Puppy scared of us after a week already

  • We have a 6 month old that we have had for a week now and she is not warming up to us much at all. Strangest puppy I have ever seen. It is a bit interesting that she will cuddle with us if sitting in chair/on lap but otherwise is terrified of both me and my wife (no kids, no other dogs, no other pets or humans around).

    Here is the bad:

    • If she is loose in house or outside she just finds a hiding place (behind couch, under stuff in the yard) and wont come out ever until we catch her
    • She runs away if we are walking around close to her even if ignoring her
    • Just sits in crate in morning and does not want to come out
    • Not eating too much. She does eat and drink enough to not be major concern, but no motivation for her to walk to her bowl. Sometimes I have to bring it to her after I know it has been way too long or move bowls far away from us where she might be more comfortable eating
    • No real energy. She just wants to sit in her crate, or on our lap/chair/bed we put her in. She does not roam around much at all on her own.
    • Not curious about anything …. just wants to hide. Was worried she would be tearing everything up but she does not do much if any exploring, sniffing around, or playing with anything
    • Several different toys do nothing for her
    • No interest in a treat ... I eventually just leave it in her crate and she will slowly eat it (would think would gobble it up). No care for human food either (just out of curiosity to see if anything would entice her).
    • When she is running away from us can tell she is a fit and healthy puppy but otherwise she does not even know that she can jump up on couch or even jump down. We basically have to carry here anywhere we go once we catch her and put her down.
    • No real response to calling her name or any other noises dogs usually react to
    • Has no real interest to go outside. We leave the door open to yard and she rarely goes out. We have to catch her and pick her up to put her outside. She does roam around a bit outside but always very skittish.
    • Several pet beds sitting inside and out and she has no desire to sit in them on her own. She prefers the dirt outside under something and the carpet behind something inside.

    The good:

    • No aggression at all. She is like a shy cat. She does not want to be picked up but once we do she does not really try to escape never less bite, etc. so she has some trust
    • She is great after we catch her and put her on our lap. She will just sit there and rest her head on our hand, etc. No problem going to sleep next to us but second put her back down on floor the skittishness starts all over again.
    • On rare occasion she will follow me around a little in yard or house if I ignore her, not make eye contact, and not say anything but almost never gets within 5 feet of us before running away again and hiding.
    • She does not get extremely scared of loud noises, etc. rather she is just scared all the time so I don't think it is "events" causing this.
    • She sleep in crate, dog bed, chair, etc. just fine

    I think she might be missing her sister and she did take a plane flight to us that might have really shook her up but I thought only a couple days would start to see some better signs. At this rate I am thinking it will take a month minimum as not much progress

    I was hoping not to get a Basenji that was not too crazy and tearing things up, but this is a little extreme and don't like her being scared so much!

    Is the ignore her and let her do her thing to force her to need us at some point, try to keep her out of her crate and somewhat force her to be around us as much as possible to build trust, or a mix the best approach? I am basically doing a mix currently. I have never used dog crate so t bothers me a lot she is in there so much on her own, at night, and when we go to work.

    Not sure she is ready for her new walking harness (Ruff Wear Webmaster), but maybe walking is exactly what I need to do to build a relationship. I would already be doing this but briefly tried a leash on her a few days ago as was all I had (yes, I am aware not the greatest solution) and she freaked out so I know any restraint is not going to come anything close to natural to her so worried of a setback if try the harness too.

    Thanks for any help!

  • Update: She is making progress. Was making almost no progress for a while but found she just likes to be out and about so getting out of house was first step. Initial turning point was when had to take to vet for first exam. I think the smell of other dogs was comforting and being around female humans also seems to help. The harness has been great as she hates regular collars and freaks out. Now I can walk her which she likes but she is still a little nervous and more of a follower than a leader. She also started to do better on her own when leaving her outside during the day (somewhat risky step but has worked with her). The biggest discovery is she is WAY better when another K9 is around. She loves to interact with another dog and for some reason this also makes her much more comfortable with human's being around too since I assume she sees the other dog is not scared. This led us to get another basenji puppy and she in just a few days is making dramatic improvements. She was also recently diagnosed with Generalized Demodectic Mange which we now realize had started prior to us getting her, so it makes me wonder if this is also a major contributor to her being skittish ... not sure this really makes sense but if she was not comfortable in general or there is an underlying immunity issue still working itself out could lead to behavior changes/issues. Luckily it was recently discovered that Bravecto is very good at fighting this and in just a couple days I can see improvements in her coat/skin. Hopefully resolving this issue and the new puppy will continue to help her make her better in all aspects.

  • What is her background? Did you get her from a rescue or what? Sounds like perhaps a pup that has spent most of her life in a kennel and not been socialized at all, which would account for her being comfortable around other dogs but not humans.

  • That is what I would ask also, where did she come from since your first post says she was flown in.... What do you know about the breeder? Hopefully she was DNA tested for Fanconi and PRA

  • First, wow first time I saw your post from 2 mos ago. The old forum really had notification issues so please don't think people didn't care... they probably missed it. Hopefully the new format is helping.

    As for >>She was also recently diagnosed with Generalized Demodectic Mange which we now realize had started prior to us getting her<<

    Sadly, I have way too much experience with mange thanks to fostering/rescue. ALL dogs who nurse have mites. So yes, your dog had the mites. But if there was mange, you'd have seen signs pretty fast. An actual occurrence can show up prior to a year... which is when it HAS mange. Again, until an actual outbreak, all dogs have the mites. So if she arrived without patches, then the breeder had no way of knowing it would happen. (unless irresponsible breeder who knows their dogs have an issue) Some dogs who in adulthood have severe stress/autoimmune issues/sick can also develop it.

    QUOTE: >> It is not uncommon for nursing puppies to become infected with this eight-legged skin parasite during the first two to three days of life. The mites can be passed from the mother to the nursing puppies because the puppies have weak and underdeveloped immune systems that allow the mites to overgrow, causing occasional localized patches of hair loss, redness and scaling.<<

    Generalized Demodectic Mange is a sign of immune issues. If this puppy came from a responsible breeder, they need to know. If no signs before, it may really be stress related outbreak and not really generalized (which as this article explains, is defined by, though I'm sure your vet knows. Either way, the breeder needs to know because there are genetic components. Here is a great article.

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