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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

We just got a dog from the shelter. We're noticing a few things she needs help with, but I think I'd better start with this one.

At night, she will bark at little things that seem suspicious to her, but really aren't.

So far it's been:

a little kid playing in the stairwell, 2 apartments away from us.

a guy just walking on the sidewalk.

another guy running up to the dumpster with his trash, throwing it in,
and running away.

A security guard who I'm friends with. He said hello to us from the sidewalk, I started speaking to him, and she barked. (so we all made a
point of showing her that we are all friends).

A woman talking to her german shepherd on her 2nd floor balcony.

Another security guard standing behind a locked gate, which made it harder to see him clearly.

So far she's not getting off to a grand start. She always stops when I tell her, but she is half pit bull and half greyhound, and I don't need complaints about her.

We wonder if maybe she was a street dog, and it's a survival issue?

What can we do to make her feel less nervous about every little thing that happens at night?

This afternoon she did bark at some balloons she saw (someone's backyard party). But she doesn't bark at people in the daytime.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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That's an extremely common issue in many dogs. Cosmo is a barker but usually he won't bark at someone in the daylight. He almost always barks at people at night.

She may just be nervous and suspicious of unfamiliar things. I would suggest trying to desensitize her to things she sees as scary like balloons.

Desensitizing and Counter-Conditioning: Overcoming Your Dog?s Issues

Here's a good page on that!

As for barking at people, I would suggest carrying around some cool treats and trying to redirect her focus on them. When she's quiet say "good!" And praise her. Have a stranger give her treats sometimes when she's quiet. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you :). I found a few more articles too, like:

Helping Dogs who are Afraid on Walks

and

Why is My Dog Scared of Going Outside?

Things are going a little better already, although it's clear this will take time.

We now bring her out to the stairwell area, have her sit and give her a dog biscuit, and pet her. Then we go around to the balcony, so she can check to make sure there's nothing hiding in there (with the light on). She seems to
want to check that every time.

Then we make sure to keep her close to home, and keep the walks at night fairly short. With frequent stops for petting and encouragement, and dog cookies.

Unfortunately, we really do have a suspicious neighborhood, but she doesn't need to be barking at the drug dealers, either. They are intimidated enough just seeing her. And I'm dealing with that situation by going to authorities.

She's also afraid of the trash bins, even in the daytime, so we make a wide berth around those.

And she is coming to trust us quickly :). We are glad about that.
 

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Cosmo was scared of sewers for a long time, I made him sniff them when we passed and he would get a cookie. now he insists on sniffing each one that we pass, so I guess that's better than walking the length of the leash in the opposite direction to avoid them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
She's been doing slightly better: not barking at people just walking by, at night, but tonight we had a barking incident.

Two women walked up behind my husband, I warned him, and he warned them not to come close. We think they were
drug addicts looking for a handout. Unfortunately one of them decided to do a kind of mocking dance
at the dog, and so she barked. Great.

We are trying to give her a very calm environment at night, with few distractions, but I can't control mocking dances by
drug addicts just walking through.

*just* *frustrated*.

So my husband thinks this is not something to worry about, because this is what she's supposed to do.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, I'll post one tomorrow :).

Ok, I'm going to try to get her straight to a trainer tomorrow.

Tonight she barked at more neighbors, and at a car that was just
sitting there. I managed to distract her before she barked at yet
another security guard.

Last night she also tried to lunge at a drug dealer's car - they had just left
the lights on inside. There was no sound, no people in the car , just the lights
on inside. So now I have to completely avoid the "drug loading zone," even if there's nobody around.

She heard the neighbors that she barked at tonight, coming way before I did, so I couldn't prevent it.

I'm starting to want to just take her straight to the car and drive her
somewhere else to do her business. It's becoming stressful for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I find I'm not doing well with staying calm when walking her at night.

She is still barking at people after dark. Tonight she barked at another kid,
at a woman coming out of her apartment, which reeked of pot smoke, and at a drug dealer making a delivery to the woman who lives right across from me.

There is actually a very tense situation going on right now with the drug dealers. I am just about to go get a temporary protective order against one of them, and ask for an extension. I already had the police knocking on their door.

Would it be better if I just put the dog in my car and get her out of the apartment complex completely to walk her?

She is having fear issues about getting in the car too - I think she associates it with the shelter she came from because that is the one I used to bring her home. She is not afraid of my husband's car.

Yesterday I put her in the car, and she was less afraid, but I still could not get her off my lap so I could drive. We just sat in the car for a while with her on my lap, then got out.

Tomorrow I really have to make it work.

I find I am not steely enough to remain calm when she barks at little kids or drug dealers.

Thoughts please.
 
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