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  1. #1
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Default 9 Month Old Pyr Mix - People Shy

    Hello!

    I am new but we have a 1/2 Pyr and 1/2 Bernese Mountain dog mix. He is about 9 months old now and is very shy with people. He has been since the day that we got him as a puppy. When a stranger enters our house - especially a man - he will sit in front of him and bark and bark and bark. When that person trys to pet him he will slink back and put his tail behind his legs. Everyone wants to pet him because he is adorable but on walks if a kid (or adult) walks up to him he acts scared. We plan to have a family so need this to get better. Anyone else experienced this? Tips and tricks?

    Greatly appreciated.[ATTACH=CONFIG]
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  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) SebastiansMom's Avatar

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    Welcome to the forum!

    I am so sorry to hear that your handsome boy is such a shy guy. It makes it especially difficult when these guys tend to attract so much attention in public.

    I think that your best bet is to bring in a professional to evaluate his shyness, and come up with an individualized plan to treat and manage it. I would start with someone on this list:

    http://www.animalbehaviorsociety.org...-directory.php

    The people on this list all have advanced degrees in animal behavior or a related field, and have gone through a rigid post-graduate fellowship to earn their accreditation. They are true experts in their field. I worked with one recently with my fearful boy, Chester, and not only was she by far, the most helpful Behaviorist I have worked with, she was also one of the least expensive.

    The reason I suggest starting with them, is that not every "Behaviorist" out there understands fearful behavior enough to be able to treat it successfully, and seemingly fewer understand that Pyrs and other LGD breeds have a different way of learning and responding to humans than the more biddable breeds. In both situations, the wrong techniques can do more harm than good.

    Please keep us posted on your progress with him!
    Sebastian is on Facebook!
    www.facebook.com/SirSaintSebastian

  3. #3
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Tsunibear's Avatar

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    Welcome to the boards!

    I too have a Pyrenees/Bernese Mountain Dog mix, she is now 8 years old and still the love of my life. In Missy's case she went through a fearful stage of children and that was partially my fault for not being as aggressive as need be to strange kids "petting" her. Petting is gentle hitting is not...schooled a Mom on that one. I don't have a behaviorist in my area so I had to correct the issue on my own and it took a long time to fix. I went from having a dog who would walk up like she knew everyone to a dog who would hide behind me when she saw a miniature human. What I did was had everyone ignore her until she relaxed and got curious about them and then I had them offer her a treat, but keep ignoring her. Eventually she approached them and they just let her smell and if she didn't flinch they would proceed to pet under her chin and her beard, never over her head. She still gets nervous about strangers reaching over her head and she is a confident dog. You can start petting her underneath and work your way to the top of her head by going around it, but never just to the top. Which is actually how you should pet all strange dogs, but unfortunately not everyone knows that. Farmers kids do so we spent a lot of time at the Tractor Supply. We did all of our encounters with strangers at a neutral place, because I wanted home to stay her safe place. I suggest if you go this approach over the behaviorist you do all of your socializing at a park and pet friendly store and you be sure to read your dog's body language too.

    On a plus side you get to start off with adults first and they tend to be more understanding then kids do when you explain the situation. So I would recommend always carrying high quality treats and start with adults who he will be interacting with more frequently and understand your situation in a neutral place like a park and then go from there with legit strangers and then onto kids and such. It will take time, Missy was on the path of being a therapy dog before her incident and after that it took a year and half to get her to be cool with kids again and like I said she still not okay with them petting her over her head. She will cower if they go over instead of under so I have started saying "Yes you can pet her just don't pet the top of her head." Most kids if they really want to pet her will do it if not they don't get to pet her. I know Missy better then I know my boyfriend and we have been together for almost 12 years.

  4. #4
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    I had a human shy pyr mix. He was the one on the right in my avatar pic. Bro was a 1/2 pyr 1/2 retriever/aussie mix. We adopted Bro when he was 8 weeks old and he acted like a normal puppy. His aversion to strangers, particularly children, developed after he turned 6 months old. By the time he was 2 yrs old, he learned to use growling to make sure strangers didn't pet him. But if we were to force him to greet people in our home, he would drool and shake and would be generally terrified regardless that the person was offering super high value treats to him.

    I worked with Bro for years to get him to exist peacefully with his urban world. I started by protecting him from unwanted attention because he was clearly doing everything he could to let us know he didn't like it. Anyone polite enough to ask to meet him we politely declined. Anyone who tried to reach for him without asking we would step in between the person and Bro. We avoided taking him to public places where he would be crowded by humans who may try to pet him. Everyone that came to our house was asked to ignore him completely. I also started him in agility classes to try to raise his confidence. Bro was so shy that when we first started class, if the trainer was within 10 feet of an apparatus he would not go near it. It took 3 years before he finally allowed his trainer to pet him on the head.

    I would suggest that you start with taking the pressure off your puppy by not forcing him to meet and greet strangers. He has to learn that he can trust you to watch out for his best interest by keeping unwanted attention at bay until he's ready to move forward. You have to understand that his fear is not rational, and thus he can't help it, and thus forcing him to meet and greet would only raise his anxiety level. With dogs, the more you allow them to engage in an undesirable behavior, the harder it will become to modify it. In order to help him, you have to prevent his anxiety level from going over his control threshold.

    There are no shortcuts and tricks to modifying fear behavior. It is usually a long road. If you are unsure of how to go about it beyond keeping unwanted attention away, I would strongly urge that you look to the resources SebastiansMom offered.

  5. #5
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Super helpful. Thanks everyone!

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