Hi there - we brought our F1B goldendoodle home from a breeder 3 weeks ago at 13.5 weeks - now he is 16.5 weeks.   At first he was so scared  and timid in our house, he would not venture to our hardwoods, but now he is gradually able to walk on the hardwoods and exploring a little more.  He has shown signs of "playful puppy" more and more, but he is a very quiet and timid  pooch.  We have been able to teach him basic commands of sit and down.  We are crate training him and for the most part he willingly goes into the crate, lured by a treat.  He tends to follow me around the house, but also likes to hide under the kitchen table.

The problem is getting him outside.  He is scared of leaving the house. At first we would just carry him outside, and then needed to encourage him to walk down (very short) driveway to go potty or go for a walk.  This has gotten easier, but still have to carry him.  We did spend 2 days last week putting the leash on while inside and trying to "walk " him out of house, but he freezes when we get near the threshold of the door and I didnt think that dragging him was reinforcing the behaviour we want to see.

 

I have tried several things to get him out the door on his own - treats leading up to the door, playing games with the door open, sitting just outside the door and trying to get him to have treat - it is very slow going but he now will come right to the door, but still will not cross over willingly.  Once he is down 4 steps to our driveway, he will eventually start to go, with a few gentle tugs.  He will not take treats outside at all, and when we go for walks in the neighborhood he often has his tail between his legs.  HE clearly does not like the noises of cars or trucks or lawn equipment.  He does love other dogs and is frendly to people.  We have a nature preserve just a few houses down and he LOVES walking back there, is so relaxed, I think because it is quiet, but as soon as we get back to the street he exhibits fear again.  He Pulls very hard when we get in the general vicinity of the house and just wants to be back inside.  We live in the South and it is HOT - not sure if this is also a factor, but have tried to get him out early in the am when its been a little cooler and dont really see a difference

4 times now he has escaped while on a walk - twice collar slipped over head (now we have a martingdale collar) and once when he pulled so hard I dropped the leash.  All times he ran super fast speed right back to my front porch.  then today he Gave me a heart attack. -- we we were in a park and he escaped -- ran so far and so fast but eventually someone grabbed his leash.  He must have been so scared  that he  pooped himself while running.  I gave him bath when we got home and he was just so submissive and seemingly downtrodden - it was so sad, I tried to give him lots of praise, but it just plain wore him out.

We Got him from a breeder and I will aay, asked to meet the mother on the way out and she was fearful and skittish when brought into the room with tile floor where we were finalizing the purchase.  Not sure if this fear is bc he wasnt socialized between 8-14 weeks or if it is hereditary from the skittish mother.\

Had a "certified" dog trainer work with him one time at the house last week to try to get him outside - she noted how fearful he was and she even made the comment that he may not be able to overcome the fearfulness if it is hereditary and she wouldnt judge me if I sent him back (!!!) I almost fell over- could not believe she said that, but then I thought she might be more "in tune" to what we have signed up for than I am.....

I need tips!!  This is our first puppy - we have 3 kids middle school and high school and they really wanted a dog and I caved.  I do love dogs and knew it would really be my dog! But the fearfulness is a lot to handle -- I would expect this if he was a rescue - but we just paid good $$ for  him from a breeder and I dont even know if I have any recourse -- I have called the breeder 2 times and she just said "oh thats weird - he was a little shy but nothing like that when he was with us".  They kept him mostly outside I believe - several friends have gotten dogs from this breeder with good luck so I thought it was a good place. 

Will it get better?  Tips? what can I do to get him outside (because peeing and pooping in the house will not do!)  Also - he refuses treats while outside, but I am giving him lots of praise when he "goes potty" and it is working much better than last week.

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  • I'm sorry, I have no advice, but it sounds like something wasn't right in how he was raised and possibly with the skittish mom so just in his nature.  

    • I agree. We see this kind of behavior in rescue dogs who have been kept outdoors with little to no socialization.  

    • Yes I was thinking the same thing in terms of how he was raised, I think the anxiety can be improved with training.  Luna was not super well socialized (raised in a heated barn basically) so we had a lot of desensitization work to do when she got home, she never quite grew out of it and still spooked at various things (especially those evil inflatable holiday decorations).  Riley was home raised and has a lot less fear issues, not quite bombproof as she has some stranger anxiety (though it could be over protectiveness too) but she is pretty fearless most of the time.

  • If he is scared of the noises have you tried playing YouTube clips of similar sounds while you are in "safe" territory (inside the house)?

    Start by playing something (like traffic noises) at the other end of the room, give treats and praise if he is calm.

    Gradually move the sound closer/louder, back off if he gets scared or stops accepting treats.

    Once he is doing well with a variety of "scary" noises you can use a similar approach to taking him outside (or even at the same time as the noise desensitization).  Progressively reward for getting closer and closer to the door and eventually for being outside.

    It sounds like it will be a long road but with three older kids who are old enough to help you can spread the short training sessions around and everyone can take part!  Good luck I hope some of this works for you!

     

    • Also... if he has normal poops and hasn't shown any food sensitivities you could use really tempting treats like tiny pieces of plain cooked chicken or cheese just for the fear reaction training.  My Riley only gets cheese when she is being groomed or we are teaching her to be calm with visitors so it is a "special" treat.

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