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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Blue has been with us for 2.5 months now. She is from rural Georgia and we live in a large town.

She is very fearful of city noises - buses, large crowds, the subway, any stairs or ramps leading down (up she will go, but reluctantly), large halls, corridors. She might stop dead/crouch reluctantly forward and/or shiver. She loves people but can get frantic around them (jumping, licking, getting real close physically with this nervous energy).

She is dry in the house, except for when some people come over (not all) or things get hairy with our kids (meaning when my husband or me raise our voices). She's been having accidents more often the past two days, and the only thing that has changed is that I am walking her to the busy town square and took her into the subway station for a brief moment (on my arms). She shivered through the experience and at times wouldn't even take treats. So clearly she was overwhelmed.

I know that the best way would be to keep the triggers low and a high intensity treat ready and expand on that. But how do I do that in city streets? A bus might come down the street we need to cross to get to the park.

Do I simply walk away when I see one to what I figure is a safe distance and reward with a treat? What do I start with? Should I work with her on this every day?

With our guests I have just started taking her out after they get here (about 15 min. into the visit) and then again just before they leave. It worked yesterday and she didn't pee anywhere. I also didn't have her with us the whole visit.

Do I stop having people over for a while, tone it down to a few but have those same people come often? Or just keep her separated in another room and only expose her to the guests for a little while?

Any advice would be appreciated. Including literature. I've read The cautious canine by McConnell but it is more geared towards dogs who are fearful of humans.
 

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Do I simply walk away when I see one to what I figure is a safe distance and reward with a treat? What do I start with? Should I work with her on this every day?

Or just keep her separated in another room and only expose her to the guests for a little while?


Yes. You need to make things as low key as possible. That might cut into walks or result in her being away from guests in another room, but for now that's better than overwhelming her with scary people/things. Take your key from her behavior. If she's shaking, frantic and peeing everywhere, it's way too much.

Kabota is from rural Kentucky and his first month with us he was especially reactive to things: the clink of his collar on his food bowl, the sound traffic lights make when they change, the wind snapping a flag around, garbage trucks, etc. He wasn't as bad as Blue, but it does take some managing to handle, i.e., avoiding flags if we've already run into the traffic light, learning the garbage routes to avoid them, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do I simply walk away when I see one to what I figure is a safe distance and reward with a treat? What do I start with? Should I work with her on this every day?

Or just keep her separated in another room and only expose her to the guests for a little while?


Yes. You need to make things as low key as possible. That might cut into walks or result in her being away from guests in another room, but for now that's better than overwhelming her with scary people/things. Take your key from her behavior. If she's shaking, frantic and peeing everywhere, it's way too much.

Kabota is from rural Kentucky and his first month with us he was especially reactive to things: the clink of his collar on his food bowl, the sound traffic lights make when they change, the wind snapping a flag around, garbage trucks, etc. He wasn't as bad as Blue, but it does take some managing to handle, i.e., avoiding flags if we've already run into the traffic light, learning the garbage routes to avoid them, etc.
Should I actively work on this (like start with the buses, watch her to back off when she is getting anxious and then stop, giving treats and slowly work my way closer to buses) or just give her time and keep things quiet, but essentially hope that she'll get used to all of it by herself?
 

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I had a similar situation with our Schnauzer pup who was born on a farm and moved to a top floor condo in the city-- I cut out her city walks for awhile and did mainly beach walks to give her some relief-- our home is right on a busy city street with a busline on it-- one thing that helped I think is we have our front windows that face the street open alot (there are bars accross the windows left over from when our daughter was a toddler- so neither dog or child can fall out)-- and she now doesnt react to most city sounds-- she can also sit and look out the windows as well...She does do plenty of gratuitous barking but that is for fun, not fear based, I think. And when we do walk on the sidewalk to get to the Park she just moves right along eager to get to the park.
 

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Play the "look at that" game. It can be done from a distance (once tou determine her threshold -where she starts getting nervous and where shes fine you'll obviously want to do this when shes comfortable and still under her threshold) just getting her to look at the object and treating it. You can eventually decrease the distance as she learns that it's not that bad - eventually building up to being right by the object without nervousness or anxiousness.
 

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Have you had her checked out by a vet yet? It sounds like she may suffer from anxiety (If you already answered that somewhere above, sorry, as I just skimmed this thread).
 
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