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8m/o puppy nervous of kids & “unusual” men

671 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Tater33
Hoping for some advice for my young mixed 8 m/o puppy. I’ve got her at the rescue at 9 weeks

1) She is nervous of kids (ages 6-10ish). I work upstairs at a building that has kids downstairs during after school hours, she stays in my office where no kids are allowed. During imprinting period, she was exposed to lots of kids. Brought her to a youth bike race in a backpack and allowed greetings, met all the kids at work, etc. However, the only thing I may not have been on top of enough was preemptively making sure she didn’t feel overwhelmed, though if she went to move away from kids petting her, we left immediately. As an example of her behavior now, when we walk downstairs to exit the building, she HUSTLES out, generally with her tail tucked. No growl/teeth, just wants to be in quiet ASAP. I don’t let work kids pet her because she is clearly freaked.

I’m thinking my best plan of attack may be to sit with her at a location kids are nearby and treat for calm behavior. Then build up to a mindful, calm older child treating but not petting her. Then treating and petting. Thoughts?

2) She is nervous of imposing/tall men. This one is probably warranted, but still. For example,we frequently walk the bike path in the morning and frequently walk by a tall/heavy man wearing lots of layers, with a backpack, snowshoes and sometimes hiking poles. I leash her, and she generally stands very alert, kind of jumps in place a bit and scurries around me with no particular direction. I have been working to have her sit and “look at me” and “touch” (my finger with her nose) to keep attention off man and on rewarding with treats. Is this a reasonable methodology?

For what it’s worth, a tall man she had never met before wearing a very puffy jacket stopped by work yesterday. She gave one bark, paced in place for a second then I gave her permission to say hi, and she sniffed them quickly was friends, begging for attention.
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Hey, for what it's worth, I totally get what it's like to be afraid of dogs. I'm 26 and was pretty much deathly afraid of them to a pretty similar degree as you were until maybe like... three, four years ago. The whole 'holy crap it could rip my throat out' thing makes perfect sense. I'm not gonna say it's a stupid fear because it's not, but there are ways to get over it if you're interested.
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