Location: United States
Joined: Apr 2017
Originally Posted by metarzan17
We adopted Josie from the forests of Taiwan. By the time she was found, she was 6 months old. She now lives in the middle of a big city (San Francisco). On walks, she is generally OK, but then when we get near a lot of people/crowds/sounds, then she gets very fearful and shuts down - tail tucked and pulling/tugging. This has now gotten much worse, as she's afraid of even quiet streets now.
It's gotten to the point where we can barely take her down the block to potty. She is too terrified to go and pulls us back inside the building - even if it is quiet and we can't figure out what she is so afraid of. We have tried walking her with another dog that is calm & confident, but that has not had any impact on her level of panic or ability to recover once she becomes scared of something. We always try to use a variety of treats, since she is highly food-motivated, but she won't eat anything once she gets scared. Once she is either at the dog park or back home, she's completely fine.
Anyone have any similar experiences? Any advice would be welcome.
Hi! Your dog is similar to my dog. Max is scared of everything--has zero confidence, can;t be around people or other dogs. He is also a very loud communicator. So on top of being anxious---he will bark continuously until whatever is bothering him goes away. He has been this way since we rescued him (he is now 8 months). We would take him out to potty and quickly after he relieved himself he would sprint home. That was one behavior among many that we've had to correct. We have been working very closely with a behaviorist and trying to be as predictable as we can.
Max has gotten better---it helps when he knows what to expect. I always take him on the same route. I always have the same schedule for him--everyday. His behaviorist has him on anti-anxiety medication, which I am okay with because it has been 2 months now and I can see it has only been benefiting him.
Something that has been helping Max with his confidence is in-home training. Everyday for at least 15 minutes. I started to notice that he was more independent ie. hanging out in the living room by himself, asking for water by going to his crate and making noise with his bowl, asking to go potty by waiting at the door. All of these have been a HUGE improvement over the course of 3 months.
Honestly, it is a lot of work. Consistency and patience is the 2 things I hear the most.
He still barks on walks. I always try to ask him for a "sit" when I see he is hyper-tense and reward him if he even glances at me. The trick is to get their attention when they are frightened and ask them to do something they know how to do. As a distraction.
Another cool trick that helped Max was crumbling his favorite treat and sprinkling it on the lawn or grass or wherever we're walking so he can practice being curious to smells rather than paying attention to noise, people, cars, kids. We also try to keep his walks as privately as we can and it gets very difficult.
Sorry for the long post but I am curious to hear more from you as I to have a severely anxious puppy.