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Hi so my dog's name is Ellie, she's about 4.5 years old now, and I have had her for just over 4 years. She's a rescue, part yellow lab, part some other breeds we aren't sure of. And she's a sweetheart (everyone who gets to know her can agree).

Unfortunately in that time she has always struggled with anxiety/fear.

When I first brought her home I was so young and immature, still in grade school. It's always just been my mom and I, and when we got Ellie I didn't understand the level of responsibility and neither did my mom. I think we assumed that we would have a carefree happy dog, we weren't prepared.

Ellie's anxiety has never been the problem. When we brought her home we had her signed up for puppy training classes and I walked/played with her every day for hours. It was clear from the moment we picked her up that she had experienced something traumatic that still follows her around.

I love walking Ellie, however it's unpredictable, because I never know what she is going to be afraid of. And for a young kid I was so susceptible to people's reactions to her behaviors. My family disapproved, friends dismissed her as crazy, and people on walks would look hesitant or looked at her like she was strange. I took it all to heart. Because I love Ellie. But I was so hurt, I started to believe that there was something wrong with her and because I didn't know how to "fix" her there was something wrong with me.

And so I became less inclined to get her out into the world and try to help her adjust because I have been so afraid of what other people say for so long. And a part of me still is. But I don't know what to do anymore, I can't just let her waste away but I also don't know where to start.

*another important thing to note, I am leaving for college in a month... And my mom has to be able to take care of her on her own. Which she doesn't believe she can do.

A Few Things to note about Ellie:
- She is not aggressive at all
- She is scared of people, not dogs (unless the dog is aggressive towards her)
- She is loving
- She doesn't like small spaces (small hallways, space between cars etc.)
- When people meet her it usually takes about five to thirty minutes for her to go near them (depends on their temperament, and if she feels that they are uncomfortable around her she won't ever go near them)
- We just moved to a downtown area out of necessity, we used to live in a rural area where she didn't have to deal with as many people or scary things
- The vet gave her a weeks worth of xanax to get her through the move, and that helped quite a bit, I was actually able to walk her those days, but I'm afraid of keeping her on xanax forever... doesn't seem like a good option.

In need of some positivity, some understanding, some encouragement. I think I am finally ready to give her a life she deserves, I just need some help. I can't keep failing her anymore. Any ideas of how to start would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

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It's ok for a dog to be shy of people. Don't push that issue. If it's someone who will be around you a lot, then she will take her own time allowing them into her space.
They just need to be patient, and offer a treat when she does accept them.
Actually ignoring her is a good idea. Let it be her idea to accept them.

As far as walking and noises, that will require time, patience, and confidence from you.
 
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