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New Bernedoodle puppy much more shy and timid than expected, how best to structure and manage to ensure she feels safe and happy

by Luke
(Sydney, Australia)

Hi there - thank you for this forum to ask questions. I've had dogs before, and some complicated rescues, but each one is a unique journey.

We are the proud parents to a now 10-week old Bernedoodle F1B puppy (named Stevie, after Stevie Nicks). She has been to the vet for a check-up and all is well, and we have started puppy school whilst we wait on her to be vaccinated and able to socialise with the world fully, but she has become a very shy and timid in her first two weeks with us.

We are trying to ensure consistency in her homelife, regular meal times, a safe den, regular and positively reinforced training (including crate training), and lots of love. We want to support Stevie to become a happy and confident puppy, and set her up for success in adolescence and adulthood, so any advice would be welcomed. Particularly any advice from other Bernedoodle owners, with the nature vs. nurture balance at play.

Thanks in advance,
Luke

Hi Luke,
Congratulations on your new addition, Stevie looks absolutely adorable and I'm sure you're both going to enjoy your life together!

As I'm sure you know, the early weeks in a new home can be pretty stressful for puppies. Obviously some are less phased by it than others, due to their individual personalities. They also all handle it differently.

Some puppies become very clingy, others just want to sleep and hide from this new world, others can become anxious or rambunctious. Some pups also take longer than others to adjust, but whatever the behavior, the response from us should always be the same... and is exactly what you're already doing.

Routine, structure, a calm loving environment with both affection and space, exercise and rest... these are the bedrock that a puppy builds on.

At this point I would just say to continue what you're doing and to remain calm and loving in all situations and interactions. Stevie will need to go at her own pace in terms of becoming acclimated to new things, people and situations. It's important to give her the opportunity to socialize and interact, but never push her out of her comfort zone. Reward confident social behavior and accept everything else without judgement. As her self confidence increases so will her social skills and her boldness.

Large breed puppies mature MUCH more slowly than smaller breeds, so she is still very much a baby and needs to take baby steps.

Bernedoodles are known for their loving, friendly and loyal characteristics... as well as a touch of stubborness :) I am sure your little girl will come into her own and you'll start to see her personality shine over the coming weeks and months. She is very lucky to have a family who is understanding, loving and looking to give her the best possible start so that she can become the very best she can be! It bodes very well for your relationship and I wish you all the very best of luck.

If you have any specific issues moving forward feel free to get back in touch and I will help if I possibly can.

Best of luck, and thank you for visiting my site.
~ Sue

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