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My one-year-old lab Copper is scared of many things. I don't know why, we've had him since he was 9 weeks old and he's been pretty well socialized with people, kids, etc. but whenever we're on a walk and someone is walking behind us or walking the opposite direction as us on a walk, he starts to do a slow, cautious walk and stares the person down. And the closer the person gets the more scared he gets.
I don't want people to think he's aggressive. Just now, for instance, I was walking him and it was dark out, so I understand if he gets a little suspicious and curious when it's dark since it's hard to see, but it also happens in the daytime.
I was training him to heel ('Cause he still needs a lot of work :( !) and walking him and a man with big winter jacket and hood on started walking toward us, when the guy got closer, Copper jumped a little and tried to run away and the guy got a little upset, 'cause he thought Copper was going to attack him or something, but he just gets scared and tries to run.
I don't know if it's the energy of the person and if they seem kind of threatening to him, but it's been happening a lot lately. I don't want people to think he's aggressive.

What can I do about this?
 

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How often has your dog been socialized with people wearing hats and winter coats? I know it sounds strange, but if your dog hasn't seen many people dressed differently, then it's something entirely new to him.

Your dog really doesn't need to heel by your side the entire walk. Just work on loose leash walking methods. If you search kikopup on youtube, there's a great video for teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash.

One of my dogs is nervous on walks, too. Some dogs are just nervous like that, and it's best they don't meet people while on leash. Now, of course you don't want your dog to be SUPER uncomfortable around people on walks, either. Search "Look At That" on youtube as well, and see if it could maybe help your dog. Always have treats with you on walks and try to keep your dog focused on you when people walk by, so he's not as nervous.

If you have friends you can trust, that aren't fearful of dogs, you would work on some positive interactions outside. The basic idea is you have your friend walk by, not looking at your dog and just have them toss a treat to your dog. Don't have the person look at, or talk to the dog until the dog is comfortable with the person tossing treats from as far as distance as possible (still need to be able to toss treats, though). Then, once your dog is comfortable with this, have the person move closer, and still toss treats, not looking at or talking to the dog. Then have the person stay at the same distance and glance at your dog and toss a treat. Once your dog is comfortable with all this, have the person walk by and say something positive to your dog, and have them toss a treat.

This process will probably take a few weeks to months, depending on how nervous your dog is. The more people you can find willing to do this with your dog, the better. Don't switch through people too fast though, because you want your dog to have time to get a bit more comfortable. Have these people try new things at a slow pace, too. Such as hats, long sleeved shirts, puffy coats, etc... Anytime something changes on a person that they aren't used to seeing it can make them uncomfortable.

So, keep practicing, and in the mean time, just tell people your dog can't be pet on leash, because he's training. Try to go on the other side of the street when you can and don't force your dog to pass by too many people. You want to try and start working on positive interactions that way your dog doesn't have a long time to build up fear or anything like that.
 

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Dogs need to be socialized continuously. Like Nuc suggested, get some friends and start socializing as if he had not been socialized before.
 
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