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So, my husband and I were very interested in meeting an adorable 2-3 yr old, recently rescued stray from our local group (Said to be a Norfolk/Chihuahua mix). We were told that the dog was very sweet, had no problem it all at a foster home with cats, children, other dogs, and chickens, so would make a fine family and/or mult-pet dog.

However, when we went to meet him, he made absolutely no connection at all with the people or other dogs around him. He wasn't lethargic, or timid, and had no problems when people picked him up or pet him, he just... didn't care one drop. He never looked at anyone, never reacted, no tail wags or even barks. When he was on a leash, he would just wander off to the end of it, and just stand there looking off to wherever he was headed.

I'm wondering if this is just personality, or if it's a stray thing (having not grown up around/knowing people.) It was sad for us because we were hoping for any connection, especially since many of the other dogs were all to happy to lick our hands when we pet them, or at least look over at us in curiosity. Is this something he could eventually grow out of, or is it more likely a solid personality trait?
 

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Is he being kept in a foster home? Or in a shelter with a lot of other dogs? How long has he been in foster or in the shelter?

If he's in a shelter environment, I would venture a guess that he is somewhat shut down because of the high stress nature of a shelter. If he's in a foster... Who knows?

I think, if you really want an interactive, cuddly, outgoing dog, then you should pass on this dog. He may turn into that eventually, but he may not. So adopting him and crossing your fingers that he transforms into the dog you're looking for is setting yourself up for disappointment.
 

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I agree, sounds like a shutdown dog. He may blossom and gain confidence in a loving home, but it's really hard to tell from this one experience. Working in a shelter, I have seen shutdown dogs turn into the exact opposite, vibrant and friendly dogs that were actually a little too over the top :D
 

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Agree, he's likely shut down and you would have zero idea how his personality is.

Bucky was a fear biter that stood next to me not looking at me but facing the scary kennel man who reported having a tough time leashing him up in the kennel. I didn't dare touch him as he was so tense but many shut down dogs are safe to touch. It was only when we said good by to him and he was led off that he showed his stuff - bouncing and looking at me wondering why we were leaving him there. We returned the following day to a changed dog. He was giving loves to the same kennel man and was delighted to see us and Ginger. I still didn't pet him but wow.

I suggest visiting the dog again. Abandoned dogs go through so much loss and if they see somebody return you may be surprised at the change in his behavior.
 

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My dog was so shut down when I got him. He wouldn't do anything, really, except eat and walk outside. It was like having a pillow I had to feed and walk. It took about a year to draw him out of his shell, but it was so, so, so worth it. I'd give him a shot, but keep your expectations low. Just be happy if he does anything and go from there.

If you do adopt him, post a thread with something like "saving a shut down dog" and you'll get replies from those of us who have done it and can help.
 
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