He is the biggest scaredy dog and frightened by everything. It's not possible at the moment to narrow down the source of his fear. He thinks you are throwing things AT him instead of for him, including treats. He is so afraid that eating treats is a feat of bravery. He has lived with us now for just over 2 weeks, so it's early days, and I have found a lovely trainer to help him overcome his fears. I wonder if this will be a lifelong journey for him, learning how to be a dog?
Possibly not. Just do not ask anything of him at all. Literally ignore him, let him have one room and only a small area of the garden. DO not take him out, do not introduce him to new people. Let him make the first steps and that will take as long as it takes.
I used to have a really fearful greyhound and she was fairly nervy for all the years we had her. She got loads better with us and close friends, family. Was ok walking places she knew but was always terrified of strangers. Hated walking past the post office incase someone came out the door, etc.
I'm sure it will get better as he gets to know you.
Is there a history to explain his fears or is it just the way he is?
I grew up with a failed police dog. She was born in quarantine so didn't see the real world until she was about six months old. She was terrified of everything and, as nutty says, the best thing is to ignore. I can remember as a 7 year old when she first came, my mum saying, "nobody move or turn round - she's coming out from under the sideboard ....".
She was an absolute honey and did get better as time went on, but never what you would call brave! Bizarre thing was, people were often frightened of her because she was a German Shepherd; they didn't seem to notice she was shaking and trying to hide behind our legs!
Just try not to overwhelm him and let him do things on his terms.
Agree with everyone else re giving them space. When we brought our nervous girl home we tried too hard as we were so keen to help her. I would leave it at least two months before bringing in a trainer and just let them start to feel safe with you and in your home, and to build some bond and trust before starting work.
Thank you for your responses. He has found a cosy place behind my computer where he won't get tangled up in wires. I have given him a rug to lie on and he looks happy enough. He's still a bit scrawny and I guess he won't really put on weight until he's feeling a bit braver. Its hard getting dogs to put on weight!
We got our rescue greyhound in November and she was incredibly shy and nervy. She also had to get used to living in a home for the first time rather than a kennel. We ignored her quite a bit in the first few weeks and gradually she started coming in the living room (just poking her nose in first) and then the rug......then the sofa.
She now is very confident and affectionate, even when strangers come round she is wary but friendly. She used to run and hide when DH came home and the first few times the toaster popped or the phone rang she ran and hid down the end of the garden!
We used a crate and walked her using a harness in the early days just to help with nerves and give her a sense of security.