She is just over 4 months. Just this week she has started being nervous of people she doesn't know - cowering or stopping stock still and staring. Mostly men. But also women in headscarves.
She was previously more likely to jump up in greeting/ be over friendly. There is no particular incident that I could point to - she hasn't had a fright or a bad experience.
I didn't think she would be in a fear imprint period at this point (if there is any merit in that Critical Stages of Dog Development stuff).
So - is this just a normal part of puppy development? Should I be concerned? From MN I have learned that the vast majority of dog problems are fear related so I want to avoid if possible. She has been well socialised since we got her at 8 weeks - lots of different experiences, but we have never pushed her if she felt uncomfortable.
On walks I am making sure I go a little bit in front of her when I can see she is uncomfortable - and obviously removing her from situations she doesn't like.
Should I do anything else? Get random men DH's golf buddies to come over bearing warm roast chicken?
Try an Adaptil collar/spray, they help a lot of dogs.
When she is being fearful be careful not to encourage the reaction, e.g. by petting her, picking her up, tensing yourself, etc. Do place yourself between her and the person she is worried about and try to show her there is nothing to be worried about by talking to the person. Also if you can ask the people who worry her to give her some treats, at first they can throw them to her and then see if she will decide to come up to them to take the treat, but don't force her.
If she has a problem with a particular thing like headscarves desensitize her to it, e.g. everyone in your household could go around wearing them for a while and giving her treats for coming up to you anyway.
Sounds like a fear/anxiety stage. Some people find vitamin supplements, especially vitamin B, can be helpful. The theory is that as the animal goes through a growth spurt they become vitamin deficient and that leads to problems with the nervous system coping with stimuli.
At 4 months he is still young. My new 2 year-old was like that, so I picked her up, speaking in a friendly calm tone to the person, and that person stroked her and spoke gently to her. Next time she saw that person, she was fine and I didn't pick her up. She soon got over her fear when meeting other dog owners who greeted her gently.