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Sheltie is afraid of people.

Species: Dog
Breed: sheltie
Age: 1-2 years
I have a one year old female Sheltie. she is very nervous around people. She was outgoing but now she is scared of people. She will hide, shake and try to run away when she sees people. Are all shelties like this? can she get better or will she always be shy? I want a dog people can pet, not a dog that will run away.I was told to put her down. is there anything she can take to calm her fears?
thanks


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, poor Lily. I have seen a number of Shelties that are quite timid, but I have also seen some who have come out of their shyness after some good training.

There are no guarantees but I would wager that Lily can become a sociable dog!

You have a few options in trying to help her. One option would be to set up a behavioral consult either with your vet, or with a veterinary behavioral specialist. The vet can work with you one on one and set up a plan to help you retrain Lily.

I think one of the most important parts of treatment will be to make sure that Lily has only positive reinforcement and is never ever punished for anything.

We need to find something she loves such as praise, treats, a special type of food, or a ball. Then, we reward all social activity with this type of reward.

The other thing that may help is to enroll her in some obedience classes. If you do, check with the class teacher first to see if they are willing to take a dog who has fears like Lily does.

Your vet may choose to help Lily with some medication. A medication that I think would really help her is something called Clomicalm. It is an anti-anxiety medication that is really good for dogs. Some dogs are a little sedated at first when taking clomicalm, but usually they overcome the sedation after a few days.

I have had some clients swear by a product called Rescue Remedy to help calm an anxious dog, but I am not convinced it is really helpful.

It's hard for me to say without examining Lily, but I really doubt that she needs to be put down!

Please consider seeing your vet or having your vet refer you to a behavioral specialist. There are lots of things that can be done. The specifics are more than what I can get into online as I usually spend at least an hour in an appointment with a patient like this.

I really hope she improves soon!

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

are shelties a bad breed? Are they all fearful? She is a great little dog and very smart but I wish she would approach people. should I bring her places like petco and parks? should people approach her?
if I get her a playmate, what are some breeds that are outgoing and like everyone?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

No, not all Shelties are fearful, but many of them are.

I think before you bring her to places like parks you should consider some of the training options mentioned above. If she gets too fearful you may do more harm than good.

If you have people approach her, I would try it first with a friend who is very quiet and non-intimidating. Have them approach slowly and not make eye contact. If Lily is scared, then tell the person not to approach her but rather let Lily decide to sniff them out.

Regarding a playmate, if you do so, make sure you get a dog who is easy going. Another sheltie may be a good possibility.

I hope that helps!

Dr. Marie.



Customer reply:

why are shelties fearful? are labs easy going?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I don't know that anyone could tell you why some shelties are fearful. It's just the way they are!

No, labs are not an easy going breed. By "easy going" I mean not an excitable dog and lower energy. Labs are quite the opposite, very high energy!!!



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.