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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I seem to be asking a lot lately and thanks to everyone who has answered me!
I'd just like to start off saying that I used to use Yahoo answers for random animal questions and everyone there was just incredibly rude and harsh with their comments, and just plain mean. I mean I asked a question about leash pulling from over-excitement in our farm Labrador one time and they said, "If you can't handle a lab, you will never own a dog." Just... rude, unhelpful comments from Yahoo all the time.
Nearly every comment I've read while I browse here has been very fair and kind and just a HUGE thanks to all of you beautiful people :)

Okay.
So I've heard it mentioned a couple times through research that puppies go through Fear Stages. I've tried to solely google this and read about it, but they very briefly touch on the subject. Can someone tell me more about them?

My rescue puppy will be four months old on Sunday, April 6. When we first started walking she was an absolute dream on leash. However, that was early in the morning 6am and no traffic. In the beginning every car going by was cause for panic and trying to run away. She's gotten significantly better and only panics when she hears squeaky old rust-buckets, and semis. (We live very close to where semis go by a lot). Usually I just ignore her panics and just keep walking unless she has a full blown panic attack and tries to flip and run away, then I make her sit - which she does well - and we wait it out until she's whining and excited to continue.
Also other dogs (she LOVES dogs) but when she hears them bark she immediately tucks her tail tries to sit or run and just stands at the complete edge of her leash whining and pulling.

I can't enroll her in puppy classes for a while because I adopted her just after they started and there is only two instructors where I live.

I was wondering if this is just a fear stage though, will she just get used to the sounds and see that these things will happen every day, all the time?
I mean... I have a tape recorder and there's one dog that usually starts the walk off with violently barking and slamming his body against his fence when we go by. Would it be beneficial to record these sounds and just play it in the house while we do other things?

Thanks again, you all are amazing!
 

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Instead of essentially ignoring her panic attacks, why don't you give her something to do? I dealt with similar by training "look at me". Any time I saw or heard anything I thought might spook my dog, I used that command, and when he looked, I popped a great treat in his mouth. We kept walking, however, as I didn't want to flood him with whatever was scaring him. Two years later, if anything scares him (not much these days), he automatically looks at me and calms right down, because I've associated looking at me with great treats and moving away from the scary.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She can't focus on treats/she won't take them when stressed, and she has no interest in toys inside and out of the panic attacks.
I make her sit because otherwise she thinks it's okay to run away from the sounds, plus when she sits she automatically looks to me to see if it's okay to walk again.

I've tried luring her with multiple things and she can't get out of the "zone" when she starts panicking with treats. She seems to relax after a bit of sitting, but as soon as we continue to walk away and she hears another sound she's more easily scared and lunges and tries to run again. It's a VERY slow process getting back home (the home-stretch is the one with all of the dogs) but no matter which path I choose there will be a dog barking and slamming their body against a window.

And I can't tell if this is what's called the Fear Period or if it's just that before I rescued her she wasn't accustomed to walks and traffic sounds.
 

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We have a 19 week rescue pup we brought home at 16 weeks and the first two weeks she was so scared of any passing car when we walked on the sidewalk. She would cower. I eventually figured out she freaked way more when they were coming towards her, so I started walking the other way to where they were approaching from behind. This helped a bit, then I started just going a small stretch and would get her running to it took a minutes for her to slow and scare. This week has been much better.
 

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i don't have much faith in the "stages". i think most issues concerning a pup is do to a
lack of training and socializing.
 

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Developmental stages are thoroughly researched and documented, however, they are not as rigid as suggested for each dog. A dog at 4 mos should get over fear of most new experiences. As suggested, distraction and redirection will help at this stage. You can try the recorder, but I don't think it is just the noise, but also the full experience. .... My pup used to fear the sewer ,,, now her wants to go explore it!

At 4 mos, I'd imagine that much of this reaction is a fear of the unknown. Many dogs are scared of noises that they cannot see.
 

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Yep, sounds like fear. I would suggest using tiny chunks of chicken or meat. If she's too afraid to take that from you, that means you're too close to the scary thing. Distance from a scary thing is really important to a dog. If she's on a leash she can't run away like her instincts tell her to do. Or she may get frustrated because she can't get closer to investigate and test the waters to see how afraid she should be. You need to increase the distance until she can take a treat. By having her sit near what she's afraid of can create "flooding," something you want to try to avoid. Flooding can cause her to become leash reactive, or dog reactive, or just fearful in general. When she panics, that's the same as being over threshold.

At that young age socialization is still very important, but you want to always keep her below threshold when introducing new things, make everything very happy and create positive associations. Here is a nice explanation of desensitization.

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/desensitization-and-counterconditioning

For example, maybe you can again take her for early morning walks when it's quieter and start desensitizing her to the traffic. Maybe you'll encounter fewer other dogs too. Once she begins to associate those things with chicken appearing she'll start to think they're great! Then you could increase the amount of exposure and decrease the distance to the scary thing gradually. It's a tough age, but she still needs the exposure to new things and will her entire life.
 

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I thoroughly agree with hanksimon .....

My new puppy just turned 16 weeks old on Wednesday. He was born in the winter. We have had little to zero bright sunshine all winter where I live. Today he saw my shadow moving on the trees in the woods ... first time ever. The sun was super bright ... something he has only seen once. He first growled at it. Then he jumped up and backed away from it ... then he went to investigate. Then he was fine with it.

This is entirely normal reaction for a "First" of anything as far as I am concerned. My puppy is super socialized ... so I would not blame it on lack of socialization.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you all for advice and information so far!
She's almost completely used to cars driving by now and most dogs, (like you guys said) depending on the distance, seem to be okay when they bark. The higher pitched barks seem to be disconcerting now, which is kind of funny to me because those seem to be the least threatening to me. Two little Pomeranians barked at her behind a fence yesterday and she tried to run away and bucked against the leash so we just walked away (with chicken near her to keep her beside me) and then I couldn't help but laugh.
I got her at 14 weeks so I mean, if she's under-socialized by anything before that she will be experiencing it with me. She turns 4 months today.

We used to walk by a Rough Collie on our walks, but the fence on one side is 4 feet and the other is like not even 3 feet high and he can fit the full top of his body over the fence just by standing on his hind legs. Boggles my mind every time I walk by that an owner would let that dog outside all the time when the fence is so short.
He lunges and barks at everyone and every dog that goes by.
Sansa is not even phased AT ALL when we go by him, not even from the beginning when it startled me and I got prepared for him to get over the fence.

We don't go by him any more, but I find it funny the dogs she decides to be scared of.
 
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