I have questions about my Papillon's temperment. He was adopted from a local rescue group whose founding member I have known for over 20 years. He's a beautiful dog; loving 99% of the time & so much comfort after we lost our family pet (small, but not a papillon) after 13 years of unconditional love. About all we know of him is they believe he came from Abingdon, Va., which I have heard is also rumored to be a puppy-mill area. We were told he was 2; however my vet believes him to be probably 3-4, and he was unneutered when we adopted him. I confess I'm a petter at heart-I loved to pet & stroke my previous pet, and also my new papillon; however I've noticed that when I get home from work, he's so excited to see me, but if I reach for him to pet, especially with both hands(gently of course - one hand on each side), he cringes, cries & appears scared to death! He does have someone at home with him during the day (a grown daughter), and he loves her as well. He kind of has to calm down & approach you before he relaxes enough to let you pet him. Is this breed truly skittish, or so fragile that it hurts him to be petted? I'm not petting anywhere near hard; certainly not like you would pet a big dog. I thought perhaps this may be a sign of earlier abuse; the fact that he is an adult unneutered male from this area of the country made me wonder if he could be a puppy-mill type breeding dog. Any information would be helpful. Thanks so much!
It does sound to me like he is exhibiting behavour of a previously abused animal. I am not a dog expert, but in my experience with dogs, that is one of the tell tale signs. I would suggest not approching him with 2 hands above his head. Kneel down and bring one hand towards him under his chin so he doesn't associate it with a violent gesture. Let him approach the hand before you touch him, just like you would approach a strange dog. Let him smell and lick your hand, and then pat him on the side of the face. You may have to do this for a while until he is used to you and trusts you completly. He may never be comfortable being approched above the head. This is something you will have to learn and get to know together. I am not sure if papillions are extra sensitive to touch. I can't see it, but I'm sure there are others on here more familiar with the breed that could answer that one better than I.
my sister and my aunt both have pappillons my sisters dog wont even come near me he doesnt liked to be touched there are some people he will go to my aunts dog is the opposit she will lick my face like crazy my sisters dog is very skittish how long have you had yours just be patient with him