A shy dog is a rewarding, frustrating, victorious and sometimes sad pleasure and responsibility. How's that for the real deal?? I had no idea, myself.
Hope, our first, was-and is-playful and loving and a kisser who will not be ignored. She wants to please and loves everyone.
We got Ruby (she was part of a litter of 3 and she is the only shy one) when she was 14 weeks old and today, at 2 years old, she is still shy and fearful. She is our best bred of the 3 and her breeder outstanding. She was not abused in any way.
With a ton of patience, training, behaviorists and STRUCTURE we have really helped her cope with situations, people and circumstances. She has made BIG improvement even if it is only noticeable to us. She is who she is. She will never be Hope. She will not ever even be LIKE Hope. The way I look at it, having each be so different is part of the fun. What fun would it be if you had several dogs who were all exactly alike? There would be no point. One would be enough, then.
The best advice that I can give is this. DO NOT try so hard. Go on with your day, your life, your routine and he will come around. If he feels you hovering, stressing and worrying, that will only stress and worry him and take it from me, that will not aid him at all in coming around. Believe it or not, he will not feel ignored. He is likely to feel less pressured.
Shy, fearful dogs relish in routine and structure. Start doing the same things at the same time and in the same manner. He will get comfort from the predictable.
If you offer both treats and he does not readily take his, do not coax nor impose. Simply say, "Okay. Maybe you might try a treat later". If you offer again the next day and he does not again, say it again. Chis are smart. He will catch on and he will take it eventually. I would not hand feed, toss food on the floor or other games to get him to eat. You will then be doing that a lifetime and you have not taught him to manage himself.
I recognize that not everyone wishes a shy, fearful dog. I'd not have chosen the path if I knew. If the pressure is too overwhelming, I would take him back. If you are up for a challenge that promises reward and victory paired with your hard work, please keep him.
I just cannot stress enough that if you wish to try, you have to give him LOTS more time than you have had him thus far and you need to just carry on with life. You will be more comfortable and he will relax.
From where I sit, now more than a year and a half later, I can tell you that it was worth it!!