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Question
Posted by: Bella | 2011/09/27

Dog Walks

Hi
I have a beautiful 9 month old boxer. She''s been to puppy classes ect. When we go out walking and other dogs are barking from the side of the road she gets really paranoid as if they are about to attack her. She''ll keep on looking behind her. She''s never been bitten or attacked by other dogs. Is there a reason for this or a way to make it better. She''s very nervous when she can hear a dog but not see the dog.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Bella you just have to realize that your little one is acting out of fear. what I would suggest you do is bring in an exercise called 'watch'. What you are aiming for is for the dog to look directly at you whenever you say the word 'watch'. This may sound a bit insane but what this achieves is that as the dog looks at you, it gives and receives what is called a Calming Signal, and this serves to reassure the dog and it also looks to you as the pack leader. This is an invaluable exercise in the case of fearful or reactive dogs and gives them a way to be able to cope with the perceived threat.
Start using her daily allowance of food and instead of feeding in a bowl, hold a piece of kibble in front of your eyes and say 'watch'. As the dog looks at you immediately reward with the piece of kibble. You need to practice, in the house until you can keep her attention for about 30 seconds and then give the food. When you are at this point, start bringing in distractions by way of somebody calls the dog and as she looks away, 'lure' the food in front of her nose, turning her back to you, lift up your hand to eyes, say watch and then feed immediately. Once she has the hand og this then start working in the garden, on walks etc. Remember that in every new location you will have to go back to the beginning again and gradually work your way up.
Additionally, walking a dog that is nervous or aggressive in the street with other dogs is a sure way to increase the fear/ aggression. Rather take her in the car to a shopping centre/park etc and practise the exercise while no other dogs around. Good luck, thanks Scotty

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2011/11/04

3 month old Irish Terrier.Too much energy, but do not want to go for walks. Just want to go back to hte house. Very afraid.

Is their a problem?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011/09/28

Hi Bella you just have to realize that your little one is acting out of fear. what I would suggest you do is bring in an exercise called 'watch'. What you are aiming for is for the dog to look directly at you whenever you say the word 'watch'. This may sound a bit insane but what this achieves is that as the dog looks at you, it gives and receives what is called a Calming Signal, and this serves to reassure the dog and it also looks to you as the pack leader. This is an invaluable exercise in the case of fearful or reactive dogs and gives them a way to be able to cope with the perceived threat.
Start using her daily allowance of food and instead of feeding in a bowl, hold a piece of kibble in front of your eyes and say 'watch'. As the dog looks at you immediately reward with the piece of kibble. You need to practice, in the house until you can keep her attention for about 30 seconds and then give the food. When you are at this point, start bringing in distractions by way of somebody calls the dog and as she looks away, 'lure' the food in front of her nose, turning her back to you, lift up your hand to eyes, say watch and then feed immediately. Once she has the hand og this then start working in the garden, on walks etc. Remember that in every new location you will have to go back to the beginning again and gradually work your way up.
Additionally, walking a dog that is nervous or aggressive in the street with other dogs is a sure way to increase the fear/ aggression. Rather take her in the car to a shopping centre/park etc and practise the exercise while no other dogs around. Good luck, thanks Scotty

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