Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
Our Bruno is timid with some things too. He does submissive peeing when he meets someone new and when we meet new things on our walks he just sits right down. Fear of the car also. Our trainer said worst thing to do is the treats and training which of course you want to do because you feel bad but she said it is actually showing the dog a reward for the behavior you don't want! Made sense when she said it. She said don't coddle, don't yell, just be firm and basically keep them moving in the direction you want them to go and no petting or praise until they have done what you want them to do. Good luck!
My understanding is that dogs naturally fear the new/unknown.
I too tried to cajole and coax my dog into experiencing new things. It hasn't worked. The suggestion I got was to "be". Lead them up to the experience then when they become weary, just stop and let them become curious. No talking, no petting. If they get "stuck", use a smelly high-value treat to lure them closer.
I used this method on one of the Labradoodles I had pulled from a nasty kill shelter in Texas. He refused to come into the house. So I just waited till he was curious about where I was or what I was doing. We took it very slow. Lured in inches by boiled chicken. Once we got across the threshold he got the JACKPOT of chicken. Second time is easier than the first, third easier than the second, etc.
Above is the link to the quick explanation of the game called "Look at that " game. This was given to me from Charlie's trainer. She was the same exact way since she was a young puppy.... We want to make sure that, fear and anxiety toward to new people does not turn into fear aggression. ( That was my concern ) This "Look at that " game tells you to click and reward the second your dog looks at the stimuli she / he does not care for. It sounds like it doesn't make sense at first. But eventually, your dog will figure out the stimuli ( New people, dogs, etc...) is OK, and as long as she/he focuses on the owner, there will be nothing to be worry about.
I hope this is helpful to you ....