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Fearful puppy?

Species: Dog
Breed: sheltie
Age: Less than 3 mon
I just adopted a new puppy from a man who owned a farm. he had a few dogs and they had puppies. I took the puppy home and was very excited to have her. I recently took her to my vet and the vet picked her up, the puppy struggled to get away, once down on the ground, the vet tried to pet the puppy and the puppy backed away. the vet told me this is a bad sign and that the puppy will be fearful her whole life. the vet told me that puppies should go up to everyone and I shoould return her. She is only 9 weeks old. Is it normal for puppies to be scared of people? Will this puppy be fearful and shy because she is acting scared now?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that your first vet visit wasn't the nicest experience.

While we can never say for sure what a pup is going to turn out like, we can usually get some clues when a puppy is young. Most puppies for their first vet visit are either trying to kiss and play with me or they are mostly sleeping. I do tend to get concerned when I have a puppy that is acting fearful of me.

With that being said, it may not be too late. We believe that dogs learn their socialization skills in the first 12 weeks of life. So, if this was my puppy I would do all I could to give her great social experiences. Make sure she has lots of exposure to people and that she has good experiences with them. Get friends to come over and give her treats. When she is having these experiences be sure never to reprimand her or punish her in any way. We want her to think that people are GREAT!

If you have friends with dogs that you know are vaccinated and healthy then try to introduce them to your new one. Again, you want to do all you can to make it fun for her.

No one can tell you how your pup will turn out but her behavior at the vet's office is a bit of a red flag. I really hope she turns out to be ok!

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:

the puppy is also scared of noises and some objects. I try to make them fun for her with treats and acting happy. is being scared of noises normal for a puppy? what is normal for a puppy? and what is not normal?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

That's tough to answer. I suppose some noises would be scary to any animal, but a normal pup wouldn't be too upset about regular every day noises.



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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.