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Hi all!

I recently adopted an 8 week old chihuahua terrier mix. She is very bright and has already learned to pee on command in the 5 days I've had her! She is also extremely social and outgoing, and loves people, dogs, and even cats! However, she has a really weird fear of a leash....when someone else is holding it. I realize I have only had her for a short amount of time, but she has picked up on everything but this, and I fear this will become an issue when she gets older.
FYI, I have trained dogs since I was 11 (I am 26 now) in competitive obedience, and I have NEVER run up against this before. Here's what happens:

I will attach the leash to her harness or collar (I have tried both, and have now resorted to only a harness), and she will gleefully pull it around the house/yard. Doesn't mind that it's there at all!

However, as soon as I pick up the other end....she FREEZES. Will not move at all, in my own direction or hers. She just stops. And she looks terrified, might I add. I have tried to gently tug it, and even resorted to dragging her *a few* steps (with the harness, I would never even attempt to drag with a collar...and it was only for a step or 2), and she dug her toes into the ground.

Here's the weirdest part: If I drop her leash and pretend to walk away, she will follow behind me - and WAY behind me....but never in front. But if I even so much as *motion* to pick up the other end, she sits and will not budge. Food is no motivation for training with this particular dog. She is the type who normally responds quite well to verbal and physical praise, but in this instance she doesn't even care about praise when I am holding the leash. For the life of me, I can't figure out why.

Have any of you run up against this with a puppy? I have successfully trained 4 dogs on my own in my lifetime and have never had a problem such as this one, although I'll admit to having owned only Collies and Shelties, so perhaps this is a toy breed thing.... Any tips/tricks/ideas? Please feel free to email me privately if you don't care to post a public message. Thanks everyone!

Anne
 

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I would try leashing her (on a fairly long line, with lots of slack) and sitting in a chair with a book. Don't make her think you expect anything of her. Scatter a few treats on the ground around her -- high-value ones that smell really good -- and just ignore her completely. No talking, no eye contact... let her get used to it on her own.
 
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