The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

My puppy is scared of people

I brought springer pup from a trials breeder. I was told it was a little stand-offish but the pup is petrified of people - it panics whenever it sees someone approach. How can I deal with this?

Originally published June 2007
PETER BLATCH says: This type of behaviour is not uncommon among pups’ of this age – especially those which have not been humanised and have led something of a pressured and sheltered life in a kennel.

The best way to deal with this is to get the pup out as much as possible, and among people.
Village market days are great meeting places, so too are garden fetes where there are a lots of children to say hello to. Name of the game is to start socialising! Game and country fairs are also a good bet. I do not always recommend dragging a pup around such get-togethers, but I might make exceptions in cases like this, as long as the weather isn’t hot.

I am all for kennelling dogs outside but a pup like this should be brought indoors whenever someone is at home during the day. Only in this way will it get used to people being about, and visitors. The very worst thing you can do is shut such a pup away in the kennel for long periods of time without seeing anybody.

If you’re not there during the day then a kennel companion would also be a good idea – but only as long as it does not bully her.