Maya is wary of visitorsBeautiful five month old mixed breed puppyMaya 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.

About 10 weeks later: ‘Have had the plumber in, the washing machine engineer in, no problems at all, had a sniff, wagged her tail and went away minding her own business. The other day, the loft insulation chap came and she went and sniffed around his legs, wagged her tail and went-off into the garden, no yapping, no barking. Used to go barking mad when the postman dropped post through the letterbox, and that has now turned into a little yap and that’s it! And in the park, she is no longer frightened of people, although she holds back at time and if invited, will then go to them, but with a little holding back, but definitely much, much better!
An amazing change, is coming when called at home and especially in the park, both times, morning and evening. No problems what so ever! She disappears into the woods and immediately out of sight, blow the whistle and she comes back like the clappers. She runs off towards another dog in the distance, blow the whistle and her direction changes and she comes belting back like a racehorse! Just unbelieveable! She is right in the middle of a pack of dogs playing, start walking away, blow the whistle and she comes rushing back! So with your help and the all-mighty’s grace, the two daily walks in the park are a pleasure for all parties concerned”.
I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.