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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
hello, I’m looking for help for my rescue dog who is ~1yr old. She was born in a dump yard in Taiwan and never had any owner before us. She started out terrified of everything, every noise, every person, everything, except our other dog. I developed a bond with her through play and food mostly and she began to come out of her shell as a huge cuddle bug. She also became less and less afraid of noises as this happened. She’s fine within the house now, but outside is a different story. She is very scared of heavily traffic areas & loud/sudden noises, she tries to flee. It has gotten better since her first walks, but in new walk locations it’s about the same, and there isn’t a huge difference if she’s alone or with our other dog. We walk quiet areas, but it is impossible to avoid all noises. She’s independent and barely knows people are even walking with her, I’ve been working on teaching her to look at me on walks, but she gets so overwhelmed the minute we are outside she doesn’t listen, at home she can do it. If someone knows how I can do this better that would be GREAT - she also does not notice treats unless they are in her line of vision. Yesterday she frantically tried to escape her leash because of a skateboard, this was on a new street (we have a special collar so she can’t get out). Sometimes if I sit down and get her to make eye contact with me and just kinda hang out she will be ok when I get up (hence, look training) - assuming the noise is then over. I tried this with the skateboard because we needed to walk by (closer) to get home (guy was staying there) but she was freaked out and wouldn’t look at me, I did notice that if I shifted positions she kept her back to me and faced away very alert, if I got up she tried to escape and run. I ended up carrying her home, she only became ok when we got to our street. I’m wondering how I might be able to help her be more at ease outside? I think I can train her better if she is more calm. I bought the sound sensitivity CD packages from online after I hired a dog trainer to help my dogs with people, and told her my younger pup struggles with sound. The problem is she doesn’t care about them at all in the house unless it’s a dog whimper where she looks for the dog. Do I try maybe playing the sounds while we are outside? I familiarized her with hanging out on our porch and front yard (leashed). I’m not sure if it’s noise phobia, it seems like confidence and familiarity to the location help my dog the most. If anyone could help me understand the situation and what to do I would be so grateful! I was thinking to have someone bring over a skateboard after quarantine and let her sniff it, put treats on it etc and ride it around a bit not stressing her out, do you think that would help at least with that? My family does not want to pay for a trainer again and I’m a new grad so I don’t have much money myself. My family didn’t read her description that she was so shy, so they didn’t want to work with her, training and trust building went to me when I had school off. I don’t know how much this factored into things, I do know they mostly did not form any bond with her until I became involved. I’m now moved back home and can dedicate time to training her.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Update(?): I also was thinking to try doing the training on a leash in the house, then in the back yard, then outside. That way it’s less unfamiliar when I try to do it on our walks and I can ease her into it. Then she can at least potentially feel more comfortable if she’s more aware of me?
 

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Generally, with any dog, you start training new things in a quiet, familiar area with as few distractions as possible and once the behavior is established, gradually introduce performing it in less familiar settings and with distractions (bumping up only one step at a time). Getting a dog to perform reliably in a strange and distracting setting is the hardest part of training. At dog shows you regularly hear exhibitors disappointed in a dog's performance say, "He does it perfectly at home."

Your situation is many times more difficult than for those people with dogs with easier backgrounds and maybe also genetic predispositions that let them handle stress better. About all you can do is keep working on it. If there's a way to limit the level of the outside stresses on her - for instance, by walking only in your yard or close to home and going out at the quietest times - you should be able to start building confidence. Maybe she'll never be able to handle walking in heavy traffic areas or anywhere close to someone with a skateboard. Even with the best of backgrounds, some dogs can't. But with careful work and continuing to build her trust in you, you can probably improve things a lot.

Don't expect steady improvement. In dog training you often get plateaus and even a step backward in among the steps forward.
 

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Noise can be a difficult thing for dogs.

I got my pup when I was in a very large city, roughly 25 M people. The noise was constant 24/7. Construction, demolition, cars, buses, trucks, taxi, horns, firecrackers, skateboards, hoverboards, motorcycles, scooters, ebikes, bikes.........kids, balls, running, screeching, electric toys......

The steps I took were very simple. I'd take him outside on a leash, find a place to sit. We would just sit. My dog would watch, listen, startle but would sit between my feet. I made sure to not react or try to console the dog at most I would place my hand on the dog, not to pet, just a touch. I would prevent people wanting to pet him. This started outside my apartment building with beginning sessions lasting about 10 minutes. Gradually the time was increased until he had no reaction, then I'd move to a higher traffic area and restart the process.

This allowed my dog to have exposure to "normal" outside noise. He also had shelter sitting between my feet and knowing he had an advocate for him. Today, the only noise he has a reaction to is when something is dropped on the floor. Most times I leave the dropped item on the floor for him to investigate. Otherwise, when I start woodworking power tools, he leaves the shop. Router and framing saw sends him out very quickly. I don't think he is scared. I think the sound level and sound pitch are uncomfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much the both of you - I will take the advice. She is a mixed FMD/collie and FMDs have similar characteristics to her, but with the addition of her backstory I think things were inflated as sound really DID mean danger. I started doing some training including leash training indoors and it’s going ok, I’ll have to be patient since she can be slow on the uptake. I sat with her on our porch and did the same thing, I’ll try to do this in other areas as an outdoor sound sensitivity training thing! Thanks again you both!
 

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In addition to working in quieter, less distracting places, have you considered medication? In an urban environment I imagine it is quite difficult to completely eliminate any noises, and she sounds like she is over threshold a majority of the time on walks. Medication may help take the edge of so she doesn't go from 0 to 100 in 1.5 seconds flat, and it will help her mind be in a place so that she can learn that not all unfamiliar noises are scary.

It's certainly worth a discussion with your vet.
 
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