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I recently adopted a sweet eight month old girl from the local human society. This will be her third full day at my home.
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Her name is Luna, and she is very, very sweet. Her first day here she was rather nervous and she wouldn't lay down, she just paced and sniffed and paced and sniff. Since then, she has become quite loving, comes when called, and is very much a lady. She isn't scared of being inside my apartment, but going outside is a whole different story. She is scared of the door, and I have a hard time getting her to walk out. Then we have to walk down one flight of stairs. I have to carry her most of the way down and if I sit her on the last four or five stairs I can get her to walk down those. Today she walked all the way up them by herself and I was so happy I just sat down and hugged her! I think she is coming along rather well, but I want to make her more comfortable. I also want to eventually be able to take her to the park, because I originally wanted a dog as a running partner. I know it's important to wait until they're at least a year old to really run with them, and of course I will, but I want to get her started at least being able to walk with me at the park soon, mostly for her own sake. She has never been leash trained, and that is mostly what I am asking for help with. How do you train a scared, nervous dog on a leash? I don't want to traumatize her any more than she has already been. Apparently her last owner just cooped her, her two sisters, and her mother in a kennel and never had anything to do with them, and it resulted in all of them being very fearful.
Oh, and if anyone has any ideas on what kind of mix she might be. She currently weights 23 pounds (she is a bit emaciated, but we're working on that!) and the shelter said she was a Great Pyrenees/Border Collie mix, but I don't see any of that in her personally. To me she looks like she may have some Whippet or Greyhound in her, because of her long beautiful legs and nose.
Anyway, any advice or answers would be great! My boyfriend is convinced I will never get her to be brave enough to run at the park with me, but I believe he is wrong. Thanks everyone!
 

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Congratulations on your new dog!!!

Because it's only day 3, it's way too soon to know if your dog is truly fearful. Right now, she's just in over her head! Give her a couple of weeks or so. By then, you will have a must better understanding of her base-line personality.

Learn all that you can about positive reinforcement training. If she is a nervous dog, this will be the best way for you to train.

Does your dog love food? If so, leverage that! Save really, really good treats. Feed them at the bottom of the steps, feed them at the park. Make her excited to get to those places for yummy treats.

Best wishes to you and your new dog!

Oh, and in order for anyone to have a good breed guess, you will need a different picture! You picture is absolutely adorable, but not a good one for guess at breed. We need more profile and more body!
 

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Lab mix? She is cute!

I agree with trainingjunkie, she's unsocialized and stressed from being in a totally new environment. She'll mostly likely calm down with time and patience. It takes 6 weeks at a minimum for an adopted dog to settle in. It took my dog about 6 months, though the worst of the sort of behaviors you are describing were over in 2 weeks. Kabota was afraid of doorways, flags flapping in the breeze, cars going by, pretty much anything. I just stayed calm and worked "look at me". (Hold a treat in front of your eyes. When the dog looks at the treat click if you use a clicker and say "look at me".) Now he doesn't even react to bicycles whipping right by us.

I honestly think that given time and patience and gentle, positive training methods, she'll be running at the park with you in no time!

Oh, and if she's emaciated, she may just be having trouble with the stairs due to lack of muscle. Feed her a good, high protein food like Wellness Core or TOTW, or feed raw. That combined with gentle exercise will help build muscle and make things easier for her.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you all for the advice!
I will just wait for her to get used to her new home and having people actually love her, I'm just a new worried mommy since I haven't ever adopted a dog before.
I never thought of her having trouble with the stairs due to the lack of muscle! That is a very valid assumption and I am glad you made that point, thank you!
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For leash training, get her a collar and put a short (cheap?) leash on her collar and let her drag it around in the house. Watch to make sure it doesn't get caught in the furniture...
 
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