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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hamilton is 5 months old now. If you come to my home, Hamilton will be your best friend ever. If you're coming to rob me, he'll show you where the valuables are kept. He whuffs a little if he hears someone coming, then when they actually get to the door, he wags his tail like a mad man and zooms all over the house. He's crazy friendly in other situations he's familiar with as well, like at his play groups or his classes. I'm finding, however, that in strange situations he is much more reserved. For example, this afternoon we went to the pet store and to the park. At the pet store one of the employees crouched down to pet him, and Hamilton went over for a sniff, then turned and walked away before he could be pet. At the park he doesn't really want to walk, so I've taken to just doing what he wants, which is usually sitting on a bench, people and dog watching. He will sulk until a person walks by, and then perk up, and wag his tail. Some people he'll let pet him, other people he'll turn away when they reach for him. It's like he's happy to see them until the want to pet him. We met three people with dogs at the park who were very friendly and all the dogs were playing together, he took water from one woman, stood and waited for treats from another, got pets from one guy, but then this 3 y/o walked over and was really toddler rough with one of the dogs, then went for Hamilton who just backed the heck out of there and I picked him up. He doesn't ever growl or snarl or show teeth, and he's never tried to bite anyone who was trying to pet him. I try to ask people who ask to pet him to crouch down, because he does better when people are on his level.

I plan on just continuing to do what I'm doing, taking him out and having him meet people - but how concerned should I be at his reaction to strangers outside of his familiar places? He's never shown signs of aggression, just avoidance, but should I be concerned about him biting people? It's almost like he's super overstimulated and focused on so much stuff going on around him he doesn't want to also be touched.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When we meet other people and he doesn't want to socialize with them, they say things like "Oh, he's not friendly?" or say how shy or timid he is, so I guess that's been reinforcing for me that he should be up in everyone's face. Usually if they'll come down to his level, he'll walk over, sniff, walk away, and then sometimes come bounding back all excited, or otherwise just get distracted by something else. When he's off leash in groups, at play group or meetups, he is a "laportunist" - any lap he finds he'll jump in!
 
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