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 Scaredy-Cat Husky In Noisy, Urban Area

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NicoleB
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Female Join date : 2017-11-14
Location : Chicago, Illinois

PostSubject: Scaredy-Cat Husky In Noisy, Urban Area   Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:06 am

My 9 month old Husky, Leo & I have been taking shorter & shorter walks.

He's scared of everything outside - trucks, people, yesterday he even freaked about someone across the street with a stepladder. I haven't been able to get him to the dog park for days because a semi-truck passed by on the road too loudly the last time we went. And when the business next door put up a neon sign - forget about it. Granted, we live on an incredibly noisy street in Chicago, so I understand his distress.

When he gets scared he begins squirming out of his harness to bolt unless I take him in the direction he wants to go. Getting him to focus is nearly impossible at this time, he's too scared & wants to go home. I don't want him to get loose & run over by a car, so I comply.

About a month ago he began improving and taking longer walks and exploring new ground, but he's since regressed and is now a bigger wuss than ever.

What should I do with this little guy? How can I help him be less freaked out by our crazy-ass surroundings?
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Husky911
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Male Join date : 2017-03-30
Location : Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PostSubject: Re: Scaredy-Cat Husky In Noisy, Urban Area   Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:06 am

Hey NicoleB!

I remember Echo acting the same way when he was a puppy but not like this when he's older.  I live in downtown Toronto and with Chicago having a similar population as us, our streets are just as noisy, loud and overstimulating.  Trucks, garbage bins, skateboards, bicycles, drills, they used to all get him and he would literally jump and skitter away.

You have to be confident and just truck on.

Switch to a leash on your walks for greater control and to prevent him slipping out.  When you encounter something he's scared of DON'T GIVE IN.  Drag him through it if you have to.  That's what I did.  Or even run through it.  Echo used to bolt through some of the scarier things, then look back afterwards and was like oh...it was nothing, and got over his fear.  Remember you're walking your dog so he should be looking towards you for your lead.  If you walk through it with confidence, your husky will pick up on your emotions and be ok with it.  By giving into his fear, and walking away from the scary object you only cement his thoughts of it truly being scary.

Repetition will also be good in this instance.  For example, on garbage day, follow that truck around and walk past it repeatedly.  Start across the street with the ultimate goal of walking past it on the same side.  Praise & treat with each successful attempt.  Definitely don't delay training.  He's missing out on some pretty cool adventures over his irrational fears of nothing.  (Also it's probably easier to drag him through some of these scenarios right now before he's fully grown Wink)

Another great location to desensitize your dog are bridges.  Right beside my park is a pedestrian bridge that goes right over one on the busiest highways through our city.  Walking back and forth through that bridge helped a lot.  Just grab the leash tight and walk.  Don't stare at down, don't stare at your dog to see what reaction he has.  Just stare straight ahead and walk.  If you repeatedly successfully walk confidently across he'll get the point. People used to giggle at me when I walked my husky because 90% of the time he was trailing behind me and I was dragging him to go, they're supposed to want to pull right?

Trust me...it gets better...

Good luck! bounce
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TwisterII
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Location : Missouri

PostSubject: Re: Scaredy-Cat Husky In Noisy, Urban Area   Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:45 am

I would second losing the harness and swap to something like a martingale collar for pulling issues. You definitely don't want him escaping in a hightened state of fear.

For the most part it's probably an age thing. Strange fears come and go as they age and this might magically just turn off one day. I would get a high value treat and do as was suggested above, giving him a high value treat each time he goes through a scary place to give him something to focus on other than the fear and to reward him for surviving the ordeal. If he is just getting jumpy at sounds in general even in the house I have been using a treat ball on my fearful one. he has to use it on the hard floors where it makes a lot of noise rolling around.

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amymeme
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PostSubject: Re: Scaredy-Cat Husky In Noisy, Urban Area   Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:46 pm

Ditto ditch the harness for martingale collar. Then, carry a bag of high value treats with you. When he does the scared routine, offer a treat and walk on. A variation could be, when he gets scared, make him sit, look at you, offer the treat. Could also try bringing a favorite toy (particularly if it has a squeaker) and waggle it in front of him when his focus turns to the scary thing. Try intermittant running to get his attention, maybe a small handful of kibble strewn on the walk in front of him.

Good luck...hopefully, this too, will pass.
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