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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 6 month old blue heeler puppy was separated from her litter at 5 weeks and I would put money on it that is the reason she is so anxious. We do not have a fenced in back yard and she is at the point where I can't take her for walks or barely take her to use the bathroom in the front yard because the few passer-by cars frighten her. Her fight or flight kicks in and she will either try and run after them or cower between my legs. She gets very upset in the car or when I've tried taking her into a store. The park seems to be too much as well. She is frightened of other dogs (even though she does great with our other one at home.) We are very slowly working with a trainer but in the mean time with me not being able to exercise her more effectively she turns into a looney toon in the house, even gets a bit aggressive with growling and snapping. We do puzzles and play fetch down the hall but until we can get her confidence up I'm not sure how to entertain her other than that! Any suggestions on this?
 

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I would stop taking her out into public places, since it isn’t doing any good at this point. Does she have any basic obedience training?, start some in the house, make it a happy and good thing for focusing on *you*, lots of treats and toys for rewards, maybe some tug, if she tugs at all. Once her indoor obedience is solid, take her outside, and practice there, lots of reward for focusing on you. She’ll hear the cars go by but learn they aren’t all bad, she should be focusing on you at this point and not the cars. Once she builds confidence there move a little further and work with her there, if she is showing too much anxiety or fear, move back to where she is comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much! She does have some good basic behavior training which has been helpful. Working on building confidence inside first makes total sense!
 

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How is it going with Bloo’s confidence? I was training my puppy and thought of something else that might help her. Having her “get up” onto objects. Start with something short, large(surface area) and sturdy, maybe a laundry basket? Slowly moving to more advanced objects, smaller and smaller, then maybe something that wobbles. For example, my puppy can walk across 6inch logs that wobble. It’s important to advance at the dogs pace since forcing her into doing something that she isn’t comfortable with can backfire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you so much for asking!! Unfortunately things have not been great. We evacuated our home in preparation for hurricane Florence and Bloo has spent a week+ in unfamiliar places and stressful situations (including hours of car rides!). We've had some set backs. We arrived back home Thursday and by Friday she was a full blown monster! It's been so challenging but in only a day and a half of consistent routine and working with her today we had a breakthrough. Doesn't mean tomorrow won't be a challenge! Hahaha! Once we get back into our groove I would LOVE to work with her on things like that!!!
 

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Sorry to hear that you had setbacks but it’s good to hear you made it through the hurricane. My brother was near the heart of Florence, the marines wouldn’t let him evacuate. He said it was rough.
 

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If she is unable to be comfortable even in her front yard, I would consider seeking out a behaviourist and/or asking your vet for a behaviour consult about trying anti-anxiety medications. The right medciation and dose will make it easier for you to teach your pup that the world is in fact a safe place. I know they're not for everyone, but they made an immense difference in my girl who couldn't go for walks because the sound of a single car going by caused her to panic and try to run for home. I really like this article for explaining what the different medications are and how they work. The author is also a board-certified veterinary behaviourist: http://www.drjensdogblog.com/behavior-medication-first-line-therapy-or-last-resort/
 
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