Fearful of everything during walks. - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 10:17 AM Thread Starter
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Fearful of everything during walks.

Hey guys/gals

My 6 almost 7 month Golden Retriever is fearful of everything while on walks. Trucks, if I accidentally step on tree branches, mail boxes, tree branches that move, loud cars, you name it. She pulls really hard. Its almost to the point of dangerously hard. She might hurt herself. I began using a prong collar about 5 days ago. She stays by my side for most of the time. I have to give her a gentle pull once in a while to remind her I am the leader.

However, even with the prong collar and reassuring here that I am her leader and nothing will happen to her, she is still fearful. She hears anything or sees anything coming towards her and she is running and puling for her life. Ears and tail down. Motivating her with treats does not work. I have tried multiple things to get her distracted and focus on me but no joy. If I command her to sit and lay down she will though. She does socialize with people and gets out. I have had people tell me, "she needs to get out more." Well, we go out A LOT and nothing has changed. I don't think socializing is the problem. I mean, its not like she stays indoor for 23 hours a day.


I am not sweet talking or petting her while she is scared. I am aware this only makes the problem worse. I ignore her, wait a couple minutes and start walking again. Maybe she will grow out of it? Anything will help.

Thanks for reading
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-26-2017, 03:12 PM
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You've only been working with her for a few days. This is not something that's going to be overcome in a few sessions. It's going to be a lot of work long term. Did you ever contact the Orlando Obedience club? Stop taking her on walks if she is afraid the whole time. Get a lawn chair and sit with her where she can see activity but isn't having to engage. Give her treats for sitting calmly. Do you clicker train? When she looks at you click and treat. Reward her for focusing on you. Get in touch with a behaviorist. Talk to your vet. She is in a fear period. You aren't giving this enough time, it isn't going to be an immediate fix.


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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-05-2017, 09:06 AM
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I've had similar issues with Trudy. Not exactly the same, but I think some of what I've experienced and been told might help. Although I don't think she's always fearful, she definitely gets overstimulated to the point of shutting down and being completely unable to focus. As you said: every branch, smell, truck, sometimes just a breeze! Trudy doesn't pull, but she lags behind. Our "walks" are pretty slow and torturous. In fact, I wear a fitbit that tracks my pace. When I take her on "walks" our pace is typically between 45 - 60 minutes per mile (to compare, on my own I typically walk - not run - at a pace of roughly 20 minutes per mile.) Typically, at some point on our walk, she will get so overstimulated that she completely shuts down. She stops wherever we are, and won't move for a while... just sits there looking around. It's moments like these that every person driving or sitting on their porch thinks they have a magical answer for me. "Is your dog broken?" "Is she lazy?" "You just need to show her who's the boss." It drives me insane.

My trainer and vet believe that, with increased exposure, she will grow out of this. I sure hope so. She just turned 8 months. The trainer has encouraged me to shift the way I think about our "walks." They aren't walks. They're "explorations." Just times for her to get out and get a bit more comfortable with the world. As someone already mentioned, consider finding a place to walk where you can just bring a small camping-type chair with you. When your dog starts getting too fearful, just let her take a break and pull herself together. My trainer encouraged us to sit, pet her, reassure her. When she's ready to go ahead, she'll let us know.

Trudy gets so overstimulated at times that food rewards are useless - she has no interest. But if it works for you, you might consider lightly coating a long stirring-type spoon with peanut butter and bringing it with you. Keep it by your side, where you want her to be. She'll lick the PB, which will distract her from other things, and hopefully keep her by your side. Bring the spoon up every once in a while (and increasingly) as she stays at your side. Apparently this is used in heel training (this is my first dog, so this is all new to me). I saw it work with some success with other dogs in our training classes. Keep your first time short, then increase duration and decrease spoon access gradually.

Like you, this has been a very long process. I haven't seen drastic improvement, but I have seen a bit. I also truly believe that if we hadn't kept taking her out she would have gotten worse. Good luck! I know how frustrating this can be.

Last edited by Sarah J; 10-05-2017 at 09:15 AM.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 10:18 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah J View Post
I've had similar issues with Trudy. Not exactly the same, but I think some of what I've experienced and been told might help. Although I don't think she's always fearful, she definitely gets overstimulated to the point of shutting down and being completely unable to focus. As you said: every branch, smell, truck, sometimes just a breeze! Trudy doesn't pull, but she lags behind. Our "walks" are pretty slow and torturous. In fact, I wear a fitbit that tracks my pace. When I take her on "walks" our pace is typically between 45 - 60 minutes per mile (to compare, on my own I typically walk - not run - at a pace of roughly 20 minutes per mile.) Typically, at some point on our walk, she will get so overstimulated that she completely shuts down. She stops wherever we are, and won't move for a while... just sits there looking around. It's moments like these that every person driving or sitting on their porch thinks they have a magical answer for me. "Is your dog broken?" "Is she lazy?" "You just need to show her who's the boss." It drives me insane.

My trainer and vet believe that, with increased exposure, she will grow out of this. I sure hope so. She just turned 8 months. The trainer has encouraged me to shift the way I think about our "walks." They aren't walks. They're "explorations." Just times for her to get out and get a bit more comfortable with the world. As someone already mentioned, consider finding a place to walk where you can just bring a small camping-type chair with you. When your dog starts getting too fearful, just let her take a break and pull herself together. My trainer encouraged us to sit, pet her, reassure her. When she's ready to go ahead, she'll let us know.

Trudy gets so overstimulated at times that food rewards are useless - she has no interest. But if it works for you, you might consider lightly coating a long stirring-type spoon with peanut butter and bringing it with you. Keep it by your side, where you want her to be. She'll lick the PB, which will distract her from other things, and hopefully keep her by your side. Bring the spoon up every once in a while (and increasingly) as she stays at your side. Apparently this is used in heel training (this is my first dog, so this is all new to me). I saw it work with some success with other dogs in our training classes. Keep your first time short, then increase duration and decrease spoon access gradually.

Like you, this has been a very long process. I haven't seen drastic improvement, but I have seen a bit. I also truly believe that if we hadn't kept taking her out she would have gotten worse. Good luck! I know how frustrating this can be.

Thank you for such a great response. My puppy does the same. Lags behind and would rather snap her neck than to continue forward. I have been letting her get accustomed to just sitting there and watching. I also hope she grows out of it. We go on tons of walks. She should be pretty familiar that daddy is not going to let anything happen to her. Every dog is different I guess. I did the best I could with her. Patience is key in all of this.....Best of luck with Trudy!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 12:17 PM
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I am going thru the same thing i would recommend you stop for a bit and restart. Be mindful of the second fear phase.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 12:51 PM
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I took care of a pup who had became terrified to even go outside because while on a walk, a car ran over a metal sheet on the road during construction and it scared the hell out of her. We lived on a very busy street and she was used to the quiet country. For two days she refused to walk and would not even go out the door. So I boiled some chicken breast (extremely high value) and took her to the door (where her anxiety began) and started giving her the chicken. Then she let me open the door (with more chicken), then she was okay with going through it (with more chicken), and we just sat outside for 45 minutes watching the cars go by. Every time a car drove by I would give her chicken and tell her she was a good girl. Eventually she would willingly walk with me a couple of steps down the block. By the end of the session her anxiety had melted away. Over the next few walks I would take chicken with me just in case, but she really was all better after this session of me desensitizing her of her fear of road noise and cars.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 05:07 PM
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Why does sweet talking her or petting her when she is scared bad for her? I've never heard of this. I always sweet talk or pet my dog if he is afraid of something! It's has a very calming effect if they are scared!

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-20-2019, 06:24 PM
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Ditto, yes, me too! The breeder acted surprised I asked if something happened to my dog at his place. My dog is so powerful I could easily get hurt if he were to wrap around me with the leash. I quit walking him because it is too difficult and dangerous for the dog and me.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-21-2019, 10:54 AM
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I'm going through the same thing right now, my pup is 3 1/2 months and is deathly afraid of buses and large trucks, since we live on a busy street in NYC, with morning garbage trucks and the constant buses/moving trucks, etc he gets scared so easily.

some days I'm lucky he comes down the building steps with me but he wont walk further than our building door. I have to carry him across the street where it's more quiet. it's not like I can sit outside with him for an hour lol (there's no space out here). The only thing I can do is to encourage him to walk with me once he's actually walking. I'm hoping he phases out of this with more walks. Otherwise I don't know what I could do :\
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2019, 11:29 PM
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I think maybe she has encountered a danger before with walking.
I recommend you to comfort her when she feel nervous.
Does she also fear when you walk on the park or beach?
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