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Discussion Starter #1
I started teaching my 14 week Australian Shepherd/BC mix how to walk with a loose lease recently. I think she's doing pretty good. There are a couple of things we're having problems with though.

1) Every so often she will start veering into and in front of me. I'm surprised I haven't accidentally stepped on her feet yet. How do you keep them a little distance from you so they don't walk into your legs?

2) A lot of people around here have dogs in their backyards and when we walk by their houses the dogs come around to the side of their yards and start barking and she gets scared. I try my best not to do anything to reinforce her for being afraid. But I don't know if its right just to force - which would mean pulling her - past those houses either. Treats don't work at that point. Avoiding those houses would really limit our options with walking. Any suggestions?
 

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My .02's

Acting or communicating that she will be safe next to you like letting her go between your legs will re-enforce the behavior your trying to correct. Sounds like what your doing is fine, divert her attention to something else. If what your using doesn't work ( eg: treats ) try different things until you find that magic thing whatever it may be and save it for special times. Oskar ( Bichon mix ) was the same way at that age and still has some issues at 5 months but I work with him and can see his changes every day even though he takes baby steps. Some dogs are more timid than others like Oskar and just take a bit more patience, her reactions are totally normal and nothing is wrong with her .... she's a "dog", the worst thing you can do now is coddle and humanize her, a "little" tough love can go a long way.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
no, I haven't tried getting down on her level - would that reinforce the fear?

There doesn't seem to be anything that will distract her. She's not generally a fearful dog either.

It's raining here today, but I think I will probably have to take her for a walk today anyway or she will go crazy and drive us crazy too. Maybe those people won't have their dogs out today and she can get used to walking in those areas without being afraid and that will help reduce her fear when the dogs are around.
 
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