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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Read the ridiculous advice offered to the owner of a 6 month old puppy who is scared on walks. This was posted on Tailsinc.com. Just proves how important it is to thoroughly interview prospective trainers before allowing them near your pup. :(:eek::confused:

Q: We have a miniature Schnauzer puppy who is now almost 6 months old. She seems to have developed a pretty severe fright of loud vehicles. It might have originated when a garbage truck recently drove down a street we were walking on. She already disliked garbage cans (I have no idea why), and this episode is the only trigger I can think of for her fear of noisy vehicles. Now when I attempt to walk her, she can’t get home fast enough and keeps trying to turn around during the stroll, especially if a loud car or bus goes by. This is a real problem, because we live on a busy street and we walk on neighborhood sidewalks. Can you help?

A: Your dog desperately needs strong leadership when she is frightened by loud noises. This is accomplished by redirecting her, making sure she remains focused on you. This will actually calm your dog. Tell her to heel and keep your pace slow and steady. When she begins to walk ahead of you, slightly jerk your leash straight back, not straight up. Do not pull or try to hold her from going in front of you. Just give the leash a quick jerk and then release. The moment she begins slowing down to equal your pace, give her calm verbal praise as you continue to walk. Walk her daily as often as you possibly can. This will help to improve her behavior faster. If she tries to turn around while walking, softly jerk and release her leash as you continue moving forward. Do not stop walking or wait for her to catch up. The key point is timing. The moment she looks at something she fears, that is the moment to correct her. You may feel sorry for her, but a dog does not understand this emotion. She sees this as weakness, and you must be a strong leader. The more she is exposed to and works through the issue of loud noises, the faster the problem will disappear.

This is the guy answering the question.

—Alex Brooks, founder and operator of the Alex Brooks Midwest Canine Behavioral & Socialization Center in Des Plaines, IL, has been training dogs since the late ’70s. He also donates his time and expertise to training dogs in shelters
 

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Correct her for looking at what she fears? Wow, great advice (sarcasm). I hope that person finds some help elsewhere.
 

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Oh, wow, so basically associate yet another unpleasant experience with seeing/hearing what scares her. Don't try to make walks pleasant and safe, just force her out of fear. Ugh.
 

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Am I missing something?

What's wrong with re-directing the dog? Is it just the leash jerking that's wrong? That's the only thing I can see here that's off?

I mean, if Wally and I are out and something startles him and he doesn't recover from it (he starts looking nervous/scared), I call him to get his attention and we keep walking, or I start giving him simple cues, or maybe get to a spot he feels comfortable and let him run around or something - all those things are re-directing the dog.

Correcting a dog for paying attention some something that startles him or makes his feel fearful doesn't make sense, but I don't see what's wrong with the rest of the advice.
 

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yah but you need to rederict your dog using somthing pleasent. so he/she asostiats it with a pleasent exprence. rather than jerking your dog.

i feel sorry for the scared pup that got jerked around, i have a mini shnauzer and i would never jerk it if it got scared i would distract it with a treat and when it was distracted prase it.
 

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That advice doesn't sound so horrible. My only problem is that I think it's a better idea to use treats to get them to sit and watch you instead of constant jerking. But other then that, it sounds right... You shouldn't feel sorry for the dog, and you should make her keep on walking. Stopping and hugging the dog or saying "It's okay, don't worry!" will just intensify the dog's fears. Sort of like how, when a kid gets a scape, and they aren't crying or bothered, as soon as you say "Oh my gosh you have a scrape! It's okay, baby, let me help you!" then the water works instantly come out.

What I used to do with Sasha when she was a pup, was whenever we'd go past a fence with barking dogs (This really scared her) I would continue jogging at a steady pace, and I wouldn't even give her the option of trying to run off in a different direction. We'd just keep going straight, so she couldn't focus on the other dogs. After several instances of practicing this technique, she is no longer scared to walk past a fence with barking dogs. It's not a very good technique for scary stuff in your house, or for socializing, but it gets them to ignore scary distractions, such as cars or funny looking bushes or something you might encounter on a walk. I definitely prefer the "Sit, now watch me!" with a treat method in most situations.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yes, it's the leash jerk that I think is off base here. I'm not too wild about forcing the dog to do something it fears, either, but I agree that sometimes you have no choice - you have to do it just to get out of a situation quickly. The dog is already afraid of the situation. Adding a leash jerk and forcing it to endure doesn't form any positive associations. Eventually it will go along because it has no choice and eventually, via a long tortuous process of back-door association, it may start to actually like the walk, but why put it through that when it would be so much less stressful on the dog to slowly introduce the walk and associate it with good things? The dog's fear response probably starts with the leash now, so my first step would be get the leash out, treat. Then get the leash out, leash, treat. Get the leash out, leash, open the door, treat. Get the leash out, leash, open the door, sit on the porch, treat. etc. etc. Get the dog looking forward to going outside first, then about being in the front yard, then about walking a little down the street and so forth.

Yes, teaching focus and obedience will instill confidence. Trying to force that in a situation in which the dog is already in a fearful state, not so much. I want my dog happy to be on that walk!

When our dog was young she was very afraid of strip malls, busy parking lots, etc. A trainer advised us to force march her exactly as this trainer is suggesting. It didn't work even a tiny bit and I saw first hand the damage it did to my fearful dog. We've since retrained her using positive methods and while she's still not crazy about some of the things in those places (e.g. shopping carts & sliding glass doors mostly), she no long has an intense fear reaction and actually seems to enjoy all the new smells and sights. If she starts to tense up, I do try to get her attention back on me with obedience commands. If she's still afraid, I move her farther away from the thing that's scaring her and restart the process of getting her used to it, but never with force.

The fact that this trainer is out there doling out what I believe to be harmful advice and spreading his goo to local shelters really makes me sad. Which is why I posted this in the first place.
 
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