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NWR: Shy puppy progress!

FI and I got a 5 month old mini schnauzer a month ago who is black and a girl and named Margot. She is adorable. Like, really precious.

We knew she was poorly socialized (timid, not aggressive) when we adopted her and her first couple of days were pretty rough - she wouldn't eat or go to the bathroom (inside or out) or even take treats from us. She spent most of her time sitting on the steps in our condo (there are two of them, inside, leading up to the door to our balcony) trembling. She didn't play with our toys. She was silent at night and in the morning wouldn't come out of her kennel. But she always had to have her eye on one of us and would sneak around the apartment to stare at us. But if we reached out to her, even slowly, she would run away. We had to keep her on her leash at all times in order to be able to catch her.

After a week, she started giving us kisses, eating like a little piggy, and shamelessly cuddling with us. After another week, she started identifying me as her "mommy" and I became her favorite - she let me pet her freely while she was on the floor and didn't resist me picking her up as much. This week she also starting showing her absolute obsession with walks - she'd run and gaze up at me lovingly. After another week, her tail started visibly perking up at times - mostly on walks and at the dog park, where I started taking her. And she started growling and barking at Andrew when he came home from work.

And now, this week, she learned how to jump on couches and has started looking for trouble - but only when we're gone at work! She clearly plays with her toys when we're gone, because they're strewn all around the room when we return. Today, FI was working in the bedroom and she was in the living room, where we keep her during the day, and she must have forgotten he was there. He learn her growling and barking in the other room, and he crawled over to the gate to see what she was doing (without her noticing), and she was running around the couch, shaking her fox toy and throwing it and barking at it, and then she dropped it, started sniffing the ground and walking over to the gate... and looked p to see Andrew crouching there. She yelped, jumped back five feet, and went back to moping around and trembling and completely embarrassed that he caught her being normal.

We say that we're "teaching Margot how to dog" - but clearly, she's learned how to dog. She's warming up to us more and more, and becoming less and less shy... even though she doesn't act normal around us yet, it's so sweet to know that she does have a playful puppy in her and we have that to look forward to. For now, we have a shy couch potato puppy when we're home at night who loves cuddling with us and getting rubs and going on walks.

Anyway, that was longer than I meant it to be. I know many of you have furbabies as well - have any of you dealt with shy or poorly socialized dogs?

Re: NWR: Shy puppy progress!

  • My dog is from a shelter and was absolutely terrified of the world when we got him. He sat in the middle of our living room and refused to move for the first week. One thing that really helped was taking him to a dog class - it really taught him how to interact with us. Now, he's a total nutjob who spends half his life laying on his back waiting for a belly rub. He still doesn't play with toys (if you throw something he just stares at you, like "well, that was a dumb thing to do"), but he's learned to interact with other people and dogs quite well, although he is always a little timid around new people.
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  • This story describes our oldest dog Roxie to a T! We got our first pit when she was four months old. Her first four months she was horribly neglected. Her behavior was the exact same as you are describing. She would tremble and shake and pee on the floor whenever we would get too close. She was still very obediant though. Once she was comfortable with us, it still took awhile for her to warm up to guests. If you met her now though, you would never know she used to be like that. It took her about a year to adjust, and she is a very playful and sociable two year old now. Just keep giving her the TLC she needs and I'm sure she will come out of her shell.
  • I can't help but just wanted to say congratulations on the progress so far!!  I'm so happy to hear she's getting better with you both.  

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