If you haven’t started training yet, then start now with basic commands. Work them for 10min on training multiple times a day. This can be done on a leash in your street without walking the full street, or train in your driveway.
    I switched up where we trained so they did not only train in one place.
    They need diversity of new areas to build confidence.
    I trained mine by turning multiple times (looked like a drunk lol) to teach them to always focus on me and rewarding the correct behaviors of heel, sit, down, stay. Walk a few paces then stop and have them sit by your side in a heel position and repeat.
    Always finish with something they know how to do well and treat while giving verbal praise.
    This way they will remember training as being fun.
    If you start to get frustrated, stop and put your pup away and try again later when you are calm.
    This is very important since they pick up very quickly on your emotions!

    I try to always end my twins training sessions with a round of playing as a reward for their hard work.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Tropicalbri's

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

    I need to apologize for suggesting a sucker punch. Don’t do that and get yourself in trouble.
    I tend to get very protective and easily angered at the stupidity of other people when their insensitive actions cause harm to my dobes.

    I deal with fools on a daily basis with my job and I do not suffer them well, so when it comes to my animals I am very adamant and a straight shooter with what I will and will not allow.
    It’s my job to protect my twins from an uneducated JQP.
    Being an old woman with zero tolerance and no filter between my brain and mouth, I speak my mind quickly and do not mince my words when it comes to my animals and family. I don’t waste time on being PC.
    I usually leave the offending party with a gaping mouth and no response. This is when I make my exit.

    So again I apologize for my sucker punch comment.
    • Funny Funny x 3
  6. Kaiser2016

    Kaiser2016 Active Member

    I appreciate the visceral response of a sucker punch because the dude totally earned it.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. Tropicalbri's

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

    You know, sometimes I want to ask these fools if they were born this stupid or did they have to work at it.
    • Funny Funny x 4
  8. jazzies mum

    jazzies mum Hot Topics Subscriber

    ^^^^^^^^ I am getting better at being upfront with idiots as I get older! :rofl: Not so worried about being seen as a rude old woman.............my mum would be horrified! Sometimes it is necessary.
    • Funny Funny x 2

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