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Dog Training/Afraid of going outside


I have a 1 yr. old Golden Retriever named Amy.  We got her when she was a month and a half old, so she has been with us since a baby.  Even when we got her and we were going to put her in the car, she started trembling. This has not gotten any better. She does not like going in the car and she does not like going outside the house. She will be in our backyard, that she loves, but that's it. We've tried going on walks, but she gets frantic. Literally.  She's escaped from her leash, from her harness, from everything. She starts pulling and pushing, jumping and just wants to be inside. Because of this, she has little activity and she destroys everything in my house. I really want to take her on morning walks.

Aniette, where are you located in Texas?  It sounds like you need professional in-person help.  Amy is having panic attacks and this is a serious issue.  I'd like to be able to recommend someone in your area to help.

There are a couple calming remedies you can try:
Anxitane (l-theanine supplement) - available online
Thundershirt - available in the big box pet stores or online at

There's an excellent book called "Help for Your Fearful Dog" by Nicole Wilde that I highly recommend.

Meanwhile, exercise Amy in the yard - tossing a ball or chasing a flirt pole. Don't force her into situations where she panics.  This will only hurt in the long run.

Socializing an adult dog is difficult, but not impossible.  You have to start at a place where she's comfortable, though.  If she can stand on your porch without panicking, feed some really yummy food, like bits of chicken or cheese.  If she'll take the food there, then take a few steps toward the sidewalk and feed again.  Combine a potentially fearful situation with something she really loves.  If she's a ball hound, play ball with her on the porch or in the front yard.  Only move further when she's happy about being out there.

Please get back with me and let me know if you have questions or follow up comments.

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Barb Gadola, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP


I can answer questions related to problem dog behaviors, teaching polite manners, puppy raising, and any type of training-related issues. My website page, offers a wealth of information on training and behavior issues as well.


I've been training dogs since 1989 and own and operate Distinctive Dog Training LLC in Keller TX. I specialize in providing practical and positive solutions for families through personalized training in their home.

Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Victoria Stilwell Positively! Licensed Trainer
Association of Pet Dog Trainers
Association of Animal Behavior Professionals
Truly Dog Friendly Coalition

BS in Education
Graduate work in Behavioral Psychology
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Training Program
Certified Professional Dog Trainer

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