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Hello All,

My fiance rescued a dog off the streets a few weeks back. When no one claimed her we decided to keep her. She turns out to be a unspayed 1-2yo 4lb Shih tzu. From first glance when we brought her home she was a bit submissive and skiddish but quickly came out of her shell.

We live in a condo so no yard to let her roam free so we walk her along with our 9yo pitbull on a regular schedule. Shes not completely comfortable with him yet as it has only been a few weeks but doesn't mind walking with him as long as she gets to keep a comfortable distance. Minus a few tugs to escape the leash occasionally the first few days we had no issues walking her. She walked calmly and did all her business outside regularly. For over a week of having her.

As of mid week last week she had some digestive issues, maybe from the food we were feeding her? Purina Focus toy breed dry food mixed with pedigree wet food. We were up with her every hour walking her all night while she expelled whatever offended her bowels. Still no leash issues and she was good about letting us know she had to go out.

Now once she had a normal stool again and she finally made outside, as I went to pick it up, she freaked out on her leash, pulled it as far as she could bites and screaming trying to get away running in circles. ?!?!?! I am at a loss. For the last 4 to 5 days we have now had issues taking her outside. She seems extremely frightened. She will walk a bit but then proceeds to bolt to the end of the leash screaming and biting at her harness and shaking. I can't get her to come to me. I've tried treats and attention, both before during and after the walks. Ive tried to make it more fun and playtime but shes too far panicked now to take treats while walking or even come by me. I dont know how we went from walking regularly twice a day to this? It has gotten so bad that she would not go outside all day this past sat into Sunday morning! My fiance and I tried with her for over half an hour to finally an hour to coax her to go but she would not. We left her in her crate to go out for a few hours and she had an explosion in there from everything she had been holding in for over a day! I'm worried about how this new found terror of being outside is affecting her health?! And nothing abnormal or terrifying has happened outside at least nothing we can recognize as an issue.

PLEASE! If anyone has ANY suggestions please let us know!

Thank you!
 

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Yay for your family for rescuing the lil' pup. Maybe you bending over her to pick up the poo freaked her out? Since we do not know the history of the dog, it could be anything that sent her into a panic. I agree with person that posted the link. Use a clicker (or marker work like "yes") to get to enjoy the outside again.
Start with small steps.
Dog comes by the door with it open, mark and treat.
Dog looks outside, mark and treat.
Dog moves towards out side, mark and treat.

You could also do some work inside. Dog walks with loose leash inside, mark and treat. Teaching the dog some replacement behaviors to do on the leash (heeling, loose leash walking) besides panicing.

She is new to your family and you are new to her. Give her time to adjust. Good luck and hang in there!
 

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I'd start by giving her a place to go to the bathroom inside. There are a few options: puppy pads, potty patch, litter box. It's not ideal forever (IMO) but for the time being she's gotta go somewhere.

You could work on slowly counter conditioning her to the outside - start by sitting by an open door and just feed treats and slowly work your way outside. The most important thing is to be sure not to push her past her threshold...always err on the side of caution.

However, since her reaction is so extreme and she has a shady past anyway, I'd work with a positive reinforcement behaviorist or a trainer that has experience with fear issues. They can provide in person support and advice.
 
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