Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Thor's shyness around others

The following entry was recreated from an email exchange on 6/15/04 and 6/16/04.

When we picked up Thor at Amy's farm, he jumped all over us and seemed total puppy exuberance, but he started to show signs of being shy around people shortly after that. We emailed Amy:
Things with Thor are going well. He's settling into the house nicely. No accidents at all. Loki even tried to initiate play with him yesterday.

He is so smart and so cuddly. He won't go into a crate yet, but is handling an X pen. I'm trying to get him into a puppy preschool class that starts tomorrow night.

The vet vaccinated him for rabies yesterday, and he's being treated for hookworm and another really common parasite that I can't remember the name of right now. ...

One question for you though: Did you ever notice him being shy around people he doesn't know? When we picked him up, he showed no shyness, but everyone he's met since then he's been shy around. He'll back away when they try to approach him and he has a very unsure look on him if he does let them touch him. He's met my mother-in-law on three separate occasions so far and he still won't let her touch him. (He exhibits none of this toward the two of us, though.)

When he's in a place that's new to him (vet's office, my aunt's house), he tends to freeze up and will just passively lay in the same spot. It makes him very easy to manage, but yet it seems like he should be exhibiting more curiosity and exuberance.

We're hoping that it's just the trauma of the move and he'll get more confident as he settles in. Is he in the middle of a fear period?

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions on how to handle this shyness? I don't want him to become fearful. Is this just classic Berner aloofness he's exhibiting?

Amy's response, which was good, sound advice:

No, he wasn't shy here at all... I am sure this is something he will work out of, maybe just a little bit of insecurity. I would just expose him to as much and as many as you can. He will come around I am sure, he was just very comfortable here.

Being on interceptor should have taken care of the hookworms, I am a little disappointed that it didn't, that is the biggest reason they are on it!

Let me know how things go, but I would just expose him a lot, encourage people to interact with him, maybe have people carry treats and offer it to him, the biggest thing is DON'T play into it. If you do, he will figure out that being shy gets him more of your attention and he is a smart pup that WILL figure that out! :-)

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