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Dog Training/Anxiety in dog


I have a two-year-old mixed breed dog (probably Irish terrier, border collie, Golden) that we rescued and has become increasingly fearful. At home she's fine, and she does okay in the car or in another friend's house. But if we try to walk her in the street, within 200 feet she pulls to get back in the car or back to the house -- and she's strong! She's at the verge of panic. We thought that exposing her to the outside world would condition her to feel safe, but it actually seems to be getting worse. Suggestions? Happy to answer any questions. Thanks.

Hello Roger:

This is a fairly strange re-action, fear of cars is common and with Border's and sheppherds herding breeds it's more of the herding instinct triggering then fear, it just gets mis-interprated.
So my suggestions are to do baby steps.

Start with her just outside at the gate to your home.
Get her focused on your with Obedience, Like Sit, Watch me, Down even Shake a Paw.

Reward her only when she is doing the behaviour and is remaining clam.
Watch to see what if anything sets off her fear.
Is it sound, smell, sight.........Cars, people, Wind in Trees, Noise etc.

If you can figure out what it is (what in particular), then take her to a safe place and introduce it.

A common mistake when dealing with Fear is to sooth and try to comfort the dog.
IN Canine Communication the soft high tone voice and petting is actually a Reward and therefore we end up teaching the dog yes we want you to act like this when this happens.
What you are looking to do in those situations is to stay clam, speak to the dog normally and not touch/pet until you see the fear dissipating, then start to reward a little.

Keep in mind that, dogs can only freak out for so long before they exhaust themselves and then they start to clam down.  So when you get the reaction, stand still and wait it out if possible.  Do not advance towards to thing that set off the fear and do not let it come closer.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me again.

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