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My parents recently got a female 2 year old cairn terrier rescue called Sooty. She's a very loving dog and did well at doggy training but she is quite anxious and stressed, particularly when leaving the house to go on a walk. Whenever we get the leads ready she goes beserk, barking and attacking our other dog Pepper (an elderly 13 year old cairn). This continues for a couple of streets until she calms down. It's very difficult to take them out together on my own and is probably quite stressful for our other dog. She was rehomed as her previous owner had a stroke and could no longer care for her (completely understandable) so she doesn't have an abusive history. Has anyone had a similar experience or has any advice? Thanks!
 

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My first impulse in that situation would be to try building a "going out" ritual that helps you counter condition the response.

What works with your specific dog will require a little creativity, but what I would try first would be to put the dog on a lead and then go to the door, open the door but then not leave. Just stand there and let the dog check out her surroundings..... you can kind of think of it like the scene in "Finding Nemo" where Marlin is going in to the anemone and out of the anemone and into the anemone and out of the anemone, etc. before deciding to actually leave.

The key here will be to reward her with high value treats when she calms down and then a treat bomb when she decides to venture outside to check it out.

At first I would only introduce the second dog once you get the nervous one out of the house.

This approach, or something similar will work but it will require time and patience. You'll need to approach this with the mindset that it takes as long as it takes. The first few times she might decide to not even leave the house, so I would "train" this between walks when she doesn't have to go out. How far you go with it is up to you but it shouldn't take too long before she can leave the house without freaking out.

Good luck.
 

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That’s interesting. My rehomed Cairn is also very reluctant to walk on a lead. I think it’s a mixture of the or”independent” mindset and the anxiety of changing owner. We have reached an agreement where I drive her to an off lead park, where she walks happily as it’s at her own pace. Otherwise we walk about 100m from home on a lead, after about three years of endless encouragement and bribery. She’s otherwise a beautifully matured dog, as long as one accepts that she has her own mind.


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