Blue Heeler Puppy
(Saint Helens, Oregon)
My blue Heeler puppy (Maddi) is almost 6 months old and timid. she has never been abused and and has been loved her whole life. I also have her mom who was timid at first but has seemed to get a little better.
I am trying to train Maddi but even when it comes to the simplest training like sitting I will hold a treat up and say sit she immediately lays down and rolls on her back as if she thinks she is in trouble.
I made sure I didn't have a disciplining voice and she does this with everyone. What do I do or how do i properly help her work out of this habit?
It sounds as though your pup just has a very submissive personality, and as her mom is the same way (albeit a bit bolder) it's probable that this is an inherited characteristic.
It doesn't sound as though she's excessively fearful, or that her fear makes her aggressive or defensive, just submissive and that is okay.
You're already doing the right things it will just take extra time and patience to help your puppy gain confidence. Always be firm but kind, and only use positive rewards - over time this will help eliminate her submissive attitude to your commands. Whenever she succeeds at something, no matter how small, make sure she gets lots of praise and a reward - when she feels that she has done something 'good' it will help her to feel more confident in herself.
Although you don't mention submissive urination as an issue, some of the ways in which to approach a dog who is very submissive are similar to those mentioned on this page ... Dog Submissive Urination. The idea of crouching down to her level when greeting her etc. (rather than towering over her) should make it less likely that she'll roll over belly-up every time!
Just be consistent, patient and loving and your pup will eventually become braver and more self-confident. I'd also recommend talking with a professional trainer about enrolling her in a basic puppy obedience class. It would probably help you both and more socialization will be good for your pup. Do make sure to let the trainer know that your pup is a bit nervous and timid though, so that he/she knows what to expect.
Hope this helps, best of luck.