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Will my timid terrier allways be timid?

(3 Posts)
Spamspamspam Thu 04-Aug-11 22:26:43

Wanting some thoughts from more experienced owners. I have a very placid terrier, she has her mad half hours but on the whole sleeps all day long and is not particulary manic yet - she is 22 weeks. We chose her because she was so placid and is generally a very sweet natured dog. She can be feisty and has a real personality when it's playtime and loves playing with other dogs and will try and dominate the big ones but when things gets too much she goes into submissive mode.

It's people she is timid with and we have done everything to socialise her I have taken her everywhere since having her at 10 weeks, I am very aware of the little dog syndrome and make sure I don't pick her up or fuel her fears but she is still so scared of some things in life. At home she barks at everything, the hackles go up but we all ignore her and open the door, saying welcome and hello to the visitors. We have a constant stream of visitors, have had dinner parties, bbq's, have children over constantly, either friends of my daughters or neices/nephews. Sometimes she is absolutely fine but others she is a bit wary. She is great with children, welcomes them with open arms but adults she can be a bit funny with and hides behind my legs and tries to climb in my arms and I wonder why as I put so much effort into making her meet people with hats, people with beards, people with glasses etc etc She is quite a sweet puppy and people are allways ahhing on walks and wanting to say hello but she allways backs away and crawls back to me, I don't then smother her I am very much come on lass get on with it nothing to worry about but she just seems naturally nervous.

The local dog walker came round the other day to pick something up (Maggie has not yet met the dog walker) and she was on the floor at my front door trying to encourage Maggie with a treat and Maggie wouldn't go near her. Post man then turned up and he also got down and was encouraging her but she was so nervous. Dog walker said I need to socialise her more but I can honestly say hand on heart I have done everything, I take her to the pub, on walks to all sorts of different places where I know there will be lots of people, I take her to friends, friends come round, we are an incredibly social house, I walk her down to the vets, she goes out every day and I make sure she meets people, she has loads of puppy play dates and puppy classes etc

Any thoughts on what more I can do or is she just made this way?

minimu11 Fri 05-Aug-11 08:57:20

You can't change who she is but you can give her a lot of confidence that enables her to be happier. 22 weeks is very little still and puppies go through several fear stages so it is not until 14 months ish that the final fear stage has passed.

I am surprised at your dog walkers reaction she should know better! Do not take any attention of a timid dog just be confident and ignore. YOu need to get loads of people to see the dog but to ignore it - do not try to persuade it to meet people and do not try to force it with treats to approach people.

When people are around encourage them to drop threats or to throw them towards the puppy but without giving any eye contact - gently over time your pup will start to approach people and then you can move onto the next step.

Going to the pub is great she can just be with you and maybe a few yummy treats dropped on the floor means that being around people is great.

You sound a little fed up - you may have already done lots but this will need to be done for life but do not despair your dog will get a bit more confident with gentle long term treatment

Spamspamspam Fri 05-Aug-11 21:11:30

Thanks Minimu smile I am not fed up just concerned I was doing something wrong, she is such a dear little thing smile I didn't realise that about the several fear phases so thanks for that. I will take on board what you said about the treats thing, some people particularly my step father try so hard so make her "like" him and it makes her worse, but he takes it personally that this appears to be the only dog in the world that doesn't like him. I have told him just to ignore her and over time she will come round but he doesn't listen and now him and my mother have spoken to a dog breeder who have told them to give her treats and I can just imagine how that is going to go!! I will make sure I tell them just to drop them on the floor and not pressure her too much.

I was just worried for her bless her. Nothing has happened in my care to make her scared and she seems quite nervous compared to a lot of young pups we meet, however I suppose I haven't seen those pups in their homes so maybe they are all like it?

Will carry on doing what we are doing, which sometimes involves me confidently marching through the woods with a puppy jumping up at me for reassurance! She is fine is we are out as a family but if I am on my own she is very insecure, she is a little poppet thought and one thing she is definately not scared of is rabbits but that's a whole other story!

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