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Discussion Starter #1
we rescued a 8 week old shiloh shepherd from a rescue a few days ago, and the background the rescue worker told us was that the owner bred this litter, but died while the mother dog was pregnant. the son didnt want the puppies so gave them to the rescue. they were with their mother and father their first 8 weeks of life. they were never given attention from humans, werent pet, werent socialized at all. now the problem is this puppy is very unsocialized, sits in the corner most of the day, will come out for food and water and then goes back in his corner and sometimes plays with his toys. hes starting to come around a bit and will walk around a bit but any time someone makes a slight move (such as moving their hand or head) he will run back into his corner. i sit with him in the corner sometimes and pet him and praise him, tried to give him treats but hes not interested at all. surprisingly hes completely potty trained when we got him, never goes inside and always goes on the grass outside!

he also never walks on the leash, he will whine and cry and try to run away as soon as hes done either peeing/pooping and whine/cry more if we dont go where he wants to go (we have a forest in the back and i dont want him going back there cuz of snakes/gators)...so i just stop walking and he will just try and pull and pull and pull and then i just have to pick him up and put him inside.

hes also starting to chew on furniture and carpet so i just firmly say "No" and give him his toy, but most the time he just runs away. i know i dont want to scare him but i dont want bad habits to start early either and let him get away with doing everything right now.

is there any advice you guys can give me to help aid this puppy to become more social? i know its going to take time to break him out of his shell, but i want to make sure im doing it the right way and not doing anything bad to impair the process! a big problem is he just doesnt care for treats at all...i tried pieces of his food, cheese, milkbones, different kinds of doggie meat treats, turkey, chicken and some other stuff. just doesnt care.

any input/help would greatly be appreciated!
 

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The key is to go slowly and not put any pressure on the pup. She hasn't had all of her parvo shots yet, so most of the work going to be happening at home anyway.

I would manage this pup so that she can't make a mistake. I would puppy-proof a room so you aren't fighting about the furniture or other wrong items to chew. I wouldn't wory about bad habits nearly as much as I would about building trust. Instead of saying "no" when the pup is eating the carpet, I would try to engage the pup in something fun. I would speak in happy voice with a "Lookit HERE!" and drag a new toy away from the pup. I would keep the pup on a very light-weight leash, like one designed for a cat, and I would just let her drag it whenever I was home so that there would never be a need for me to grab the pup.

For food, I would eliminate the food bowl all together. I would drop every kernel of food for the pup. At first, I would walk to where ever the pup was comforable with me standing at, drop the food straight down, and then retreat. I would do this until the pup was following me. At that point, I would transition to holding still and dropping food. Then I would try to offer food by hand while I was looking away from the pup. Pretty soon, I would look at the pup. Then I would talk and feed while sitting down. No food bowls for nervous puppies at me house. It might take 12 hours for her to be willing to eat. I would wait it out. I would also be trying to feed really tasty food the first few days, like maybe Natural Balance rolls or a packaged raw. I would cut them into dice-sizes pieces so that they were worth the effort but not super-filling. I wouldn't worry about the formula or quality for the first couple of days. It would all be about building that trust. Then you can switch to the food you like best.

This would be my starting off point.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
ok i will definitely give all that a try! i do keep a leash on him right now but i know he gets super scared when i grab the leash and just trys to run, and i walk very slowly when i get the leash too so i make sure im not doing any sudden scary movements. also, outside when he is on the leash, he will not walk at all if you are looking at him, as soon as u turn away he will start walking a bit again, so im assuming hes just fearful to be looked at.
 

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Until your pup is much more brave, avoid eye contact and bending over or towards the puppy whenever possible. If she is reacting that strongly to the leash, get a longer one. Then pick it up and put it down without looking at her or putting any pressure on it. Teach her that it means nothing at all if you are lifting it, holding it, or setting it down.

If you are only picking it up to pull in it, she is learning that it's bad when you lift her. Show her that you lifting it means nothing.

Do not do the leash work until the pup is comfortable following you though. Or do it from far enough away that she isn't stressed.

Biggest key is taking your time. Don't rush. Rushing will slow you down. I promise.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
i have another question, every1 keeps telling us to sign him up for an obedience class so he can be socialized with other pups, we were going to sign him up with the petsmart one, is that ok or should i try and find a local private trainer? hes still just as bad...constantly pulls on the leash and/or just resists. still doesnt take food from me very well, and didnt eat for over a day so i just caved and gave him his bowl, he is also underweight so i didnt want to keep him malnurished.
 

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PetsMart is not the best, but it is fine if the trainer has more than 1 year of experience... you may have to ask, and they frequently have multiple trainers. But don't go to training until he's had all 3 sets of shots and has the Vet's OK.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
so we took him to his first training class with a private trainer, it was a small class of 3 puppies. ours just sat in the corner, was not interested in anything at all, didnt care for treats and didnt want to play with the other puppies at all...

im really concerned about what to do at this point, im really scared that my puppy is going to be fearful of new places his entire life. how can i aid him in not being fearful of new places? i know its going to take time, but i want to do it the right way. should i be taking him to new places everyday such as an outdoor mall and just sit on a bench for a bit? (i cant walk him because he refuses to walk on a leash, he will just sit down and not move).
 

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The puppy is new and is a baby. He's still getting used to things, so it'll take him 2 - 3 weeks to come out of his shell.

However, we need to emphasize that unless you get a Vet's permission, you risk a puppy picking up fatal diseases, such as Parvo or Distemper, when you expose him to other dogs and places, before he has had all three sets of his vaccinations. You can socialize him with people at this age...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
yeah i agree, we have had him for 2 weeks now and with us he has opened up but he is still the same with new places...completely fearful. and he just doesnt care for treats at all...i was hoping he would of changed at least 0.0001% about new places since hes somewhat comfortable around us..

our vet told us that we can bring him to new places but the dogs he plays with or socializes with have to be up to date on vaccines. also not to let him go near areas that are "dog walk" areas...
 

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RIght. The 'up-to-date' in shots, means all 3 sets of vaccinations, which usually doesn't happen until a pup is 3 - 4 mos.
 

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yeah i understand that, the other pups in the class are about 6-8 months old, my guy is the youngest. and the only other dog he has played with was a 3yr old which was also up to date.

what do you recommend doing about the fearfulness of new places?
 

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That situation doesn't sound bad. As far as location socialization, taking him with you when you go shopping, in dog-friendly places, and carry him, don't let his feet touch the ground. Take him to enough places and he'll get used to it.
 

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Can't you find other puppies his age to introduce him to? Most places won't allow any pup over 20 weeks into a puppy class. An 8 month old pup is a handful. An 8 week old pup is SUPPOSED to be cautious.

It sounds like you are moving way too fast. Flooding a new pup is a great way to make a problem worse. If your pup wants to hang back and watch, that's fine. Make sure you help him feel very safe. If he gets over-whelmed, remove him.

I took my whippet to her first puppy class and spent an hour with her mostly outside of the gates, just watching. When she wanted in, I let her in. When she wanted out, I took her out. The instructor gave me a bunch of moronic flak about me "babying" her and I just ignored it. Of course I babied her, she was a baby. The next week at puppy class, I had to go in and call her off because she was over-whelming other pups because she was having so much fun that she was being "rude." Let the puppy find it's own pace. This is a pup that is new to you and new to a big life. The transition may take a while. That's okay. Just help your pup feel secure with you.
 
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