What to do with anxious puppies
Let us first consider what the background of this question is:
The puppy leaves his family at around 8 to 12 weeks of age and thus also his previously known world.
Many new situations patter on the puppies – everything is different and unusual at first.
Depending on their origin – and what the puppies got to know from the breeder or their family of origin – they are able to react differently and adapt accordingly to the new environment. This can vary from very anxious to very curious and of course also depends on the character of the respective puppy (Shyness-Boldness-Continuum).
This uncertainty is easy to recognize when you present the puppy with a new item and look at it
While carefully approaching the nose, the buttocks remain in the same spot for as long as possible and the young dog stretches longer and longer. They often startle when exploring and the throat, previously giraffe-like, quickly shrinks back to normal length.
This behavior makes great biological sense: new things are always potentially dangerous! In nature, the cautious simply survive longer! Nobody who wanted to examine the bear’s fangs in detail in the wild has managed to reproduce afterwards.
Biologically speaking, fear of novelty is extremely useful.
But how can we now help our anxious puppy to find courage to get to the bottom of (harmless) things?
- We give the puppy all the time in the world. He can explore things at his pace.
- We can support the puppy by engaging ourselves in things (or pretending that it is the most exciting thing in the world) and by encouraging the puppy to volunteer! to also deal with the subject. (The puppy chooses his comfort distance.)
- If the objects are moving, we may be able to make sure that we take out movement. For example, if the rolling garbage can is scary, we can have the puppy try exploring when the bin is standing.
- We can reward the puppy for “safe observation from a distance”. To stay in the example: If someone rolls the bin, we look at a distance at which the puppy feels comfortable and reward the quiet look. When looking, the puppy grapples with the bin and learns.
- If something strange comes to him and he is looking for protection from you, please protect him. It is fundamental that the puppy learns that he can rely on you.
- Ultimately, you can also commute back and forth.
It is a training technique that is very quick and effective. As details matter, ask your trainer for instructions.
Isn’t it a little bit faster?
As mentioned at the beginning, your dog’s curiosity is also anchored in his personality structure.
Now force a puppy to disregard its natural limits, e.g. For example, by luring the puppy to the scary object with treats, they add additional stress to the “stress” (physically, the dog feels stress when he is in the conflict between approach and distance). With food-loving animals, it can happen that they come closer due to the attractant, because they only have the food in their head and hide the “danger”. and suddenly they find themselves in a situation they would never have gotten into without food. A wild attempt to escape starts.
This can be dangerous at times, and your dog will surely approach the next time more carefully than courageously.
So my recommendation is: No, please do not try to accelerate anything. You still have a whole dog’s life. Be patient with yourself and your dog. Enjoy the small steps.
Your dog will thank you and you won my heart!