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Old 10-10-2011, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Kansas
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It seems many of the dogs at the shelter are classed as "shy". This usually sends up a red flag and the warnings about "shy" dogs will abound. What I see though is certain breeds in particular are "reserved", a sort of caution just related to the traits of a certain breed (of course, it is obvious that the dog(s) I want fall in this category of being classed "shy"). I have seen other members of the breed in family situations and that is just the way the dog normally acts at least when someone outside the family is around. The dogs at the shelter that aren't consider "shy" would probably run you down and leave paw prints and wet, slobbery kisses from head to toe. How to chose?
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Old 10-10-2011, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Land of debt and Corruption
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It is really difficult to determine the temperment of a dog in a shelter situation. Dogs in shelters behave very differently than they would in a home setting. Shelters are loud, high stress, artificial environments with different faces walking through all of the time. What may appear to be a shy or reserved dog could very well be boisterous and outgoing outside of the shelter. So many shelters are understaffed and underfunded to the point where they aren't able to do any sort of temperment testing other than quick observation of a dog. You're able to ascertain a lot more information about a dog on Petfinder since they typically are being fostered in a home. Some shelters also post on Petfinder too though.
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Old 10-10-2011, 07:59 AM
 
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100% agree with WYS. I don't know how do shelters work there, but sometimes they've got a free place for unleashing the dog and stay with him to see how it really works.

I'm specialized in that kind of dogs, I work with them to be a nice dog for any person willing to adopt. It's just a matter of giving them an opportunity, and if you can count on an specialist help, even better!

In most cases, dogs are shy just because they are there. As soon as they get into a house or a park, their mood changes! I'd give them an opportunity for sure
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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I would ask the people at the shelter about any particular dog, since different people may use words a little differently. Some might use shy and reserved interchangeably. To me, shy means timid on meeting new people (which might just mean you have to pet the dog on the head twice for them to warm up, or might mean they are very skittish and would need a lot of work). Reserved, to me, means a dog that's just not a kissy, lap-sitting type, more of an independent personality.
As the others said, a dog may have a lot more confidence when it gets out of a shelter and into a home. And dogs just newly brought to a shelter may be very afraid and timid at first, then relax once they settle into the routine a bit.
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:49 PM
 
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It's hard to know exactly what they'll end up being like, because the shelter situation is so different from a home environment. When I adopted Shiloh, I was looking for an older, calm dog. He was young, and at the shelter he was quite rambunctious. I gave him a chance anyway, and within a couple of days he became one of the calmest and most well-behaved dogs I have ever known.
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Old 10-10-2011, 04:35 PM
 
Location: In the middle...
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Default You just never know...

People use the words differently.

Ask to take the dog into a fenced area or for a walk (whatever they allow.) Give the animal an opportunity to shine. In the shelter, it is stuck in a cage and really who can be their best in THAT situation?

When I adopted Diesel at the shelter this summer...My boy just looked at me with those eyes the color of honey, pleading for the chance to get out. (Of course, he was an escape artist at his last gig...but that didn't stop me.) He had me at, hello...and those eyes, oh those eyes. I melted when he licked my hand through the bars.

Mind you, this is before I got him into the open area. I just wanted to spend time with him. I knew he would not be for most. He wasn't for a novice or a first time owner. He would have to be "managed." He would need leadership or he would lead. He's a bully, my boy...and it was love at first sight.

Oh, he acted all quiet and "reserved" in the cage...I asked the dog walker if he was "needy" he said and I quote, "no, he could take it or leave it." The man did not know what he was talking about. For two reasons.

1. They do not have enough time to get to know each animal, although my boy had been there for seven months. (Blew my mind...and it wasn't because people didn't want to adopt him, many did...just not the right person. I have to give props to the shelter for holding on to him, not many shelters would or could have.)
2. He (the dog walker) was intimidated by my boy. He's a big bully. I laugh because, he's such a big baby, trust me when I say, he's a mama's boy!

Point being, they don't always know if the dog is really shy or reserved. Maybe the dog has just "shut down" because it's in the shelter and freaked out?

My boy was rather calm in the cage, mostly indifferent. Probably from all of the people walking by. Not too many stopping. Again, some stopped. Some well meaning, some not well meaning. I can probably guess the conversations he heard. Most the men loved his "look" he's a beautiful bully. Most (not all) the women would be afraid. Some of the men would want him but would be intimidated by him and would want to "rule" him with an iron fist, not understanding who he is. Although he needs a firm hand, he does not need an iron fist...and there is a huge difference. (He's very sensitive.)

He is not the dog I met at the shelter. He is certainly not the dog, the dog walker described. He is better, he is beautiful...and I cannot imagine my life without him!!!

Yes, he's a mama's boy and a complete love bug. To look at him, you would never know...but then, I busted him out of county - jail and who wouldn't want to show a little love for that?

P.S. A couple of weeks ago, we were out in the backyard taking care of business one evening, the entire block was in an uproar over what I do not know but all the dogs were telling a story...Diesel begins this bark I've never heard out of him (warning, protective) with a guttural growl in between barks. As I pick my jaw up off the ground I begin to record this sound coming out of him (I am in shock but excited.) My other dog is doing the same bark/growl ten feet away at the fence, Diesel is standing next to me. The dog next door is barking away...the neighborhood is barking away...

That night, I walked back in the house...and never felt safer with my two-dog alert system. Springing him out of county lock-up, now that was money well spent!!!
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