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Does anyone have any tips for dealing with a fearful dog? I've decided to start walking my neighbors two dogs, a senior retriever mix(who loves me now that I've started walking her!) and a Chi x Pug mix, who's VERY scared and skittish. She's NEVER been walked in her lifetime(she's 2 or so, I'd say), and I feel horrible for them. I knew she was fearful going into it. Today the owner put her on the leash and collar I brought(they don't even own one for her, and they can't find their one leash....I have like 5 for my 2 dogs haha). Once the door closed, she had a freak out. I posted about this somewhere else as well, so I'll copy what I said I did.

"So, I left the collar with them to put on her while I was walking Zoey, and they clipped on the leash when I came back. The lady closed the door...and she freaked out. I slowly squatted down to be more on her level, and very very very slowly offered my hand out, but she freaked and hid under the chair on their porch. I realized I wasn't going to get her out with a treat(was even cheese flavored...I wonder if their dogs have ever had treats, or at least why they don't accept them?), so I slowly lifted the chair up and, again, very very very slowly held my hand out. She wasn't interested in sniffing me though, so I continued moving my hand until my one finger gently touched her side. She didn't flip on me as I'd expected, so I just continued to stroke her with my finger, and stayed calm. Then I moved my fingers up by her neck, because the collar was a bit too big. She let me make it smaller, and got her to come out from under the chair(this was the big victory!). From there, I slowly stood up, and had to tug a teensy bit(tug isn't even a word for it, more of just a quick "lets go!") to get her to go down the stairs(she's not exactly fond of them), but it was smooth walking for a minute or two! She was obviously a little awkward on lead, but I highly doubt she's EVER been on a leash in her entire life. We got a little bit out and I decided to pull out my phone and take a pic of her for you guys...bad idea. She freaked out, and was super scared. I tried to reach out my hand slowly again, but she just snapped(obviously not aimed at my hand, rather at the air as a warning) and backed up to the very end of the lead. I ended up bringing her back after that, she would NOT walk any further(of course I didn't pull or anything, didn't want to scare her any more). She's going to be a tough case to crack, but I'm up for the challenge! I've never worked with a dog with any real behavioral issues(only small things like pulling), so this is a bit new to me, but I feel confident in my abilities, because I'm actually REALLY good at reading dogs accurately(just one of my gifts I guess), so next time hopefully I'll get her to at least the stop sign :3"

Yes, cheese flavored treats. I didn't figure I'd get her to eat them anyway(neither of their dogs take treats, not sure why...I even tried real cheese). Obviously I won't be taking any more pictures now, I think I startled her because my ringer was on and it made a click sound. So, I'll just be very gentle with her, of course.

I was just wondering if anyone had any advice, as I've never delt with a fearful dog before ;) I'm generally VERY good at reading dogs and knowing what to do(it's kind of a gift, because I knew what to do BEFORE I learned dog language from books and such). Thanks to anyone who replies! :)

~IJMB
 

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I would spend some time with her in places where she is more comfortable, and make very small steps on the walking. You might also want to use a harness instead of a collar, and let her come to you rather than you forcing attention on her.
 

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Just had a minipoodle x maltese in the kennel that was absolutely terrified when I walked into her pen with her dinner. Screamed blue murder from under her bed. Long story short, we made friends through a lot of patience and rewarding small steps. By the next day she jumped into my arms and was as happy as larry playing with all the other little uns.
 

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Bring a book, some pieces of cut up hot dog and just go sit with her and toss her a treat whenever she looks your way. Then stop treating and just read. Pat the other one in front of her. Go slow.
 
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