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  #1  
Old 09-29-2011, 04:35 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: rising sun md
Unhappy Terrified of cars

My pup just turned 5 months old today. Since we've gotten him at 10 weeks old, hes been deathly afraid of cars. He will either bolt like a horse, and swing his rear around so it hits the back of my knees or run in front of me. Both are very unsafe for me because 50lbs hitting the back of my knees or legs sometimes makes me trip. I really dont want him growing up and making me fall into traffic. My house sits far back off a busy country road, and behind a field, behind my house, there is a small development. He will react to any speed of vehicle. When we walk in the neighborhood and there are no cars, hes constantly turning his head around looking for a car behind him because hes so afraid. I will say no and snap the lead to get his attention again, but he will do it over and over. I walk him up and down the busy road over and over thinking hed get used to it, but he will flip out the entire time. I have him sit at the end of my drive way to get used to it, but he whips his head and watches each car and still tries to bolt at some cars. I could have him just sit or lay there for 15 minutes and he just wont relax. I try my best to pull quickly with the lead to get his attention to take his eyes off the cars. Ive tried the sit and watch me method, but he refuses to eat or be interested in any treats so i cant get his attention that way. When a car is coming towards us, he zones in on it, and i give him a correction with the lead and say NO the second he does it, but it doesnt help. We have never babied him about it saying "it's ok".
I believe this is why he was pulling me all the way home. He has gotten better about that, but it makes me sad to see him so nervous and not enjoying going for walks. what am i doing wrong????
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  #2  
Old 09-29-2011, 05:02 PM
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Location: Lynnwood, Wa
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Re: Terrified of cars

Poor fella! Those corrections are probably making him have more of a reason to be scared of the cars. For all he knows, every time he sees a car now, it is loud, moves fast, and he gets a pop from the leash.

My rottie was deathly afraid of cars too, so I know EXACTLY what you mean by the whipping around and pulling all the way back home thing. I did eventually get him to chill out, this is how I did it.

Walk out of your house and start your regular walking path and stop a good distance away from the traffic area, enough so your dog is relaxed. Play with his favorite toy, practice obedience, feed a lot of high value treats. Move a little closer. If he seems nervous, go back a ways until he is calm again. If you practice this multiple times a dayevery day, you will notice that you slowly start being able to move closer to the "loud scary" area. Once my boy was ok with taking treats around the cars, I started giving him a treat every time a car passed by and said "oh what was that?!?" Just non-chalant.

It worked!
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  #3  
Old 09-29-2011, 05:17 PM
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Re: Terrified of cars

zund....we have a 7 month old pup - that was a bit concerned about cars too when he was 3-4 months old - and this is what we did....we used a long line, and tethered him in our yard, where he was safely secured, but could move around and investigate....I was armed with tasty treats and standing within his 'circle' of access....when I heard a car nearby - I would call him, and attempt to offer the treats as the car passed....this didn't always work, depending on the speed of the car.....but most times, it did - we worked on this every afternoon...and one day, I noticed that he would hear a car, and instead of looking where he could 'retreat' - he was listening, and offering calm behavior....we started to see progress that day

When walking, I always have my treat bag on my hip, so I can reward loose lead walking, and proper 'sits' when I stop, and the like - so I just started saying his name and 'look' (any word will do) when I heard a car and if he kept his attention on me - I give him the treat. If he balked early on - I didn't pull or attempt to drag him, I just stood still and waited until he stopped trying to retreat (which happened as the car got further away), then I would start the walk up again. This is a process and takes some time, patience, well timed rewards, and not going too fast, where the pup just feels so overwhelmed, that he is POSITIVE that cars are evil.....

You could also work on this in a quiet parking lot - where parked cars are around, but the in/out traffic isn't heavy - so not a Wal-Mart - but maybe a quiet strip center with office type businesses. You can walk along the sidewalk in front of the businesses and use the above to reward him when he's calm, and just wait out the times he is not - and always end the 'session' on a positive note, while he is 'right'.....

Our pup got over this pretty quickly - and now just watches cars go by when he is out with me in the yard and it no longer negatively affects us when we are walking the neighborhood....good luck!

Others may have better thoughts on this - this is just what worked for us and without seeing your pup - it's hard to know if the two pups had a similar level of feelings on cars, if that makes sense!
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  #4  
Old 09-30-2011, 07:17 AM
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Re: Terrified of cars

Ok im going to try your methods today! Wish us luck! Thank you for your responses!
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  #5  
Old 09-30-2011, 12:16 PM
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Re: Terrified of cars

Consider this our BEST to you and your pup - that your training sessions with 'cars' go well - and soon your pup realizes that cars are just a normal part of his/her environment! (take your time on this.....if your pup becomes too overwhelmed and shows signs of shutting down on you, you've likely pushed a bit too far - call that session done and try again at a later time, or day...early on, in my opinion - it's best to cut a successful training session short, than push on and have it turn negative for the pup...)

GOOD LUCK to you both!!!

If you don't have success with this - let your trainer/class instructor know of your challenges and see if they can offer you some 'visual' pointers! (If you and your pup aren't in class - I highly recommend enrolling - and your trainer can really help you on this as well!!!)
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  #6  
Old 09-30-2011, 12:32 PM
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Re: Terrified of cars

One of my cars is pretty loud due to some performance modifications plus we have a couple of motorcycles and I've used these to help train Dakota not to be scared of vehicles. She's gotten pretty used to them. I also walked her up to and around our vehicles several times when they were just sitting there to get her used to them.

Now I need to get her out on the boat.
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