Reader Question: My puppy was happy, fearless, and friendly when I got him. Now he seems shy. He doesn’t meet new people easily and seems afraid of things that didn’t scare him before. My puppy’s behavior has completely changed! What’s going on?
First, since it’s a puppy, I always recommend a vet checkup to rule out anything physical. Sometimes illness can be the cause behind changes in puppy behavior.
If he gets a clean bill of health, then it may be a phase that puppies sometimes go through. Don’t worry though, when puppy behavior shifts from outgoing to reserved, there are things you can do to increase your dog’s confidence.
Be encouraging. When he shows that he’s afraid, pair that with something positive.
For example, if he’s afraid of a loud noise, be positive and toss a toy to play with or a treat to eat and see if he responds. Jolly him out of it.
Be matter of fact, don’t play into his new puppy behavior. Treat it as a non-event and go on with the day. Most puppies recover quickly. A phase like this usually lasts 1-3 weeks and you should start to see your happy go-lucky puppy again.
As a guideline, if by any chance your puppy doesn’t recover from a scare in a few minutes or isn’t coming out of a shy phase, you need to talk to a behavior professional.
Plus, this week we have this excellent infographic from our friends over at theuncommondog.com with some great tips for keeping your dog cool during these hot summer months!