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Hi - just graduated out of the puppy forum first post here.

Ruby is 15 months old and we took her on her first vacation to a dog friendly hotel in Vermont. We noticed that she was very reluctant to meet new people while on vacation. Perhaps it was because she was in a strange place, but it was definately worse than usual.

Lots of new people would try to pet her/say hello and most of the time she would sulk and put her tail between her legs. Even with the bellhop, who she saw three/four times during the stay, she was slowly warming up to him (perhaps it was the uniforms?). I was even giving people treats to try to bribe her, but even with that she was very hesitant. We are worried that this could turn into her biting someone if she feels threatened. Back home she gets excited and loves the attention when she sees familar neighbors while going for walks. Meeting new people at home was mostly lie down on her back (which may also be too submissive); occasionaly she would shy away, especially from men [definately never abused from any men - we've had her since she was 8 weeks old]

When she was a pup we tried to have meet as many people/dogs as possible by taking her everywhere (i.e., daughter's school, walking trails). Is this an inherited trait? We are going to keep an eye on her now that we just got back and see how she does.

Any suggestions? I assume I should just be taking her to more public places. Just don't want to forc it on her and make her more scared.

thanks
 

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How much formal training have you done with her? One way to build confidence is through teaching her new skills. Obedience, rally, agility etc. can all help give her more confidence.
 

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Fearful does have a large genetic component. In fact, it is said that you can't tell all that much about a dog based on their behaviour at 8 weeks, except level of fear.

Do you know what the parents were like?
 

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I got her from a reputable breeder. Not sure what the father is like, but I do remember meeting her mother and she was as sweet and friendly as can be.

The only concerns I have is that we did get her kind of early (7 weeks), and since the parents were under boarding contracts, I'm not so sure how long the breeder kept the mother with the litter.

As for formal training, we only took her to puppy kindergarten. She was terrible with other dogs during the class - she wanted nothing to do with them (lots of growling). Thankfully she is now better with other dogs (most of the time).

I practice commands with her, but could be more diligent. She also has plenty of excercise. I typically take her to a local conservation area where she can run free along the trials about 5 times a week.
 

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I would recommend maybe setting up some time for her to have 1x1 interactions with "strangers" (i.e., maybe a cousin, an old friend, neighbors, people she hasn't met before) and take it really slowly. Don't force her to meet your friend, but maybe go on a walk and have your friend encounter you on your walk. Have you friend have some treats that she can give to your dog when your dog approaches her. I'm not a trainer so this is just kind of something I'm making up, but I have a dog that is fearful of other dogs, so I'm looking at this from that standpoint. You want your dog to associate good things with other people.

my guess is she was probably in a kennel and didn't have a lot of interaction with people. The good thing about goldens is it's in their blood to love people! I'm sure as she continues to live with you and meet new people that she will warm up over time. :)
 
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