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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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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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