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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 6 month old GSD/Lab cross named Winston, and he's a very well behaved dog, knows tons of tricks, listens really well, excellent recall level, etc, but lately I've been observing his behaviour and noticing that he's become more shy around people and a bit more submissive.

I didn't think much of it, I put it off to a phase of reluctance as he's growing up but I've been thinking more about it lately. One outward thing I've noticed is that while he was younger, and when he generally exhibited more traits of confidence and outgoing behaviour towards people, he tended to put 1 ear up all the time, even when relaxing inside, and when he was outside he would put both ears up. Lately he has been prone to have both ears down inside, even tucked towards the back, and when outside will usually only have one up, if even, and both only come up in a few situations.

I've been reading about dog psychology and noticed that hes been exhbiting many calming signals, and I've been thinking that these phenomenon are likely all connected.

I don't feel like I'm overly firm with him, and I'm not generally very aggressive with him I don't pin him down or hit him when he does things wrong or anything like that, I did a little bit when he was a puppy before I read more about it, but I've stopped since. One thing that my roommate and I did which may have made him a bit uncomfortable is when he would jump into bed and come cuddle up for a bit some time we would hold him there or flip him over, I never did it to the point where he became distressed but my roommate did once or twice, I've since spoken to him about it. I

I really would like to find a way to encourage his flourishing and well-being, to help him find more confidence and at the same time more comfort and happiness in his life, I know these seem like big words and concepts to apply to a dog but I feel that they fit. I will answer any questions about my habits in interaction with him if anyone thinks they know of anything which could be causing him to feel this way, and will be open to any kinds of suggestion towards things which could help him.

It may help to elaborate that this year I am in a medium size apartment, we have a back yard but it isn't fenced and he can't run it freely. He does get frequent walks as well as dog park visits, many times a week I will take him into the woods with my friend and his sister for well over an hour, some times up to three hours, and even on the days with the worst weather or when I'm the busiest he'll usually be outside for at least an hour or close to it.

Next year I will be living in a house with my friend who also owns his sister, and they will have a yard to run as well as a network of trails extremely close by, so he will get even more activity, and over the summer I will be working in the Bush as a tree planter, and I intend to bring him with me, as we have a dog friendly company. I feel as thoug these changes may help, but I would like some advice about things I could maybe do in the mean time.

Sorry for the long shpiel, thanks to anyone who takes the time to read it, and thanks in advance for taking the time to think about it and reply to it. I would be more than happy to accept links to articles or recommendations about books as well.

Sorry to add even more to this, but something I just thought of:
I think I may have started training too intensively too early, he took to it really well and enjoyed it but the amount of discipline I expected and received from him at a young age was quite high. He's just 6 months and we've already been working on 5 minute sit stays with visual obstructions, very long distance recalls with distractions, and training and treat routines involving around 10 tricks in different sequences, many of which he has known for a long time now. I certainly allowed him to play and have alot of free license when he was young, but I definitely did impose a higher level of discipline, much earlier, than I would have knowing what I do now about puppy development. I hope I didn't rob him of his childhood or something. Could this have any bearing on these recent traits as well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks very much for both the advice and the encouragement everyone. He hasnt been as shy around the house, but I'm going to start taking a bag of small treats with me when I go for walks for people to give him, and I've already started giving him extra effusive praise when he does his tricks, and we're working on learning new things. He gets really excited when he's successful at learning something new! I'm going to spend even more time with him around people if I can, I already try to socialize him as much as I can but I'm going to work more on giving him praise for being brave in interactions with new people and generally just try to both listen to everyones advice, and not worry so much about him, he will surely come out of his shell in good time!:cool:
 
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