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It has been 8 months since I adopted my toy poodle. I understand that the breed is known to be high strung and skittish, but he acts like a totally different dog around me at home than anywhere.He is a sweetie pie.

When i visit my parents house he starts growling and barking when someone comes close. He's never bitten anyone but he won't go near anyone except me. He might come close if you offer him food but he takes much thought into it first.

I have been taking him on walks, sitting at cafes, taking him around with me everywhere to get used to new sights and sounds. He's still very wary of taking food from strangers although he takes it but sometimes won't eat it because he's so nervous.

When i take him somewhere new he has this wide eyed look in his eyes, although he seems very happy to go anywhere with me just as long as i'm there. He follows me around and is with me 24/7 when I am home. When i get up he gets up it doesn't matter even if i'm stepping into the closet.

How do i let him develop his independence and become more friendly and trusting strangers? I have let treats fall from the sky but that hasn't worked. He will either take the treat with super caution and run away or eat it like a little bird, looking everywhere.

Has anyone helped their shy dog overcome fear of people? How did you do it?
 

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Obedience classes helped my dog tremendously. Previously, she'd balk and move sideways anytime she'd see someone walking toward us on the sidewalk. Now I can get her past relatively calmly. Increased attention on you coupled with praise for a job well done has really helped to make the big, scary people less intimidating for my dog.

The best thing is to have the people who he is barking/growling at completely ignore him. He's already proven that his bark is worse than his bite, and I'd venture to guess that if he is not provoked he will not aggress. Are they reaching out to him? Trying to pet him? Making eye contact? All of these things will scare the bejeezers out of a dog who is insecure around people.

It is also good to do things in increments. If the cafe is a crowded place where he is being flooded by the presence of too many people, that may not be the best way for him to overcome his fear. Maybe a park with wide open spaces where he can SEE people but not have them too close may be more beneficial for him at this point.
 

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I second MissMutt about obedience class, I've seen amazing confidence changes in dogs that used to be so scared before -- learning how to obey and communicate with their owner often helps them immensely in other areas.
 

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Attention classes and/or special fearful dog classes (some places offer them) may also be of interest to you. See what your local dog club offers. Inquire with them about your dog, and they may be able to help you find a class that best suits your needs.
 

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I agree with classes, but I'd like to point out that toy poodles are NOT supposed to be high strung, twitchy little rat dogs. They're supposed to be confident, intelligent dogs with a great sense of humor- just like the standards and minis- in a smaller package.
 

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I agree with classes, but I'd like to point out that toy poodles are NOT supposed to be high strung, twitchy little rat dogs. They're supposed to be confident, intelligent dogs with a great sense of humor- just like the standards and minis- in a smaller package.
Absolutely true! Unfortunately poodles, especially the Toys and to a lesser extent the Minis have been victims of BYB and Puppy Mill breeders for a long time.
 
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