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DargoPup821

Im really afraid to walk my dog

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My dog Dargo is a Golden Retriever, and he is 7 years old. Bout a year ago, he spotted another dog and its owner and chased after it, dragging me and pulling me down our driveway (which is a hill of rough concrete). I ended up with a few big scars, and ever since then ive been terrified to walk Dargo. Whenever I do, Im on edge, I keep trying to pull him really close to me, and if any person or dog is anywhere in sight, i get extremely scared and end up just going back home really quickly. I cant walk him at night since its too dark and everyone in the house goes to bed early. What can I do to be less anxious and scared?

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stellnme   

Post in General Discussion - more people will see it there and offer suggestions.

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welcome :) 
I am so sorry you are feeling so very anxious and unsure . 
yes! put your question  in the forum  HERE  (click on the "HERE")  .

You and your boy will probably need the help of a recommended professional 'dog trainer' who can build up your confidence, and teach you skills to get back out there after your scare , but you will find out more over there>>>>>>>>  

This help forum is for help regarding tech aspects of the actual forum ..not doggy stuff ;) 

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Tassie   

It's in General Discussion now.  

Sorry that you had such a bad experience.  Having a dog walk nicely and safely on a loose leash requires quite a bit of training ..and I wouldn't be doing that on a steep driveway.  .. Better to start in your yard, if you have a flattish area .. and somewhere with few distractions.  Or you could drive to a flatter area with quiet paths. There is equipment like a balance harness, and or a well fitting head halter  .. preferably one which controls from the back of the neck rather than the side of the head).which will help during the training process, but you really need help fitting it and learning to use it appropriately.  So getting in an accredited (not franchised) behaviourist/trainer would be good.   Or if you're in the Perth area, there are some really good positive reinforcement training clubs who would probably be able to help.

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I walk two Labs and a Springer together.  I'm in a small town in a rural area and opportunities for socialization are limited, and it's a long drive to get to any sort of training.  It can get crazy when another dog approaches, especially if the dog is off leash.  I tend to walk before dawn, which avoids most other dogs and there are a few streets I avoid. 

The Springer is much better in a harness than a collar.  A prong collar (initially used under guidance from a trainer) has helped to teach the younger and more reactive of the labs not to pull me off my feet when a dog approaches. 

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Oooh I've been there! But now I quite happily walk an excitable springer and a reactive bull arab cross in tandem on harnesses. It took time to get to this stage, but it has been worth it to build all our confidences. It's amazing what practice and good experiences can do to help you all be at ease! Our most recent success was double dog loose lead walking in our harnesses pass two reactive labradors * and I'm pleased as punch with my two idiots.

What you will find most beneficial to help you with your new(ish) found fears is practice and good experiences for you both. This is where exposure in controlled and safe environments will help you most, and by extension help your lead handling so you're not sending all your nerves down the line to the canine end. Every time you pull him close and on short leads from fears, you are setting him on alert and alarm as well regardless of how he is attached to you. But knowing that and not doing it are very different things! I had that problem with my springer, and it was repeated practice in a managed environment that has helped me regain my self control on that and his leash reactivity pretty much disappeared. The circle method for loose lead walking helped with the rest of it and instead of reacting back he will circle around me and keep following (excitedly lol but he's a springer)

 

You could practice walking in places at a safe distance where people are most likely to be responsible - eg. a pet store or at a dog sports event. I personally just spent my weekend lurking around the corners of the Dances with Dogs workshops (to see how my dog would feel about it (would need a few more visits to find out) and then wandering around looking at sheep (Thistle would dearly like to chase so wanted to practice some loose leash circle-handling and self control :) )

 

But honestly I would highly encourage some kind of group training environment - having a person who's hands are NOT occupied by a dog at current goes very far to helping ensure you can get some controlled positive experiences in being in and around other dogs - even if you need to start further away for your own comfort level. And as your confidence and good experiences grow, so does your dog's positive experiences and skills.

 

Not only the support of a trainer, but you will hopefully get some human support as well. It is understated, but I think having supportive people who see you working hard and cheering you on is very important to rebuilding your own confidence and progressing :) DOL can help with that as well, but the in person support is absolutely valuable so I hope you can find some. Even if it is just a new walking buddy to help you settle your nerves. I got my walking buddy from DOL :)


* I don't hold it against the guy, he's clearly working on his two dogs with some lovely custom looking head halters. I wish him the best of luck and will ensure we take another street if we see him again to let him have his confidence building successes too :)

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