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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I just adopted Patch who is 10 weeks old. He's a rescue and is very quiet and fearful. He just lies on the bed all day and only gets up to relieve himself. He doesn't play and is not active at all and sometimes gets a lil aggressive when pet. He does eat very well though. I would love some advice on making him feel more comfortable around me and being more active. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is abnormal behavior. The good news is Patch will likely to warm up to you and behave like a "more normal" puppy within a week. However, when this kind of behavior is seen at this age, there is a high probability that Patch will have some degree of fear for the rest of his life. Fearful dogs act normally in familiar situations but may have a hard time adjusting in new situations, may have handling sensitivities with certain actions or certain people, may display aggressive behaviors towards some people or dogs in some situations. Again, I am not saying this will absolutely happen. But the chances of it are pretty high that some or all of these traits will be present in adulthood to some degree. And it is easier to accidentally socialize a fearful puppy in the wrong way. For example simply touching Patch more or bringing him around more people and dogs may not be the best way to socialize him. And if done wrong, it can make Patch more fearful/anxious/aggressive as he grows up.

I recommend that you consider what your ultimate lifestyle goal is with Patch and decide now whether a fearful dog is compatible with your lifestyle. Fearful dogs can do all of the things normal dogs can - play, hike, walk, etc. But they may not do well in extremely social or stimulating situations. So it could mean - not bringing Patch to social situations like when friends and/or their dogs hang out for a BBQ. Or Patch may never be trustworthy around children. It is impossible to tell, and I can't emphasize enough that I am not trying to say 'the worst case scenario is going to happen'. But it's better to consider the possibilities now before Patch gets older. I am speaking from having a vast amount of experience with puppies, behavior, and sheltering. I saw or worked with over 100 puppies last year and none of them behaved this way. I can think of only a handful of puppies over the last 6 years that were reserved, fearful, and sensitive to handling like this - and they did grow up to have some level of fear and subsequent behaviors. Professionally, I only recommend fearful puppies to families that have a lot of dog experience, a mature home, rural/quiet lifestyle. And at the very least, if you keep Patch I highly recommend you enlist the help of a certified professional trainer who uses positive reinforcement methods. (CCPDT.org is a good place to start).

Best of luck!
Hi @Canyx thanks for your reply. I've had Patch for 4 days now. Regarding the lifestyle, I'm not a very social guy either but yes ideally I would love for him to grow to be more social around other ppl and dogs and children. I work from home and I am ready to give him time and be patient but if only I could figure out the reason for his fear or how to get him out of it. Today he somehow tried to leave the house and I had to end up chasing him around and use a bit of force to get him back in. I'm afraid events like this would only increase whatever trauma he has. I am seeing a vet tmrw to get more advice. I stay in a small city in India and professional trainers and pet behaviourists are almost nil here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
While I basically agree with Canyx, you don't say how long you've had the puppy or what kind of vet checks it's had. Eating well seems to preclude the onset of illness, but still.... If possible and you're willing, see if the rescue you adopted from will give you 30 days* to decide on keeping or returning. If this is behavioral, my experience with rescue dogs is that it takes 30 days to see what you really have, and a puppy coming from a rescue may not have had the best of starts to help it love people or have confidence in how life will go.

I'd try to leave the puppy alone as much as possible but be available to let him come to you. For instance, sit on the floor near that bed and read, watch tv, work on PC, etc., and when you need to go to him, make it as pleasant for him as possible, cheerful words and attitude (no "poor baby"), gentle but not hesitant touch.

* (Susan Garrett, a well known and successful trainer, says 2 weeks.)
Hi Susan @storyist , thanks for replying. Ive had him for 4 days now. The vet said to give him deworming medicine and then after 4 days get the necessary vaccinations. So I'm taking him to the vet tmrw. My understanding is that he has been shifted to two foster homes within a week and a half and he probably expects the same to happen here as well. I'm completely ready to be as patient as it takes but I just need to know what I can do to make him better or rather what I shouldn't do to make it worse.

I shall try to do as you say and give him that space.

Thanks for your advice :)
 
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