Rescue Aussie Is VERY Shy

by Casper
(Orangville, Ontario, Canada)

I recently adopted an Aussie from a bad situation. The people I adopted her from got her from a "breeder" who raised her dogs in kennels, not in the home. This dog was kept behind as a potential show dog and when the breeder noticed how shy she was, she sold her to the first person willing to pay for her. She was with this family for a year and is still very very shy of new people. She is NOT good with children, which is why they rehomed her to me.

I have had her for three months now and it took her almost a month and a half to trust and bond with me. She would sit on her pillow in the front living room all day long and only go for walks if I literally picked her up (with struggle) and took her outside in the back yard. Several weeks of me laying next to her on the floor, giving treats, wet food, and gentle snuggles, and she doesn't leave my side for more than the time it takes her to eat her kibble.

However. She is still VERY shy with strangers. I have been getting friends to meet up with us on the street randomly with treats, have them come down to her level and not look her in the eye and she's just now, two months later, starting to approach them.

Does anyone have any other techniques they have used with shy dogs? If so, how long does it take them to turn around? She's fine with other dogs and when people visit, she's not aggressive, she just hides next to me and seems very very anxious. I feel bad for her and want to reassure her that everything is ok and that people aren't terrible.

Comments for Rescue Aussie Is VERY Shy

Click here to add your own comments

by: Gayle-- Big Run Aussies

It sounds like you are doing a great job with her. Keep up the good work. You can try having strangers give her treats, if she will take them. You could even give her the treat when she approaches a stranger if she doesn't feel comfortable taking treats from people she doesn't know. If she likes toys, you can have a stranger play with her after she feels more comfortable with them. You are doing a great job of socializing her. Just be patient.

In the same boat
by: JJ

Hi I am in the same boat as you. I got a male 14mth old from a kennel who was kept back as a potential show dog. He would drop his head everytime I went to pat him and try to shy away. I have had great success in the 4months I've had him and we have definitely bonded. I think having another dog in the house & him seeing the other dog interact with me has helped immensely but he is also still very shy of strangers. I go to a local cafe every weekend with him and sit outside with a cup off coffee and a handful of treats. All I let him do is watch people going about their business - no interaction with the dog though (I also ignore him) as he looks to me if he is worried and acknowledging him at that point enforces that its OK to be worried. If he is calm as people walk past I give him a small treat. The temptation is huge to want to coddel him & let him know its OK but he's looking to me for guidence on how to behave - if he sees that I,m not concerned then he is fine. Its been just over 4months and the cafe owner has only just been able to pet him - but as soon as the cafe owner talks to him he comes back to me for safety. If he is OK with other dogs ask a friend with a dog to walk with you & sit outside a cafe - your dog should pick up on the behaviour of the other dog (so make sure its well behaved lol)Persevere my friend & lead by your own body language

6 years still shy
by: mcbooker

i took on a foster 6 years ago and well, she is still with me.
this dog loves to walk - that is her drive and unfortunately my other dog which recently passed away so now she is even more lost.
but when it comes to people, the slightest sound, anything she jumps, runs for cover or trys to become "invisible". I have tried agility, obedience classes, herding classes you name it, she just has this problem. I love her and would love to find her "drive". she is amazingly fast after squirrels and rabbits and i am sure she enjoys that but otherwise she is just afraid. sometimes she won't even eat no matter how good the food is. and she approaches the water bowl like a lion at a watering hold, all slunk down and stretched out.
Anybody with something i haven't thought of, please share.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Australian Shepherd Q & A. icon

Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Have Dog Training Questions?

Check out these introductory dog training videos...

I want some help training my new puppy.

I want my dog to stop barking at everything.

I want my dog to walk nicely and calmly on the leash.

I want my dog to listen and come every time I call!

I want my dog to stop being aggressive.