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First I want to thank everyone for your input regarding Layla’s urinating issue. But let’s move on now to my next dilemma with her. Behind my home(townhouse) I have a big open field about 2 plus acres or so. I was taking her out there daily to let her have her excersize. Throwing a ball or just letting her off her leash where she would run back and forth happy to have the freedom and open space to frolic in. Than one day I took her out unleashed her and she made a beeline right back to the house. I thought this peculiar but didn’t really think much about it. However, since that day I’ve tried several times to take her out there. She pulls away tail between her legs She sits totally refusing to go. I’ve tried a ball, treats my grandkids but she is not having it. Obviously unbeknownst to me something frightened her. It’s been months and she still won’t go. There are cats, and several other types of small creatures out there. None even half her size. How can I gently get her over this fear. It’s a great place for her to get her daily exercise and very convenient for me.
 

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There is a period in late adolescence, for about 2-3 weeks, that constitutes a fear period. During this time, if a dog is frightened, something called "single event learning" can happen. This means that it only takes one experience for the dog to learn that this experience was scary and it can persist for the dogs life. If this is the case, there is something called counter conditioning where you take the time to change your dog's relationship to the trigger. We don't know the exact trigger, but you can slowly make the walk to the park a positive experience. Lots of treat and food and go at her pace. Your goal is for her to think the park is good and means lots of treats.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There is a period in late adolescence, for about 2-3 weeks, that constitutes a fear period. During this time, if a dog is frightened, something called "single event learning" can happen. This means that it only takes one experience for the dog to learn that this experience was scary and it can persist for the dogs life. If this is the case, there is something called counter conditioning where you take the time to change your dog's relationship to the trigger. We don't know the exact trigger, but you can slowly make the walk to the park a positive experience. Lots of treat and food and go at her pace. Your goal is for her to think the park is good and means lots of treats.
Thank you for that. I took her out with treats the other day. Although she was still reluctant, the treats helped. I did it slowly. She was not happy but she didn’t resist as much as usual. When treats gone and I turned to home she couldn’t get back fast enough. However I think doing this slowly every few days will teach her that this is not a scary place but a place where she can feel safe.
 

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Thank you for that. I took her out with treats the other day. Although she was still reluctant, the treats helped. I did it slowly. She was not happy but she didn’t resist as much as usual. When treats gone and I turned to home she couldn’t get back fast enough. However I think doing this slowly every few days will teach her that this is not a scary place but a place where she can feel safe.
That's a good start! This can take months of work to counter conditioning to change a dog's fear response. Slowly doing the treats will help, as well as confidence building exercises. As I imagine she is still a young dog, doing age appropriate obstacle courses, fun training exercises, etc, can help boost her confidence.
 
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