Maya is another little dog over from Ireland, with nothing at all known about her past. She is now five months old and she has been in her new home for a month. You can see how beautiful she is, and can perhaps wonder as to what breeds contribute to her makeup.
I would guess that in the most important weeks of her early life she wasn’t exposed to people, everyday things like vacuum cleaners and possibly other dogs. She has a lot to get used to. She is very scared when people visit, barking and backing away. On the left you can see her hanging back, her puppy curiosity trying to get the better of her wariness!
Dogs like this need habituation, a lot of exposure to people in a controlled and rewarding way – stuff puppies should have had plenty of by twelve weeks of age. People now should put no pressure on her at all – no eye contact and no attempts to ‘make friends’. She needs to be given time.
One problem they have is that she won’t come indoors when called. My German Shepherd Milly had a similar – probably much worse – start in life, and I found that sometimes when I called her towards me it’s like she couldn’t handle the pressure. It wasn’t defiance. If I was very casual and turned away, gave her space and didn’t keep calling her, she would come.
Understandably, Maya’s very loving owners are doing everything that they, with their human heads on, think will make Maya more confident. This involves opening up boundaries and giving her constant company – day and night. This can unfortunately have the reverse effect and lead to a dog becoming more vulnerable when what she really needs is to learn to stand on her own feet and to be independent. Maya has now started barking fearfully at sounds she hears outside so she needs good, steady parenting/leadership – to be able to trust them to keep her safe.
Maya is a delightful, well-behaved, gentle puppy with no toileting indoors and very little chewing (perhaps some digging in the garden)! She is a gift and has landed firmly on her little feet with people who want to do the very best for her.