I am trying to keep up with sharing the different things I am doing to help Nibbles learn to be comfortable with people. He’s a fairly solid little dog. He doesn’t have general anxiety or any phobias. It would seem that he is just lacking experience with people and the things people do with dogs, like put leashes on them and take them for walks or reach out to pet them or pick them up (the curse of small dogs). He’s had some experience so he’s not totally freaked out by humans, but not enough to immediately feel good about us.
Darting away or startling is a hard habit to break. For a dog like Nibs it’s practically a reflex. Heck, it may even BE a reflex. I want to give Nibs many opportunities to experience me reaching for him and NOT darting away. He can always move away if he chooses to, and sometimes he does. But he can also choose to move closer to me, and he does that too.
Most of the time when I am walking around the house Nibbles follows me and I ignore him. If I have to move in his direction I give him time to move away and turn my body slightly away from him so he doesn’t feel the need to flee. If I am sitting on the floor he will come up behind me and I can reach back and give his ears and chest a rub. I’d love to catch that on video.