We have a 2 ½ year old Golden Retriever (Tessa) who is scared/nervous about almost everything especially when she is out of her comfort zone. When we saw her with her litter mates she preferred to be off on her own. She was the one I wanted and each time we saw her before bringing her home she was the only one that I held. She has bonded with me but not so much that if I/we leave she doesn’t panic.
She seems to lack self confidence and she doesn’t know what is expected of her or what we expect of her. She rarely walks with her tail up. She tends to get hugely excited when our kids and grand-kids come home to visit although she does settle down within a short time and a ball helps to distract her. If you happen to leave the room and come back 5 minutes later she thinks she hasn’t seen you in forever and just gets happy all over again. She has a habit of putting her paw on you when you stop patting her and seems to want to be the center of attention but is not rowdy. She seems to need the reassurance that she is loved or liked.
She is almost more ball motivated rather than food motivated. I don’t know how she is with other dogs as we don’t go to dog parks. She growls at some as we walk passed others not so much. People going by also make her nervous.
2 month later
Just to let you know things went well with the kids again today as Tessa concentrates more on her ball than anything else. I give her her ball the minute she comes out of the crate and it is WOW lets play and she doesn't even think of the kids. She may go over and say Hello but then it is right back to playing. It even went fairly well when Eric came to pick up the kids and since she already had her ball there was way less barking. I think letting her have her ball the whole time is the thing to do. There was even a couple of times when I thought Tess was bothering Mackenzie and Mackenzie let me know Tess wasn't bothering her and there has been no pawing either that I have seen. It has been a peaceful couple of weeks.
Now that I understand her better it is way easier to see how to handle situations. I know we still have a long way to go and with working on her self confidence both outside the house and inside the house she is already a changed girl and I see/feel a difference in her body language. I also realize that I need to take her out of her comfort zone which will happen in time. She has learned so much in such a short time that it just blows me over.