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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Henry is about eighteen weeks old and goes everywhere with me. We have been to the pet store many times, hiking, and the park. Today it was grey and very windy and Henry seemed uncomfortable going outside. I decided to take him to the park for a walk to make it a positive day for him. He did pretty well. Stop and go, the Doberman stop and stare (so to speak) to others passing by, but ultimately he would start going again when anyone passed. However, at one point, a strange man stopped to compliment Henry to me. Henry did his usual stop and stare, but when the man went to pet him, Henry just started trembling. I had the man try and give Henry a treat, but Henry refused. Henry is a fearful pup and I have been working very hard on socializing him. I want Henry to be comfortable in public with me. He is a very loving puppy normally. I do have an older dog that at times avoids him, but today he and my older dog played together for quite I while. Any advice from the more experienced Doberman owners here would be greatly appreciated. I have a dog sitter, a trained dog trainer, come and visit the dogs every day when I am at work. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the reply. I don't know the breeder. He is a rescue from a shelter near my home. He was abandoned by the breeder at seven weeks olds.
 

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If a friendly stranger (FS) wants to pet Henry...try this:

1) you have to remain calm
2) keep talking to Henry, in a soft / happy voice & ask th FS to keep his distance of 10 feet
3) have the FS kneel and wait for the dog introduction
(the FS eyes are down at Henry's level now...less intimidating)
4) Henry & you approach the FS, while you say "is a good boy" or similar / closing the 10 ft. distance
(putting Henry in more control)
5) hand the FS a treat, have him give it with an open hand
6) if Henry takes the treat, ask the FS to pet your dog...under his chin / on the neck
(avoid the FS touching hand, swinging over the dogs eyes & muzzle)
(you can rub Henry's back or ears, while this is going on)
7) ask the FS to transfer his petting to the dogs ears
8) time for a second treat

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the advice. Could you tell me why you think he is acting this way suddenly. Do you think he needs more socialization too? I get out with him everyday and do stuff.
 

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Is it a good idea to sit on a public bench for 20-30 minutes where there is lot of traffic so the dog is getting used to humans , bikes cars, etc? Does it help in socializing? I am having similar problem, my pup is not afraid, she just prefers not to be hugged by strangers but she remains calm in very close contact with a cold blooded look (4m.o pup atm)
 

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Is it a good idea to sit on a public bench for 20-30 minutes where there is lot of traffic so the dog is getting used to humans , bikes cars, etc? Does it help in socializing? I am having similar problem, my pup is not afraid, she just prefers not to be hugged by strangers but she remains calm in very close contact with a cold blooded look (4m.o pup atm)
I feel like your puppy does about being hugged by strangers.

Sitting around in a public area where there is traffic works well as a type of socialization. A lot of puppies get quite worried about "stuff" going on that they haven't seen before so seeing cars, bikes, kids, people and other dogs without having to interact with them (well, not the bikes and cars) is a way of getting them used to more activity than they would normally see.

And there are fear periods in a puppies life and the OP's puppy may be in the middle of one of these so strangers would be of great concern. I wouldn't force a puppy to engage with a stranger.

I'll also tell you that a lot of dogs don't like the kind of attention that non-dog people tend to want to give a cute puppy. Staring into the puppies eye is between dogs a somewhat aggressive behavior. And I've found that having a puppy meet strangers with the stranger sitting (rather than kneeling) seems to work out better.

And I'm very careful about people who want their children to meet my dogs--while most of my dogs will tolerate the kind of thing that kids tend to do (hugging them being just one) I've had very few dogs who actually liked it. Adults ( in my opinion) should know better than to be hugging someone elses dog (puppy or adult).
 

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I have strangers meet puppies while squatting down. The point of the posture (kneeling, sitting, whatever) is to keep the person from looming over the top of the puppy, which can be quite intimidating. No one should bend over the puppy, entering the pup's space from above. Puppies need to be free to retreat if they feel the need... do not hold or force them forward.

Make sure that you are encouraging bravery. Comforting or soothing often has the end result of praising fearfulness. You get what you pet!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have strangers meet puppies while squatting down. The point of the posture (kneeling, sitting, whatever) is to keep the person from looming over the top of the puppy, which can be quite intimidating. No one should bend over the puppy, entering the pup's space from above. Puppies need to be free to retreat if they feel the need... do not hold or force them forward.

Make sure that you are encouraging bravery. Comforting or soothing often has the end result of praising fearfulness. You get what you pet!
This is good advice. I went on a hike today and with most males we passed Henry sat back and stared. However, I noticed Henry was cautious, but did well with guys who kneeled or were sitting. I hope Henry does better with socialization over time. When he is doing his "stare" I try to not encourage or discourage him. And just continue my interaction with whomever. Do you think this is okay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have also noticed Henry does very well, but tends to get grumpy when tired. For example, at the end of a long hike. Has anyone else noticed this with their pup?
 

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This is good advice. I went on a hike today and with most males we passed Henry sat back and stared. However, I noticed Henry was cautious, but did well with guys who kneeled or were sitting. I hope Henry does better with socialization over time. When he is doing his "stare" I try to not encourage or discourage him. And just continue my interaction with whomever. Do you think this is okay.
Yup... just act unconcerned and natural, and let Henry become more comfortable and then (hopefully) curious and forward in his own time and on his own terms.

If I had a dollar to bet, I would bet that you are a single female person and that Henry does not have any real male human friends... is this correct? If yes, find him some men! Playful men, friendly men, men with TOYS, men with TREATS... buy some, if you have to LOL! Men with facial hair, men with baseball caps, men with sunglasses... tall and short, big and small, loud and quiet, old and young. Just seeing men in passing ain't gonna do it... he needs a relationship or five.
 

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Thanks for the advice. Could you tell me why you think he is acting this way suddenly. Do you think he needs more socialization too? I get out with him everyday and do stuff.
Puppies need socialiation through 12-18 months. The one thing I would do though is stop having him take a treat when he is scared. I would not have the scary stranger give him the treat right now. Otherwise you could reinforce him being scared and/or set up a behavior pattern with "scary strangers."

What do you mean he gets grumpy?
 

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Also look up fear periods in puppies it is normal at certain ages for a puppy to go though a phase. Main thing is do not act like it bothers you if the puppy shows fear do no coddle the pup then they will think it is something to be fearful of. I usually say something like its ok and just ignore the behavior that I do not like. Good Luck
 

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Puppies need socialiation through 12-18 months. The one thing I would do though is stop having him take a treat when he is scared. I would not have the scary stranger give him the treat right now. Otherwise you could reinforce him being scared and/or set up a behavior pattern with "scary strangers."
As someone who spends much of her time forming relationships with dogs and puppies who initially maybe would rather not, I kind of think you are over-thinking things here. If the pup is brave enough to approach and take a treat and comfortable enough to actually eat it, I would see that interaction as being a positive thing which is likely to lead to more positive things... puppies tend to be cheap dates, and easily bought with goodies. If necessary, I will even start by walking casually by a dog/puppy without acknowledging or looking at it and drop or flick a treat in their direction... usually, once a treat is taken, a relationship can be built from that first step. What should not happen is the pup being pursued insistantly by someone who is pushing the pup to take a treat... that kind of interaction will lead to bad juju.
 

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As someone who spends much of her time forming relationships with dogs and puppies who initially maybe would rather not, I kind of think you are over-thinking things here. If the pup is brave enough to approach and take a treat and comfortable enough to actually eat it, I would see that interaction as being a positive thing which is likely to lead to more positive things... puppies tend to be cheap dates, and easily bought with goodies. If necessary, I will even start by walking casually by a dog/puppy without acknowledging or looking at it and drop or flick a treat in their direction... usually, once a treat is taken, a relationship can be built from that first step. What should not happen is the pup being pursued insistantly by someone who is pushing the pup to take a treat... that kind of interaction will lead to bad juju.
That's not always true. A high drive food dog may want the food enough to take the treat and still be scared. I have seen many scared dogs, snatch a treat and retreat. If the dog is taking the treat, snacthing and retreating, you are rewarding fearful behavior. Owner has to be able to read body language. In my post, I said I would stop letting Henry take the treat if he is scared. I would approach it by desensitizing, not forcing. I'd work under threshold - like this. This particular puppy was trembling. This is not a "normal" puppy that might be a cheap date :) This particular puppy is extremely fearful. In my opinion, slow and steady is the way to go. Rushing a dog like this could result in a more fearful dog.

Yes, I agree "usually" once a treat is taken CONFIDENTLY a relationship can be built. This is what I perceive to be an "unusual" case with a trembling dog.

https://www.msu.edu/~silvar/fear.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yup... just act unconcerned and natural, and let Henry become more comfortable and then (hopefully) curious and forward in his own time and on his own terms.

If I had a dollar to bet, I would bet that you are a single female person and that Henry does not have any real male human friends... is this correct? If yes, find him some men! Playful men, friendly men, men with TOYS, men with TREATS... buy some, if you have to LOL! Men with facial hair, men with baseball caps, men with sunglasses... tall and short, big and small, loud and quiet, old and young. Just seeing men in passing ain't gonna do it... he needs a relationship or five.
You pretty much nailed it. I think i will try ignoring Henry when he does the stare, but let Henry get treats if he wants to take them. I'm also thinking doggie daycare might help. He's been three times and I know men work there too. So, keep your fingers crossed. I am hoping that since Henry is still so young he will get through this period. I've read about puppy development periods and he did not have much interaction with men before twelve weeks I am hoping he will grow more confident with time, experience, and patience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Puppies need socialiation through 12-18 months. The one thing I would do though is stop having him take a treat when he is scared. I would not have the scary stranger give him the treat right now. Otherwise you could reinforce him being scared and/or set up a behavior pattern with "scary strangers."

What do you mean he gets grumpy?
When Henry gets tired, he tends to get unfocused and hyper and won't listen to me. I've learned how to get him focused and let him go to sleep through some good redirection with chew toys, soft pets, etc. I think it seems related to he and my older dog playing. I just have to keep them both distracted at that point and Henry and Tyler will go to sleep.
 

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I really don't understand the need many of you have to let strangers pet your dog. We own Dobermans!!! they were bred to protect their master from strangers and you all want them to be best budddies with them. i don't get it. Socialization of our breed is not getting it to the point where they love and kiss everyone they see, (if you want that buy a lab) it is for them to be comfortable in any situation or surrounding. They are supposed to be wary, aware and protective with strangers. Yes you should be able to walk up to a stranger, that is non threatening and have you dog sit or stand camly with you, but why do you feel the need to let someone pet your dog. I don't allow anyone to pet my dog,(except family who live in my home) and that includes many friends, my mother etc.. , who only comes to my house every so often. I think many of you own the wrong breed and so do many of our breeders which is why we have this problem with fearful, nervous DOBERMANS.
 

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I really don't understand the need many of you have to let strangers pet your dog. We own Dobermans!!! they were bred to protect their master from strangers and you all want them to be best budddies with them. i don't get it. Socialization of our breed is not getting it to the point where they love and kiss everyone they see, (if you want that buy a lab) it is for them to be comfortable in any situation or surrounding. They are supposed to be wary, aware and protective with strangers. Yes you should be able to walk up to a stranger, that is non threatening and have you dog sit or stand camly with you, but why do you feel the need to let someone pet your dog. I don't allow anyone to pet my dog,(except family who live in my home) and that includes many friends, my mother etc.. , who only comes to my house every so often. I think many of you own the wrong breed and so do many of our breeders which is why we have this problem with fearful, nervous DOBERMANS.
I don't necessarily let everyone pet my dogs (often I decline on walks), but I also don't want my dogs to be fearful of anyone. That's a recipe for disastrous fear aggression issues. It's one thing to have an aloof dog that just doesn't prefer to interact with people (but is calm and not worried) and a dog that is fearful of people.
 
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