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Hi - have only recently joined this forum but am learning things already from all you dog mums and dads out there.

I have a beautiful greyhound called Pridey who is 5 1/2. She has been with us just over a year and is the most loving, sweet thing. We love her to bits! That is why i wondered if anyone could help me with her one little flaw.

She is very confident and feels totally safe inside the house and loves nothing better than to lounge around going between her several beds round the house or to lie in her basket and just watch what is going on. However, when I go to take her out for a walk she is sometimes - not always - really reluctant to go, even really digging in her paws so that I have to practically drag her out the door, which I hate doing.

She is quite nervy outside. We live in a village which is fairly quiet but any noises such as car doors slamming suddenly, crow startlers cracking or people out shooting game - in fact any loud cracking noise, even people chopping wood, has her pulling for home. And now I think she anticipates these things even before she steps outside the door. However, she can walk past a tractor at speed and not bat an eyelid!

However, I did say this doesn't always happen. Sometimes we go out and she is bouncing at the door when you get her lead. My boyfriend and I take her for 'pack' walks together where we go to the beach or fields where she can run free and chase her ball - and she absolutely loves this.

We have spoken to a dog behaviourist who advised us to just look forward and keep walking when she pulled back. We have tried this for a while now but she is not much better when she feels nervy. It just ends with me pulling her which I don't like and if she is scared of something I would prefer to try and help her in a different way than just pulling her.

I also meant to say that once we get out the door and start out she usually calms down a bit and walks along fine. However I am nervous to let her off the lead when she is in a nervous mood in case she suddenly takes fright at something and bolts off.

If anyone has the same problem or can advise me please let me know as I really want to help her through this. Not knowing her history makes it difficult as there could be something there too. I am confused as to how to help at the moment and find that each walk is a case of testing the water when preparing for it as to her mood. How can I help her love her walks again and look forward to them?
 

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I am not an animal behaviorist or a trainer, but many years at rescue has taught me some things. I sounds as if Pridey may have been a racing dog and certain sounds make her nervous. You will need to desensitize her to them. A Thunder Shirt can be helpful in situations such as these. I would also suggest recording some of the sounds that make her nervous and play them indoors, while she is wearing the Thunder Shirt, so she can gain confidence. Reward her with a small treat so she associates a good thing with the noises. Only do this for very short periods of time so she doesn't become too stressed. Do not talk to her in a high pitched voice, but remain calm yourself and stay quiet. Dogs communicate by looking in our eyes and by body language, so if you are anxious, she will be anxious.

Look for websites that help desensitize dogs afraid of sounds. Only use positive reinforcement methods.
 
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