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Behavior

Discussion in 'Behavior' started by EILEEN, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. EILEEN

    EILEEN Forums Novice

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    Apr 7, 2014
    DENVER, NC
    Teddy is four months old, bright, smart, happy and full of energy. He was two months when we got him and has been avoiding me, running for cover, every time I approach him. Baiting doesn't work. He has never been abused and was raised underfoot. What can I do?
     
  2. Toffee's Mom

    Toffee's Mom Forums Sage

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    Aug 31, 2009
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    See a behaviourist... a good positive one if you can
    When does he cower, what is your reactions when he does? WHat's his background again?
    Cold you give a narrative of what he does, what you or family members do, when.. etc?
     
  3. EJHUNTL

    EJHUNTL Forums Enthusiast

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    Aug 11, 2013
    Ontario, Grand Bend
    Running for cover is not the same as "cowering" - I would suggest carrying treats in your pocket and reward when he comes on his own.

    Is there something you do when he comes that he's trying to avoid? Crating, leashing, cuddling, grooming .... You might just want to go get him for that stuff.

    If he's hard to catch you may want to restrict his space off leash to an x-pen or somemewhere you can easily reach him.

    Good luck
     
  4. trini

    trini Premium Member

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    Nov 13, 2013
    upstate ny
    Eileen, although your little guy was brought up underfoot and not abused, something may have happened as someone was approaching him (like a loud sound, or something dropped) that scared him and he associated it with being approached by a human. Shelties tend to be sensitive and can be spooked by things that some other breeds would hardly notice.

    Did he come from a breeder with whom you have kept in contact? Possibly asking if there was any incident that can be remembered that frightened him would give you a clue as to what the initial trigger was for this fear and give you a direction to work.

    Basic obedience class under a well qualified instructor can really give a dog confidence and also help build a deep bond between owner and dog. Just make sure that only positive training methods are used.

    For now I would limit approaches to only when absolutely necessary. Let him be the one to come to you when he wants something...rather than trying to bait him. If you kneel down and look to the side this body language indicates to a frightened dog that you are not posing a threat to them. Direct eye contact can be seen as a challenge to a dog that is not bonded to you. Be very calm when he does come toward you, don't reach for him and keep looking a bit to the side, just speak softly...and if he stays close enough to indicate he might accept a touch, touch him under his chest not over his head...that will seem much less threatening to him.

    He sounds like a basically happy lad...I bet he is really cute!

    Trini
     
  5. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    Canberra, Australia
    Is he cowering in fear or is he just hiding? It makes a huge difference on how to handle things. If he is cowering in fear then you need professional help. It's a very young age to be showing fear and is likely to be a lifelong problem if it's not addressed properly now.

    If he is just hiding then read on.

    Puppies don't come with an automatic recall, and it's probably one of the top 5 questions asked on the forum so you are not alone (have a look through the puppy thread). All a puppy wants to do is explore the world and play. Btw - what is he hiding under?

    For starters you need a recall word - just calling his name isn't asking him to come. You probably say his name 50 times a day and he won't know which means come to me and which means lets play - and at the moment it sounds like he may have trained himself that calling his name means hide. Then you need to teach him the word. So with him in front of you say come/here (whatever word you choose) in a light, high pitched voice and give him a treat when he comes. Slowly increase the distance.

    Use a high value treat if your current rewards aren't working - hot dog, salami, cheese (treats should be cut up to about the size of your finger nail). I recommend you always have some treat handy with a puppy - your pockets should always have something in it so you can reward him every time he does what you want.

    There will be times when he still doesn't come. If he ignores the recall you have several options. Firstly, try running away, make it a game - not many dogs can resist - and it makes you fun and more interesting than whatever else they are doing. You say 'baiting' him doesn't work - I assume that's with a treat, try using a squeaky toy. Again it's one of those things that puppies just love and the squeak gets there attention really well. If he's still not coming you should stop calling and go to him - you should always set him up to succeed, otherwise the calling becomes white noise and he'll learn to ignore you. If he is under a chair and you can't get him out walk away, you don't want to engage in play, try getting a recall somewhere he can't run off and hide. And I suggest you block a few escape routes for now (believe me they soon get to big to fit in small places).
     
  6. Mignarda

    Mignarda Forums Enthusiast

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    Jan 17, 2013
    Dover, Delaware
    One thing you might do, if you're not already doing it, is get down on his level. A human being can look very imposing to a little dog when standing upright.
     
  7. Caro

    Caro Moderator

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    Canberra, Australia
    Absolutely - yes I forgot about that.
     
  8. Shelby's mom

    Shelby's mom Forums Enthusiast

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    Jan 4, 2012
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    Some dogs just do not like when you come at their heads/faces.

    Shelby is one of them. She has never been hit and nothing that we know of has ever happened to cause this. Usually if you go to pet her head she will back away from you and if you didn't know better you would think she was cowering. When she comes for attention she prefers to be petted on her sides and especially her butt. So when we come home we get down to her level and she buries her face into your belly while we scratch her sides and her butt, and she loves it. She will let us touch her face and head but it really is not her thing.

    I know that Shelby does not like when other dogs are over the top rudely in her face (she will just sit down and not move). So maybe when she was a pup the other dogs at the breeder would put her in her place by getting in her face? Maybe this is why she doesn't like it.
     
  9. Mignarda

    Mignarda Forums Enthusiast

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    Dover, Delaware
    That's definitely Dickens, but he's certainly no scaredy-cat. He just can't stand having his head touched! Which is a shame for a Sheltie because Shelties are so beautiful that everyone wants to pet them, and the first place they go for is generally the head.
     

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