Am I walking my scared dog in the correct way?

My dog is terrified of everything, and I am not exaggerating when I say everything, people, dogs, cars, animals, sounds etc. Now I have been walking every day with her for the past week and it seems that she is getting slightly better (I know this is going to take an awful long time, so I’m trying to be patient) and all I am doing is just walking/running (sometimes dragging her) and ignoring any scared behaviour that she shows. Is this incorrect, should I be praising her more?

Answer #1

When she walks without any bad behavior (pulling, rejecting, biting the leash, etc) give her a treat. It’s okay for her to be scared. When she starts the bad behavior, stop walking her, make her sit down for a few seconds. After she’s calm, try to walk her again. Keep repeating this and she should start walking amazing. I wouldn’t recommend dragging her, it will probably just cause her to be even more afraid.

Answer #2

My Pug suffers from fear aggression and walking him with extremely difficult at first. I have been working with the Pug-a-lug rescue for the past two years rehabilitating him. When dealing with mild fear, it is best to ignore it. If you are dealing with serious fear (like my Pug) ignoring isn’t enough, you have to basically reprogram the dog to correlate all the things they are scared of with something good. My pug is mostly scared of people and ignoring it didn’t help, so every time we see a person, I make him sit and give a treat. After a couple of days he would see a person and immediately look for his treat instead of freaking out growling and barking. Two years later, I can now walk him through crowds safely, no treats needed!

Dogs respond best to positive reward focused training, so when she does good, praise her like crazy. Never ever baby her when she is fearful, that will reinforce the fear. If she’s scared to go past something, loop around it and get her to go forward by using happy upbeat commands. Once she makes it past, praise her like crazy.

Helping a dog through fear can take up to five years. It is extremely difficult. More dogs are put down each year due to fear problems than health issues. I would highly suggest seeking professional help. Look for a rescue near you, they are always happy to help. I would also suggest reading some books by Patricia McConnel, she wrote a book on dealing with a fearful dog that is fantastic.

Answer #3

Thank you so much. I’ve always ignored the bad behaviour. So that is why she is already better and sometimes even wanders into a conversation. I’ll follow your advice.

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