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Scared Dog walking

May 16th, 2004, 11:20 PM
Hi All, I rescued a 8 week old Kelpi X (6months ago). she was a abused, scared puppy (spent the first 5 weeks of her life totally in a box). We have had loads of problems with her, submissive weeing, cowering at people, hiding etc.. Most of these problems are nearly gone. My main problem at the moment is she is scared when walking, of trucks, cars, people, garage doors etc.... so we get 5 meters out of the house and she starts panting and making noises and rears up on hind legs to stop. I have tried sitting and waiting for 5 min, then we get another meter or 2 and same again, toys and food no good as she is too scared. Running with her, no go. I have been told to "desensitise her" by making her go and to a certain point this works, but I am worried about making her more scared in the long run. She comes in the car with me everywhere and has been doing obedience training for 3 months.
She comes running when I say "walk", tail is up, till we leave the front yard, then the problems start. On getting home she is fine and happy again.
Anybody got any ideas, thanks

May 17th, 2004, 12:00 AM
Well, I don't know if this will work.... does your dog like playing with other dogs? If she does, maybe you can put her in the car and take her to a dog park. At the dog park, she can learn to socialize with people and other dogs. Just make sure it's a good dog park with nice dogs and responsible owners. I can definitely tell you that not all dog parks have nice dogs (or nice people). Also, if you pick a dog park that has cars passing by just outside the fence, maybe she can start getting used to car noises.

Lucky Rescue
May 17th, 2004, 10:58 AM
The most important thing is for your puppy to learn to trust you completely to keep her out danger, or what she perceives as danger!

Therefore you must never force her to face her fears, as this will only reinforce her idea that you will not keep her safe.

Stop walking before she acts afraid. If you can see trucks etc in the distance but your dog is not acting fearful, then just sit for a minute, practice a little obedience and go back home. You may only get to the end of your driveway for a long time, but this must be done at your puppy's pace. It could literally be inches at a time - but there is no other way.

You desensitize by gradually getting closer to the thing she fears, and, by her getting treats and praise for not showing fear, she should one day associate the cars, etc. with GOOD things! If she won't accept treats, then you know you are going too fast, so back up and start over.

If you force her to approach what scares her, you could make her fearful for life and she won't trust you to protect her.

For now, just stay in your yard. Play games, throw a ball etc. until she is at ease there.

This can be a very slow process, so you need lots of patience.

Here is one of the most important tips of all: NEVER EVER comfort or soothe her when she is acting afraid!!! She doens't understand the words, and to her, it sounds like you are praising her for being afraid. COMPLETELY ignore her fear and only praise when she is not showing fear.

Thank you for taking in this poor baby. She is very lucky to have found you!!

May 17th, 2004, 11:05 AM
LR you said it all I couldn't have said it any better!!

I have been dealing with the same issues with Sadie (most recently a helicopter fear and a bouncing ball fear some kids were playing with).

Great advise LR!!

Lucky Rescue
May 17th, 2004, 09:02 PM
I learned a lot fostering a 1 yr old pit bull who was terrified of everything!!

Sounds like Sadie is going through a fear period, which is common at her age. For her, I would suggest carrying some cut up hot dogs with you. When something scares her, toss pieces on the ground around her, but try not to let her see you do it.

In her little mind, it's "Every time I see helicopters (or whatever) hot dogs fall from the sky!! Helicopters must be good things!";)

October 25th, 2010, 12:49 PM
Hi, I have had this problem myself, I have tried every single one of these methods and I am stuck at a dead end. My dog (Kadoo) is refusing to move off of the doorstep and rears up. She will go for walks ith mor than one person (safety in numbers) but this is making life impossible as I often go out in the evenings, leaving my mum to walk her. She will go anywhere in the car, but leaving the front doorstep is a nightmare. We are starting agility soon but really don't know what else to do. please help, we are at our wits end. :shrug:

October 25th, 2010, 02:07 PM
Try walking her with other dogs that are confident and good role models? Dogs can pick up alot from other dogs.

October 25th, 2010, 02:44 PM
Hi Sandra. You say your puppy is ok if you drive to obedience classes? What if you put her in the car, and drive around to the other side of the block, get out, and walk her home? Would that work with her? If so, then you could start getting out of the car closer to home each time. Walk a different direction each time, but always end at home. Eventually you could get out of car when still in sight of home, and walk away from it, and eventually just get in the car, don't drive anywhere, get out, and walk away? Not sure if she would go for that? Don't push too hard when it comes to fear, go slowly with changes, and don't comfort her when she shows fear. You have to ignore that behavior.

Dog Dancer
October 25th, 2010, 05:20 PM
Myka, this original post by Sandra was from 2004. Emmy has reopened the thread with the same issue.

October 25th, 2010, 05:31 PM
Oh, I rarely read all the replies. It sounds like the same issue though...travels fine, but won't leave the house, so maybe my suggestion will work for Emmy too...?

October 25th, 2010, 06:09 PM
thanks for all your great suggestions, but unfortunately we've tried all already, we're at our wits end. She's ok walking with other dogs as long as it is really quite and there are no other people making any noise. she's got better with this, but still spooks very easily, and if she does get scared her first instinct is to run home, crossing a very busy road. Unfortunately, all our friends with dogs are generally busy and we can't drag them out to walk our dog *sigh*. Also, with the driving option, she will refuse to get out of the car and we don't really live in the right neighbourhood to do this.

Dog Dancer
October 26th, 2010, 11:54 AM
You say she runs home, crossing a very busy road. Is she not on a leash? For safety reasons she must not be off leash at all if she bolts in fear. The agility classes may help her to gain some confidence, and with confidence hopefully some of her issues wil resolve. Good luck.

October 26th, 2010, 04:56 PM
She is on a lead, but the other day the harness she was wearing snapped and she freed herself from it, she has also learnt to slip her collar, leading to us getting a harness. We are just concerned because if a situation was ever to arise again where she was slip collar/break harness/anything, we just don't want anything bad to happen. Sorry if I don't mke much sense.

Hillary ment
January 24th, 2014, 03:11 AM
Maybe in the places he does it, there's other dogs around? It sounds like he's just scared of a few places and not really the walk. Sometimes my dog does that when he's walking down the driveway @ my parents house, really low, tail tucked under and I have to pull him to move faster.So my suggestion should be take your dog to any expert pet professional they will help your dog's scary off