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Question
Posted by: Loren | 2011-01-31

Socialise

I got a dog from a shelter. We estimated her to be 1yr old. On the first day she arrived at my house she was nervous and quiet but the moment I took her out on a lead for a walk she barked and squealed the whole time. I tried taking her out as much as possible even letting her run freely on the beach when no-one ekse was around but she has not improved. She is so placid at home but the minute we leave our property she barks and squeals at everything. What can I do. I really don''t want to take her out anymore. She is a small dog. Do you think our grounds is sufficient for her? WE have an average sixe garden? She is now 6yrs old.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Loren, i really love it when somebody gives a shelter dog a home,congratulations, it sounds like she has arrived at a lovely home!

Her behaviour is not unusual at all and sounds that she is exhibiting some fear behaviour. When a dog cant cope if will exhibit one of the 4 F's - Fight, Flee, Freeze, Fooling Around. It sounds like your little one is doing the Fooling Around due to not coping.

What I would do is to start at the beginning again and start to walk her at home. When she is walking quietly on lead in the garden, say good girl and offer her a treat and keep on repeting this until she is walking calmly in the garden. If she starts barking and squealing, stop dead, dont look at her or talk to her, and only take a step forward when she is quiet.

When she has mastered this, then start to walk up the drive towards your gate, repeating the process.

When she is good at this, then open the gate and only take a few steps into the street. I think you get the picture - we are slowly building her confidence in an unknown location.

Additionally, you can teach her to 'watch' you, simply by lifting a treat to your eyes, saying her name and telling her to 'watch', as she does this then treat her. This will help her to focus on you rather than the perceived threat and make her more secure and when she is proficient at the exercise you can use it on walks.

What i find very helpful with a dog like this is Tellington TTouch and would suggest you contact a practitioner in your area. This would quicken the process and you would learn how to do it and it would help her to be more confident.

It is important even tho' she is small to get her out for regular walks. A dog has a sense of smell that is over 45 times stronger than a humans and a walk to a dog is a bit like us watching a movie or reading a book - it provides mental stimulation and lessens the chance of other behaviour concerns.

Don't give up on her outings just yet - try the above and if necessary get a behaviourist in to help you. It would be a pity that both of you would not enjoy a long walk on the beach. Good luck, Scotty

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Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011-01-31

Hi Loren, i really love it when somebody gives a shelter dog a home,congratulations, it sounds like she has arrived at a lovely home!

Her behaviour is not unusual at all and sounds that she is exhibiting some fear behaviour. When a dog cant cope if will exhibit one of the 4 F's - Fight, Flee, Freeze, Fooling Around. It sounds like your little one is doing the Fooling Around due to not coping.

What I would do is to start at the beginning again and start to walk her at home. When she is walking quietly on lead in the garden, say good girl and offer her a treat and keep on repeting this until she is walking calmly in the garden. If she starts barking and squealing, stop dead, dont look at her or talk to her, and only take a step forward when she is quiet.

When she has mastered this, then start to walk up the drive towards your gate, repeating the process.

When she is good at this, then open the gate and only take a few steps into the street. I think you get the picture - we are slowly building her confidence in an unknown location.

Additionally, you can teach her to 'watch' you, simply by lifting a treat to your eyes, saying her name and telling her to 'watch', as she does this then treat her. This will help her to focus on you rather than the perceived threat and make her more secure and when she is proficient at the exercise you can use it on walks.

What i find very helpful with a dog like this is Tellington TTouch and would suggest you contact a practitioner in your area. This would quicken the process and you would learn how to do it and it would help her to be more confident.

It is important even tho' she is small to get her out for regular walks. A dog has a sense of smell that is over 45 times stronger than a humans and a walk to a dog is a bit like us watching a movie or reading a book - it provides mental stimulation and lessens the chance of other behaviour concerns.

Don't give up on her outings just yet - try the above and if necessary get a behaviourist in to help you. It would be a pity that both of you would not enjoy a long walk on the beach. Good luck, Scotty

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