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Discussion Starter #1
Hello .. l have a 6 month old female maltipoo that has anxiety problems when we go for walks. She's happy for me to put an anxiety wrap, harness, lead and walks to the front door and gets to the front gate and stops. From then on it's a walk filled with me pulling and encouraging her. She may take a few steps then stops, sits facing the house and won't move. So anxious won't take treats. This has been going on since she was 3 months and we've been going around the same block because l thought if she smells her scent this would give her more confidence. The couple of times l took her to a proper dog park she cried and tried running in all directions....it was so sad. Shes not afraid of people or most dogs, as long as they don't bark at her. She is scared of gardening machinery. Some days are a little better than others ...l hope you can help.
Thanks
 

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Hi there!

Dogs often start to go through "fear periods" starting at 6 months (through adolescence at about 14 months). The first "fear imprint" period takes place between 8 to 11 weeks of age, where they may experience something different from the world that leaves an unfortunate lasting impact. (Source: Diamonds in the Ruff).

Additionally, all dogs have different temperments. Some are very confident, while others are extremely unsure and rely heavily on their person to make them feel safe. This sounds like the case with your puppy, since she was showing signs of anxiety and fear at 3 months, and it may be continuing because she's going through a fear period now.

My biggest piece of advice is to go REALLY SLOW. This may seem tedious, but this is what I did when introducing my reluctant and nervous 4-month old dog to the dog park. At 3-months he would go on walks and happily great every other dog he came across. At 4-months, when he finally got his last vaccine and was cleared to go to the dog park, he was terrified and overwhelmed.

So, since your puppy can make it to the front gate, stop at the front gate. For a week (maybe even two) go through all of the motions (putting on her vest and leash, ect) and walk her to the front gate, open it, and then sit down. Let her sit in your lap and just hang out for 10 to 15 minutes, and then go back inside. If she moves away from her, let her go to the stretch of her leash so she can explore just outside your house. The world is big and scary and new, and this will help her learn that it's safe to explore.

Once she seems comfortable with that, try going a little farther. Go at her pace. Even if it's only five feet from your front gate, stop, and let her explore the area for a while, and then let her lead you back to the house. This allows her to feel safe and in control with new surroundings, so she can grow comfortable and confident as she explores, and learn that the world is fun and exciting.

While my puppy did not have issues with walks, as I mentioned before he had a similar issue with dog parks. Start with the going on walks problem with your puppy, and once she is able to confidently go around your block, you can re-examine the dog park. Start with the same basic steps, but just hanging out near the dog park, outside of it, where she can observe. Then take her one walks by the fence where she can meet the dogs safely through the fence. Once she seems a little more confident, go inside but (as I had to do with my dog) sit on the ground and let her hang out in your lap. This may take a few sessions of her just sitting in your lap. Then try toys, treats, ect, and have her focus on fun interactions with you specifically at the dog park. Pretty soon she'll be exploring the other dogs too.

I really hope this helps with your problem! You can always discuss with your vet or a professional dog trainer if she continues to show no signs of improving, or maybe try getting (if possible) another dog. That can help with her confidence as well because dogs are pack animals.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm sorry, I've already answered you but obviously did it wrong ...l hope this is right.
Thank you for that advice ..baby steps sounds good. I just didn't know which way to go but starting from the beginning is the way to go. She knew the route of going around the block so if l deviated she would pull me in the direction of home. It must've been horrible for her.
Thanks once again and l will take it slowly.
 

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Hi lve followed your advice and we are taking baby steps. Missy has improved and is exploring up to 4-5 houses away either side. It's a slow process but she's happy and calm. I did try crossing the road, holding her and then putting her down so she could explore the other side but she panicked...my fault. She explores for about 20 minutes going up n down and back again haha. Unfortunately there's nobody with a pup who we can walk with which would've been a confidence boost for her.
Anyway thanks again...l thought you might like an update and hopefully with the next update there will be more improvement.
Regards Linda
 
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