Walking Your Scared Dog – What Keeps You Up At Night

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27 replies
  1. Linda s Shipes
    Linda s Shipes says:

    Hi Jim! Awesome advise on everything I’ve read and viewed so far! Two weeks ago I got a new puppy, 4 1/2 months old, an Aussie, that I believe has been abused. He is terrified of going outside, among other things. But I have to carry him out and put him on the grass, where at first he would just lay down and shiver. Now he will go with me if I trot around the back yard, but isn’t getting the hang of going potty outside. And once around the yard, and he heads right towards the garage and back door to get back inside. This is the main thing I need to work on. He really fights going out, does sommersaults on his leash, pulls, and freaks out!

    I have done rescue/foster/adoption work for 44 years, although retired 2 years ago, and have worked with all sorts of dogs and cats with various issues. But I’ve never had a puppy this terrified of going outside! And in the van on the way home when I first got him, he shook the whole way, and drooled a tub full! It was a living nightmare for him! I’m taking him to be neutered in two weeks, and have ordered some essences to use on him, and some organic calming chews for the ride to the vets. I just hate seeing him this scared!

    Other issues too, but you asked for the thing that kept me up at night, and this is the main thing.
    I’d truly appreciate any advice you can offer me!
    Thank you kindly!
    Ms. Linda

  2. Julie
    Julie says:

    Hi Jim – like most of the other people here, what keeps me up at night is figuring out how to stay calm and assertive when walking my scared dog. i have a 4 year old lab/hound mix who is very fearful and/or aggressive when i take her for a walk. i cannot walk past another dog without it being complete chaos. i have finally learned to keep my distance and try to reward when she stays calm but i have to be about 50+ feet from the other dog. i’m always afraid another dog will be off leash, which has happened multiple times. my dog will usually smell the other dog first but then typically will growl and go at the other dog, but has never bitten. in our home, if she see’s another dog walking by the house on the sidewalk she goes crazy pawing at the door.. pretty much the same behavior like when she’s on leash walking. i want to take her everywhere with me, but i find that challenging as i don’t want to put her (or me) in a stressful situation that i can’t find my way out of. today, i had a friends dog come over just to see how things would go. initially when they ‘met’ there was a fence in between. my dog was just barking nonstop and some growling. i think i should have just left it at that for the night, but we ended up bringing my friends dog into my backyard (after mine had calmed down). my dog just kept running away from my friends dog and if he got near her, she would show her teeth and bark. i’m gathering that this wasn’t a good idea now as i most likely put her in a stressful situation. i wish you were in the Boston area as i could use your help! your 3 step article was helpful though. i plan to put those tips to use. i’m also going to do the Find It game as i think building confidence would be a huge help. Thanks Jim. i just discovered your site tonight. Any other advice would of course be welcome. other than this issue, she’s a very lovable great dog!

  3. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Lorraine: the best thing to do if your dog is fearful enough to bite, it to make sure to keep an appropriate distance between your dog and another dog. Use the 3 tips you received to
    put sight/physical barriers between your dog and other dogs. Until you get a better solution to walking your scared dog, making sure you do not set your dog up to fail will be critical.

  4. Lorraine Adderley
    Lorraine Adderley says:

    I’m scared that when I’m walking my scared dog, that he will snap and he will bite another dog or a person and they will sue me or have him put down.

  5. Client Care
    Client Care says:

    Hi Emily: is she being friendly and just excited to see another dog or is she fearful/afraid?

  6. Emily
    Emily says:

    Hi Jim
    My concern is not having my dog start barking and pulling when ever she passes by a dog

  7. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Anne: couple of questions please – 1) does postive reinforcement training methods for you mean feeding food treats when walking close to dogs ? 2) how close is close? I promise I have a reason for asking you these specific questions – Jim

  8. Allison
    Allison says:

    Hi Jim, I don’t really have a question to ask you but just want to appreciate you helping other dog owners! Some of your replies are very helpful to me as well. Thank you!

  9. Anne
    Anne says:

    After receiving some great assistance from a professional, I’ve been walking daily with my scared dog since April 2016 using positive methods. He has improved but the process is so, very slow. What keeps me up at night is that after ALL THIS WORK that I may never reach a point where we can walk in public when other dogs are near without having issues.

  10. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Sarah: Try to use the 3 tips you received about using barriers between your dog and other dogs. For now distance from the other dog helps you control your dog better. Your dog is not ready to be that close to other dogs and it’s important that he knows you can keep him safe.

  11. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    That we will encounter another dog and a fight will ensue. We’ve had that happen so many times before and it’s frightening. Not walking the dog is better unfortunately. Especially now that I have a toddler.

  12. client care
    client care says:

    Nancy: this is not a quick fix, but hopefully our emails have given you more education on what to do, when to do it OR not do it.

  13. client care
    client care says:

    Debra: thank you for sharing your fears. it’s helpful to others to know they are not alone. We hope the emails you have been getting along the way have been useful to you and we are
    working very hard on putting together more help for you and others who try to walk their scared dog.

  14. Debra Jordan
    Debra Jordan says:

    My fear is that a dog off leash will come near and my fearfull dog will start a fight or the other dog will and my dog doesn’t have a left hip and has had a left knee repair and I think that scares me too that he would get hurt again.

  15. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Jim …. Thank you for always thinking of me …. At times, I feel that we have made strides … Then, On a new day ….. It is as if we are back to day 1 … However, efforts to quickly resume control are lessening the extended duration ….

  16. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Brenda: Thank you so much for your reply. So many dogs -and their owners wind up in your situation for exactly these reasons and more.
    Many got this way because of loose aggressive dogs. I appreciate your concerns and your situation. My hope is that you have found some success in making your life better using the information in my past emails.
    While things may seem bleak now or like a lost cause, you can get your happy comfortable life back with a little work-if you use the correct approach.

    Like I said in my video – I am working on something for people in your exact situation. So, stay tuned for more information regarding this opportunity.

  17. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    Will a dog off leash run up to us and will I get attacked and bit again trying to manage my scared dog. Will the dog get away from its owner and run at us. How will I handle my already scared dog, that once was happy to walk see others say hi those days are gone for me.

  18. Leila Martin
    Leila Martin says:

    Hi Lori – thanks for responding. I’m sorry for the confusion. This entire process, videos, emails etc. is about dogs who are scared of going on walks with their owners i.e. get aggressive when they get close to other dogs, get so scared they try to pull out of the leash etc. If you would like to do some video coaching with Jim on your specific issue we can do that. You can read about that here http://www.petiquettedog.com/dog-training-hangouts/

  19. Lori Templeton
    Lori Templeton says:

    Leila Martin – to answer your question she walks ok for me, but is scared of other people. So my concern is how will she let some one else walk her. I’ve tried this and shes ok if I’m there, but doesn’t want to go out or walk at all for another person,She will plant her feet in the ground and not want to budge, since its a trust issue and she only trusts me.
    The questions was what keeps me up at night – and this is what does….can I ever take a vacation, home care seems all that practical. If I boarded her woudl it break trust?

  20. Client Care
    Client Care says:

    Lori – thanks for commenting. What are your specific concerns about walking your scared dog?

  21. client care
    client care says:

    Pam – thanks for your reply. Do you have a question that is specific to issues walking your scared dog?

  22. Client Care
    Client Care says:

    Cindy, thanks for your comment. Do you have a “specific” question about not being able to walk your scared dog?

  23. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    Our dog is very noise sensitive. We walk and he flinches and crouches down when he hears a car door close. He also walks with his tail down – he is a standard poodle.

  24. Pam
    Pam says:

    Our duck toller mix rescue, age 2, is no longer afraid of adults she doesn’t know, for the most part. But she is afraid of other dogs (she acts like she wants to say hi, but if they reciprocate interest she snaps) and, we have just discovered, children (she shies away from children). She also barks hysterically at dogs walking by our house whether she is inside our out. We take her to daycare once a week for socialization, and she has some good buddy dogs in the neighborhood with whom she plays happily. But we are worried that she will one day ignore the electric fence and get herself in over her head with a strange dog, or that a person will take offense while she is in our yard and hurt her.

  25. Lori Templeton
    Lori Templeton says:

    What’s keeping me up at night walking my scared dog? –
    Will my dog ever tolerate letting some one else walk her? What if I have to or want to go away. What if I have to go in the hospital and need some one else to care for her?

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