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Hello,
So my 7 month old Blue Heeler, Aurora, has been having some trouble listening to me when we are out in public. She does perfectly fine and will listen to my commands when in a quiet place outside like in my backyard, but as soon as we go anywhere with any sort of commotion (to give an example, the main entrance street into my neighborhood, which in the middle of the day will only have one or two cars passing by every couple minutes), she will not pay any attention to me, even when I have a handful of her favorite treats or even pieces of chicken. I don’t think it has to do with being distracted necessarily because she will usually listen to me with distractions. To me, she seems more nervous than anything. If a car passes by, she will stare at it as it approaches and as it leaves and will not move an inch until it is long gone, and her ears are always up and she is constantly glancing around. When out in public, she seems to be a bit anxious and on edge, which I think is the main factor as to why she won’t listen to me. Are there any suggestions as to how to make her more comfortable to be out in public? Thank you!
 

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Is there anywhere close enough to the street that she notices it, but doesn't display the anxiety behaviors? If so, I'd start there. Just let her sniff around, make her own decisions about where to go (safely, of course! No wandering into the road or onto other people's property). Just doing this can help her learn about the scary environment at a safe distance, but you can also work on rewarding her disengaging from the 'busy' road (ie, she looks at the road for a few seconds, then turns and sniffs a bush) or engaging with you. If you do start see her getting anxious, try to gently encourage her to disengage (sometimes shifting your weight is enough, but if gentle urging doesn't work you can move up to calling her or patting your thigh, just avoid putting tension on the leash). As soon as she does, give her a marker like "yes!" or "good girl!", run a little ways away from the scary thing, and only then reward with a treat or toy.

Sounds like the jump between quiet backyard and streets, even relatively quiet streets by our definition, is a bit too much for her, so starting with very slowly exposing her to the 'scary' scenarios from a distance she can handle should help her chill out. I'm working on my own pup with his behavior around other dogs on-leash using some of these techniques - he's got issues with frustration, not fear, but it's a very similar process. Your goal is to give her some more control so she's better able to learn that the 'scary' things are safe, and that you'll help her get away from the scary thing if it's getting too much (the marking and running away). This doesn't reinforce her fear, it actually gives dogs more confidence and tools to help control their own fear, as well as more trust in you.

If you can't find any in between space where she feels comfortable, it might help to enlist a local trainer or behaviorist. One that uses positive, rewards-based methods and has experience working with fear. I've learned a lot from the books Feisty Fido by Dr. Patricia McConnell, and BAT 2.0 by Grisha Stewart - both super useful, though the first is shorter, cheaper, and less dense to get through. That's not to knock BAT 2.0 - I like it a lot - but it can be a lot to take in if you're not familiar with behavior modification, whereas Feisty Fido is a good, simple introduction.
 
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