I have a 4 yr-old Papillon mix -- not sure if he is full pap, as he is slightly longer than the typical, but looks exactly like a pap in every other way. Found him on the side of a country road in Ohio in middle of winter -puppy mill territory - he was 4 lbs when found. Told he was probably "dumped" off a truck heading for a mill or auction. Breaks my heart. When found he was undernourished but very healthy. Has been living a wonderful life since then. Problem is, when he reached @6-month of age, he became extremely skittish, very anxious and untrusting. Doesn't like to be held unless he feels threatened or is in a new environment. He backs away when I want to pet him, is afraid of strangers. Loves the neighbors, and will run to them, but backs away when they try to pet him. I can't trust him with anyone but my immediate family, for fear he will bite. If anyone tries to pet him he literally "SCREAMS" in fear that he will be hurt. What could be causing this behavior????
How did you socialize him when he was younger? Puppies go through 2 fear periods in their lives. The 1st one is around 4-6 months of age. It is also possible that he was a puppymill pup in which case his temperament may be due to poor breeding and there won't be too much you can do to overcome that.
Sounds like you will need a combination approach with him. A 1 on 1 with a behaviorist and a couple rounds of an anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax. It is such a shame he is going through this. It breaks my heart that these guys feel this way because they are missing out on the wonderful aspects of life when they are living in fear.
Thanks for the reply. What is the second period of fear? My pap was very outgoing and loving in the beginning, but once the "fear factor" set in at @6 months, he never really changed. He loves to play and is very active and literally follows me everywhere -- I know he is very attached and loves me, as he drapes himself over me when I sit or go to bed, however he doesn't care to be held, or even petted. He is friendly with the neighbors, he interacts with others well, he just doesn't want them to touch him. It seems he is always in fear of being hurt or even hit in someway. He has NEVER been touched in anger since we found him. He was 2 months old when found. I think he may have been separated from his mother way too soon, but I don't know any history prior to finding him.
I can tell u one thing that it is sad. I have a good tip for u it's worth a try!! Get a treat in ur one hand and stick ur other hand flat in front of him and say the command touch just repeat that until he touches his nose to ur hand than reward him this is best for home meeting new people since he is so small don't worry about him biting this is a good exercise to work on it will build his trust to u and will hopefully trust u to come to u in the future if he does not take to touching ur hand them move ur hand from flat in front of him then touch his nose with it and reward him but then do that until he knows that touching u will be a rewarding instead of fear he will soon take to saying the word touch then him just going himself and touching ur hand!! Good luck wish the best!! Remember to always put ur dog first!!