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I just adopted a new dog a week ago. Shes a 2 year old retriever mix and very sweet. She has some weird bi-polar-like issues and gets scared of things very easily. Shes extremely jumpy and still seems weary of me at times. I've been working with her and shes been slowly getting better inside. I live in an apartment, so I have to take her out by leash. At the beginning she loved going out. I would take her to our fenced dog area and let her run free to potty and she would have a blast. But the last few times we've been out, something always scares her. First, my phone fell out of my pocket right behind her and she bolted and got away. Was then terrified of me and the leash and it was hard for me to catch her. The next time, a skateboarder went by and she tried bolting again. She loves people but this morning a guy was walking towards us and she bolted out of no where and up the stairs (I think it was the same guy who was previously on the skateboard). Now she seems scared of anyone at the apartment complex, where before she wanted to greet everyone. When its time for me to put the leash back on her in the dog park, she runs from me with her tail tucked and seems scared to death of me, where before she would happily wait by the gate for me to put the leash back on. Today I went to put her harness on to go outside and when i picked it up she ran and hid from me. I want to fix the issue and know it will take time, I just need some training tips cause I've never had a dog like this before. (Shes also not interested in treats or toys so that probably wont help). I feel like everything I do is scaring her more! :(
Also, I've been taking her to the beach and she LOVES it. She wants to play in the water and greet all the people and other dogs, but shes a totally different dog on the apartment property.
 

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Hi Ash,

Welcome to the Dog Forum!

For what it's worth, I don't think that anything you've done has made her any more frightened than she was already. A couple of very helpful resources are:

Fearfuldogs.com

Care for Reactive Dogs

I expect that others will have more specific advice for you. Good luck!
 

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I think Nicole Wilde's Help for Your Fearful Dog is a great book for a new owner of a significantly fearful dog. It's not as cheap as some of the web resources, but it is a lot more comprehensive.

It takes dogs a long time to feel comfortable in a new situation. For the first two weeks that I bring a new dog home, I like do what is called a "two week shutdown" (link: http://hugabull.com/home/shutdown/): a period of 2-3 weeks where the dog's only real job is to adjust to the new environment, new routines, and new people she suddenly finds herself living with. No excursions (beyond potty breaks), no parties or guests, just lots of bonding time and a gentle introduction to a few training basics (like relaxation and self-control, as with some of these games: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/impulse-control-calmness-168218/). Then we slowly start introducing new things, like more focused training, short excursions, household rules, and so forth, adjusting as I go depending on how confident or overwhelmed the dog seems.

And finally, congratulations on being a first-time dog owner! Dog ownership can be a really challenging thing at times, with so much to learn and so many new things to deal with. Especially at first, it can seem really different from what we expected. I really like this blog post from animal behaviorist Dr. Patricia McConnell: Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog
 
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