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Discussion Starter #1
We rescued our puppy from a nearby rescue and have had her for two months now. From what I was told when we rescued her, she was born in the shelter and from pictures we saw of her, she was the smallest in the litter. She is 5 months now, a corgi/shepherd mix and still very much scared of everything outside of the house. She is very playful with us indoors but sometimes is hesitant to have anyone pick her up.
I've noticed on walks that she is very interested in interacting with people, wanting to play and curious towards other animals but any sudden interest from another animal seems to frighten her. As well as a leaf blowing, grass tickling her feet etc. She'll jump a mile into the air or even growl at it.
I've taken her to the dog park twice now to have her around other dogs and at first she's mildly interested, sniffing them but won't play with the other dogs. She won't even play with toys at the dog park. She'll run around for a little and then lay down.
I need some help please, because I don't want my puppy to grow up into a scared dog so any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Exposure to new things slowly, and socialization will help. She is probably going through a normal fear cycle, and it is common for shepherds to be a little skittish under these circumstances. Start out by having some puppy parties where she can interact with 3 - 5 gentle people in a controlled and quiet environment, feeding her treats, ignoring her when she is scared, and waiting for her to request attention. At the same time, try to find a gentle, older dog that is OK with puppies, and let them interact in a fenced area. Slowly try other dogs. You might also introduce her to smaller, up to date puppies, which may be less threatening.

The idea is slow and easy over the next 3 - 6 mos.
 

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Hanksimon is correct, you want to start out SLOW and always CONTROLLED. If you go too fast you can do irreversible damage. Along with the socialization with people and dogs, work with your little one on the different textures and noises that happen in this great big world of ours. A lot of dogs I take in to foster are simply to socialize them with "The World". This is done slowly as well. Remember, when your dog acts scared or nervous, you do not want to coddle them, speak quietly, etc. You want to reassure them everything is okay. This is best done with hard pats to their side, chest rubs, normal tones of voice and body posture. I have also found that movement can help a dog overcome their worry over something. If your dog is worried about the person rolling the trash can down the street, don't have them sit to watch, this can some times make it worse. Instead try to distract your pup with a fun toy, treat, trick or moving to the opposite side but continue to move. Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for your advice!! We are definitely trying to ease her into everything at a pace that's right for her. She does well with people most of the time. It's usually the inanimate objects that seem to terrify her. When we're out for a walk and she jumps at a leaf, we try and laugh and tell her its just a leaf, pat her on the back and keep moving. I'm definitely hoping over time that she will overcome her shyness and be able to play with other dogs.
 

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Note that if you are worried the dog will know, but she won't know why, but she'll find something to worry about. If you're afraid she's going to be afraid of the leaf, for example, she might think you're afraid of the leaf, and that it is something to be feared. You can't just act confident, you have to be confident. You can't fool the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for the advice Dusty. My puppy has gotten more aggressive in the house i.e. barking and growling at unfamiliar noises from the outside. Little dog big bark. We are now trying to continue her growth on the outside world. She's getting better. And she definitely seems to do better with bigger dogs.
 
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