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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

From the Mail Bag: My Dog Is Afraid Of Dogs and Cars

From the mail bag: Hello I need help with my 5 1/2 month female GSD. She is very fearful of cars and some dogs. We attended puppy parties at the vet office and basic obedience classes. She has good ball drive but is slow to follow commands; she takes her sweet time to perform them (maybe out of boredom). I'd like to show her that the cars are not going to hurt her specially because we live close to a busy avenue and to get to our car to go for our walks she can see the cars from a distance. Lately she has been barking at approaching dogs.

I'm sorry your pup is having such a hard time.  It's concerning that your pup is having such difficulties at such a young age.  I suggest consulting with a board certified vet behaviorist.

Once a dog is dog is displaying fearful behaviors, it's too late for the regular kind of socialization that puppies get.  I suggest not doing the puppy parties right now nor the group obedience classes. A vet behaviorist, with the help of a good trainer can set up some calm one-on-one sessions, keeping your pup well below threshold.  If your pup does well with one-on-one sessions, then you can start expanding her circle of friends - but only with carefully chosen, calm, tolerant dogs.

If she is slow to perform tricks, she is probably stressed or feeling pressured. I'd work with a good trainer on super short training sessions. Make sure all training is hands off and that training starts in a distraction free environment. Use super tasty (to the dog) treats. Also look into online training classes.

See links below (includes info vehicle fears) that you can discuss with your vet behaviorist)

Classical Conditioning Videos :

Classical Conditioning Blog Posts:

Too Late For Socialization:


Fear of Cars:

Shy Dogs:

Stress Reduction:


This post is about deprivation in dog training but it also lists possible reasons why a dog might not be motivated:

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