Dr. Ben Willcocks

Pet Expert

Ask An Expert

Rescue puppy terrified of lead and being picked up 

Dear Dr Willcocks,

I hope this email finds you well!

We recently adopted a now 14-week old labrador x kelpie.

He is a gorgeous boy but is also incredibly shy. It has taken him a few weeks to get comfortable just with his new home and with us. he has come along in leaps and bounds and now loves to play chasings, tug-of-war and sit on the couch for a cuddle. However one thing that has not changed is his hatred both of the lead and of being picked up. He is also quite shy around new people, although loves other dogs.

This obviously makes it difficult for us to take him anywhere or really start to socialise him. Do you have any suggestions for us?

Thanks so much,


Answered Thursday 17 July 2014

Hi Amanda, 

Sounds like he has a lot of kelpie in him :) Hopefully the labrador he has in him has a taste for treats? Treats will now be your new friend. Have your friends and strangers give your pup treats whenever they can to get him used to the idea that strangers have a positive association. 

Do the same thing with all things he's currently struggling with, being on the lead, being around other people, and so on. Have a read of this article, it may help!!

Dr Ben

(If you don’t get a response back, pop your comments/question as a thread on the Vetico forums, and a team of Vets will help you out.)

Pet Expert

Dr. Ben Willcocks

Ben Willcocks believes you can never learn too much about your pet.

More Questions & Answers

bad puppy  

Hi Rashana,  It's not unusual for young beagles to do this, destructive behaviour isn't overly unusual. It can reflect any number of things, including boredom, anxiety and stress.... Read more


Hi Chris,  Great question. This article should answer your question,   Dr Ben (If you don’t get a resp... Read more


Hi Erica,    It'a not unusual for staffies to suffer from separation anxiety. Have a read of this article, it may help you a bit. Read more

Scared of the ride-on mower 

Hi Matt,  That's a tough one. Can you leave the ride on mower out for a while, and feed him near it? Then over time, as he gets used to it, you can try turning the mower on during feed... Read more

Office dog 

Hi Mel,  Great question. Can you tell me a bit more about the work, how much space will your dog have? Will it be loud? Will there be other pets there? Generally speaking, if you want a la... Read more

Spoodle puppy is biting 

Hi Jane,  Tough one. You are certainly doing everything right with respect to positive reinforcement conditioning training. A behaviouralist seems like the natural next step. I'm not v... Read more

Cat with litter box issues 

Hi Linda,  At this age, i'd suggest you have him examined by a Vet. Has he had bloods done recently, and had a full physical examination? Before you go down the path of assuming it'... Read more

Obsessive behaviour  

Hi Jodi,  Unfortunately, I don't have any great solutions for you. There are a number of training specialists on the following forum, i'd suggest you post your question and you may... Read more

sulphur crested cockatoo 

Hi Tania,  Have you taken him into the Vet clinic to have him examined? If he was on the road wandering around, he may have been injured, or may be sick. in which case, you can have a vet... Read more

Cat agressive behaviour  

Hi Renee,  Sounds like re-directed aggression or stress. Have a read of the following article, and if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to leave them in the comments... Read more


Sign Out

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.