Will my puppy get over being skittish?
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Thread: Will my puppy get over being skittish?

  1. #1
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    Question Will my puppy get over being skittish?

    I've only had my 14 week old Bichon for a week. She was raised in the country and allowed to run freely inside and outside the home. Very quiet, extremely rural environment where she existed with Mom, brother, other dogs and animals. I've come to the conclusion she is socialized more with dogs than people. I know the owner and know she's isn't from a puppy mill so I'm not overly concerned about in-breeding. I can understand that she is very skittish outside with all of the new sounds vs quiet in the rural setting but why is she this way in the house? Will this get better over time or am I headed toward owning a "nervous" dog? What can I do to help her?
    Thanks
    Gracie's Mom

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  3. #2
    Senior Member skelaki's Avatar
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    Re: Will my puppy get over being skittish?

    Unless she has a "nervous" temperament due to being poorly bred (i.e. from parents with fearful temperaments) she'll improve with time as long as you don't inadvertently teach her that being fearful is correct.

    In order to not do this, don't coddle her or reassure her when she acts fearful. Instead stay upbeat and matter-of-fact, encouraging her but not ever forcing her to inspect whatever she fears. Use obedience training and nilif to build her confidence. Take her to puppy classes now, and later to obedience classes. Once she has basic obedience, agility lessons are wonder confidence boosters.

    When she acts skittish give her a very very mild as if to say "don't be silly" leash corrections. My third collie came to me at age 4 from a similar situation. The breeder in his case was a responsible show breeder but Shane just happened to be one of the dogs that stayed out on the ranch and didn't travel to shows.

  4. #3
    Senior Member TooneyDogs's Avatar
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    Re: Will my puppy get over being skittish?

    One week is a really short time to get adjusted to a whole new life....new environment and all new rules. Getting her used to people may take a long time but, keep doing the socialization.

  5. #4
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    Re: Will my puppy get over being skittish?

    The classic studies have proved puppies are much slower to accept new things after 12 weeks. http://www.akc.org/enewsletter/akc_b...nter/puppy.cfm

    Careful training should help, but she may never be as confident as many dogs are. I agree the obedience training should help. Having more confidence in you may help too.

    ''Elevation for small puppies: Sit on the floor and gently put your hands around your pup's middle, below his front legs, and lift him up. He is facing you. Hold him for 15 seconds. Repeat until he no longer struggles. If he is past 10-12 weeks, lift his front feet off the ground, but don't pick him up.

    Cradling for small puppies: Hold your puppy gently on his back, as you would cradle a small baby. If he struggles, hold him firmly until he quiets for 10-15 seconds. With larger pups, you can do this as your sit on the floor, with your pup between your legs.

    Quiet lying down: Place your pup on the floor on his side, with all 4 legs pointing away from you. Use your hands on his neck/shoulder area and middle, to hold him in this position. When he is quiet, praise him. Lengthen the time that you keep him quietly in this position. When he accepts this position well, handle his paws and muzzle, while keeping him quiet.''

    The quotes mean this isn't my original work. It is copied from my Puppy Raising Manual. I have long used these or minor variations of them, and they are very effective. You may want to give him a belly rub while he is on his back too. Helps bonding. There is a big difference between him rolling over and demanding a belly rub, and you choosing a time to roll him over and rub his belly. The latter cements your place as pack leader.

  6. #5
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    Re: Will my puppy get over being skittish?

    Thank you for so much information! I love how fellow dog owners are being so helpful in my new adventure.
    Best regards,
    Gracie's Mom

  7. #6
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    Re: Will my puppy get over being skittish?

    you posted in 2009. i have the same problem with a puppy i brought home to NYC from a farm in PA at age 15 weeks. how is your dog doing now? did it get better? what did you do?

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