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Afraid Of Things On Walks


Guest Jordan33
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Guest Jordan33

Walking Adrien around certain places in my neighborhood can get very frustrating. She's afraid of the support poles for the train station next door, post office letter boxes, the street light control boxes, bicycles, strollers, grocery carts, rolling suitcases, bags, flags, and anything else that can blow in the wind, busy intersections, loud and sudden noises near her...

 

Thankfully there are some quiet places we can go, but we can't always go there. We need some variety and the daycare/boarding kennel is on the main road with lots of scary thing between it and home.

 

She'll walk with her ears pinned back, tail tucked, looking at everything in quick jerky movements, even sometimes trying to get away from something by spinning her bum off the sidewalk. Or she will freeze and I'll need to coax her to keep walking to get past the feared item in question. More often though, she'll pull on the leash to try to rush past it.

 

I don't know how best to handle the situation. Should I just let it go and hope that enough exposure over time will desensitize her? Should I give her treats every time we go past something scary? I also don't want to inadvertently encourage her fears either. Maybe calling a behaviorist would be good? I've tried sitting near a frightening object with her on several occasions, sometimes repeating the scary thing, but I don't see an improvement. She stands by me, ears back, tail tucked, looking around. Most other people see a calm dog when they see her!

 

It's just frustrating because we have to get past a few of the scary things to get to the quiet part of the walk. And if she's pulling away from me either to the left or right I end up tripping over her. Thankfully I haven't done a face plant on concrete yet! I'm trying to stay calm and in control but it's not easy.

 

Thanks for any suggestions you might have!

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I'm in the same spot with Ryder. He's become increasingly sensitive to sounds, trucks, buses, pickups, garbage trucks are his nemesis. So far aside from training I've all but given up. He's wearing a Sentry collar at the moment that is supposed to represent a "calming" aura but I think that has worked marginally or not at all. I'm going to try another brand called Adaptil after giving this 30 days but my expectations are low.

 

Have your tried rewarding on walks or a thundershirt?

Proudly owned by:
10 year old "Ryder" CR Redman Gotcha May 2010
12.5 year old Angel "Kasey" Goodbye Kasey Gotcha July 2005-Aug 1, 2015

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Is it possible to walk her with another dog? That often helps. Also, it might be worth investing in a good escape proof harness so you don't have to worry about her backing out. Another good thing about the harness is that it seems to give my guy more confidence.

 

I live with a dog like Adrien. I find its best to walk Iker in quiet places and at night, when things are less scary for him. This website helped me a lot

 

http://fearfuldogs.com/

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/568743733161925/?ref=ts&fref=ts

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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Guest Scouts_mom

My Henry was like this when he was new to my home. Everything seemed to scare him, including the stop sign at the corner. Garbage collection night was traumatic, and heaven forbid that a child would leave a toy on or near the sidewalk. Once I did a face-plant on concrete. I was bruised and scratched but I didn't let go of the leash! It was a small tree branch moving in the breeze that scared him that time. He has gotten a lot better, but he will always be a timid soul. Our walks thru the neighborhood are calm now, but I avoid taking him on busy roads or places. He is not the dog to take to the farmer's market.

 

What helped?

Letting him really look at possibly scary things, and, if he wanted to, we would do a large arc detour around whatever it was. I did not force him. We also did the same walk over and over again so he learned it was safe, then added another street to his walk. I also always walked him with my other dog whom nothing scares. Finally I make sure I always had the leash looped over my hand and had a good grip on it in case he tried to bolt. He also wore a harness.

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Guest Jordan33

The first few days I had her I was terrified she would get loose because she'd swing around until she was facing me and actually TRY to get out of her collar. I thought about getting her a harness, and did have one for a couple of days, but it didn't fit right so we returned it and then she calmed down some so I didn't think about it again after that. She's not nearly as bad as that these days, thankfully.

 

I had someone else recommend a thunder shirt. I'm just not sure if it'll work. But maybe it's worth a try?

 

There's a greyhound walking group I'm going to walk her with as often as they meet within public transportation range, until my driving test gets scheduled, anyway. She did great in the park during the GGGW last weekend! I do think another greyhound would help. She's still wary of other dog breeds though.

My Henry was like this when he was new to my home. Everything seemed to scare him, including the stop sign at the corner. Garbage collection night was traumatic, and heaven forbid that a child would leave a toy on or near the sidewalk. Once I did a face-plant on concrete. I was bruised and scratched but I didn't let go of the leash! It was a small tree branch moving in the breeze that scared him that time.[\quote]

 

Phew! Thank God you didn't let go!

Is it possible to walk her with another dog? That often helps. Also, it might be worth investing in a good escape proof harness so you don't have to worry about her backing out. Another good thing about the harness is that it seems to give my guy more confidence.

I live with a dog like Adrien. I find its best to walk Iker in quiet places and at night, when things are less scary for him. This website helped me a lothttp://fearfuldogs.com/https://www.facebook.com/groups/568743733161925/?ref=ts&fref=ts

Thank you for these links! They look super helpful!

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Guest gzgreytfun

Raz was like that on walks when we first got him. He would plant his feet and refuse to move. I would let him stand there until he

 

"saw" there was nothing scary! A couple of times we had to turn around and go back the other way as the "scariness" level did

 

not drop, I guess!! I always reminded myself that all this was so new to him and tried to be as patient as possible.

 

We did invest in a harness and that seemed to make him feel more secure but he still froze at times. Now he is almost 11 and he

 

rarely reacts to new things. 'Course mostly he walks in places he is used to! Just a couple of years ago we took Raz and M'enka

 

to the Pittsburgh Dog Expo. Raz froze right inside the doors. I just stood with him and after 5 minutes-long time to just stand

 

there, lol!- he decided it was safe. We headed directly to the doggie treat booth. After that he seemed fine, only shied away from

 

really noisy areas and I was OK with avoiding them anyway! :gh_face:dogcookie:dogcookie

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Our Kingsley was very scared of the world, but he was a statue-er... so our best option was to walk one-pattern which he could grow accustomed to and do our best to shield him from scary things.

We were fortunate in that he did not *have* to be near particularly noisy things, and it he was set-off by a loud truck or blowing-over trash bin, we knew we would have a few days of his wanting to stick close to home.

Adding another dog helped some, but he was never a confident dog outside.

 

Yours sounds confident enough that I bet her confidence keeps building over time... and I would second the idea of getting a harness, to assure you can hang on to her and not hurt her if/when she does have a little freak-out.

Amy and Tim in Beverly, MA, with Chase and Always missing Kingsley (Drama King) and Ruby (KB's Bee Bopper).

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  • 1 month later...
Guest JonnyBGoodhound

Our 3 day old (since adoption) Jonny was completely fine on walks around our city fringe neighbourhood. Gradually over the last 24 hours on our 3 walks he has become progressively more frozen. Our last walk we only made it about 10 metres from the door. He's definitely taking in more of the noises and neighbourhood and seems to do better at night when things are quieter. The only thing that unfreezes him is when someone walks past or close to him then he's all mister social again and going in for sniffs and cuddles with tail wagging.... then freeze.

 

There is nothing different on the last walk compared to the first other than we've put him in a harness as I hate the martingale. But that was on day 1....so he's done some extensive walks with the harness on.

 

We did have a very big walk yesterday to meet up with other grey rescue owners and he seemed fine with that and completely happy to see some of his recognised friends from the rescue kennels. So perhaps it was something on that long walk? I've had to force him a couple of times on the last walk to get him off a road with oncoming traffic or such so that, no doubt, didn't help!

 

I did read elsewhere on this forum here that grabbing him by the collar and lifting slightly to get him to move might be more effective as this was what was done on the track, but I don't want to hurt him or remind him of anything that may have been traumatic.

 

Advice appreciated!

 

Here's the uber social Jonny

MG_4281.jpg

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Uber handsome Jonny.

 

My Harper has started freezing on walks when she hears another dog bark, which is a pain since we have everything from bloodhounds to bernese mountain dogs on our cul-de-sac. I have found one area I can walk her but I like variation. Sometimes I just end up treating her with some kibble every time I hear a dog bark and try to keep her moving.

Missing my sweet girl Scout. My snuggler, my chow-hound, my kissy girl.
It never thunders at the Bridge, and your food bowl is ALWAYS filled.

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Guest JonnyBGoodhound

We trialled him without the harness and back on the martingale (which i hate)... it worked. Ish. He now doesnt freeze when just walking but still does when he hears any dog bark (we are also surrounded by everything from a chihuahua to a great dane.

 

I find that following some of the advice on that other stream worked. Holding his martingale collar in the loop and lifting with only a little pressure and pulling breaks his trance and he happily moves on. I only do that if a nudge of the hips or a small push dont work.

 

Anyway... back to happy walks on toilet breaks and exercise walks. We will just have to start using the harness in conjunction with the collar and slowly wean him over.

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Guest nnamdismom

I have a few weird tips! Maybe when you see a scary thing coming up, first, get your heart rate down. Try to ignore the anticipation of her being afraid. Mine is afraid of hardwood and tighter spaces like hallways and doorways. Whenever I know we are going to hardwood, or through a doorway, I get anxious! I can't help it! I never show it verbally but dogs do sense your emotions, its like they can smell it! So lately I have been trying to completely calm down before we get to those spots. I think of something else, completely ignore it and act normal.

 

When you get to the scary things or see one coming up try a few distractions! I found that Nnamdi calms down if I sing. I am not very good but if we are in the house and I am humming along, he is staring very pleased and calm. If I am humming before and through a scary thing, sometimes it can distract him.

 

Is it weird for me to suggest running past these things? Nnamdi used to be scared of this yellow fence in our neighborhood because behind it was sometimes some barking dogs. Even if the dogs weren't in the backyard, when we came up on the fence Nnamdi would start pulling and darting around, trying to get away. Instead, before we came up on the yellow fence I would slow, calm myself, choke up on his leash to give him less slack to pull or fret and we would walk close together very briskly. Eventually we would trot past it. After all this running through the problem area, he now walks by the yellow fence fearless! It's like he forgot all about being weird about it. He sniffs the trees right across from it, the whole shabang.

 

I walk my dog close to me when he seems afraid to give him more security. I pet his head and back as we walk sometimes. Whatever you know that makes your dog feel secure is what I would use here!

 

I definitely agree with the no pull harness idea. I also can't help but wonder what sounds are at the daycare that bother her that could be turning on these fears. Nnamdi is triggered by certain things, maybe try to find out exactly what it is like at daycare, sounds, smells, other dogs, etc. Over time this may work itself out due to necessity. Our whole house is hardwood. The dog has to adapt. The thing you can do is just be calm and not anxious yourself to not add to the stress. I know how you feel! You're not alone and you are doing great.

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Guest JonnyBGoodhound

I have a few weird tips! Maybe when you see a scary thing coming up, first, get your heart rate down. Try to ignore the anticipation of her being afraid. Mine is afraid of hardwood and tighter spaces like hallways and doorways. Whenever I know we are going to hardwood, or through a doorway, I get anxious! I can't help it! I never show it verbally but dogs do sense your emotions, its like they can smell it! So lately I have been trying to completely calm down before we get to those spots. I think of something else, completely ignore it and act normal.

 

When you get to the scary things or see one coming up try a few distractions! I found that Nnamdi calms down if I sing. I am not very good but if we are in the house and I am humming along, he is staring very pleased and calm. If I am humming before and through a scary thing, sometimes it can distract him.

 

Is it weird for me to suggest running past these things? Nnamdi used to be scared of this yellow fence in our neighborhood because behind it was sometimes some barking dogs. Even if the dogs weren't in the backyard, when we came up on the fence Nnamdi would start pulling and darting around, trying to get away. Instead, before we came up on the yellow fence I would slow, calm myself, choke up on his leash to give him less slack to pull or fret and we would walk close together very briskly. Eventually we would trot past it. After all this running through the problem area, he now walks by the yellow fence fearless! It's like he forgot all about being weird about it. He sniffs the trees right across from it, the whole shabang.

 

I walk my dog close to me when he seems afraid to give him more security. I pet his head and back as we walk sometimes. Whatever you know that makes your dog feel secure is what I would use here!

 

I definitely agree with the no pull harness idea. I also can't help but wonder what sounds are at the daycare that bother her that could be turning on these fears. Nnamdi is triggered by certain things, maybe try to find out exactly what it is like at daycare, sounds, smells, other dogs, etc. Over time this may work itself out due to necessity. Our whole house is hardwood. The dog has to adapt. The thing you can do is just be calm and not anxious yourself to not add to the stress. I know how you feel! You're not alone and you are doing great.

 

many thanks!!! After a couple of walks today with the martingale and the harness on but not connected he is completely out and about again! even approached a barking dog... he's adapting fast but no doubt we'll have more issues. For now, seems the harness was the thing. Too much change too soon perhaps!

 

Thanks to you both for the advice!

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