Scared on the trail???

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trajuette's picture
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Joined: 2009-12-02

Hi everyone it's been while since I've been on. 

I wasn't sure where to post this.

Now that it seems the weather has broke here in Ohio,Dallas and I have been able to get outside for
some short runs on the trail.  He seems to be getting scared when a runner or biker approached us from the other direction or passes us and pulls behind me to try to run away.  I'm not sure how to handle this, as I see them coming I start talking to him and telling him "good boy" while he's heeling properly so he knows that's what I want him to do but as they get right in front he freaks then  he starts to pull.  I tell him no and try to get him back to heel position, sometimes I have to stop.  I really enjoy going out with him, but don't want it to be a struggle.  Do I just need to continue going so he can get use to it?  I tried to socialize him as much as could while he was a pup ( well he still is - 7 mos)  but its hard durning the winter here. 

Thanks

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Joined: 2010-01-18

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Hi trajuette,

It sounds like you're rewarding fear. When the person starts coming, the puppy gets a little scared, you tell him 'good boy' which rewards the fear. Also, I bet you're tensing yourself when someone starts coming - or otherwise reacting - which will signal to the puppy that something is wrong.

The way to fix this is to first be mindful of your own disposition. Make sure you stay relaxed and confident. Also, don't reward the puppy's fear. Just ignore it. Treat him like he's being a goofball. You can even give a light verbal correction and a light tough on his side with your foot to snap him out of the initial fear.

And don't pull him along. Pulling on a lead causes a dog to plant himself, they can hardly help it. If he stops and tries to run off, just wait, ignore him, until he sees how foolish he's being. Then give him the heel command and continue on.

Any soothing or encouraging efforts when a dog is displaying fear, anxiety, aggression, or any other unwanted behavior will worsen that behavior.

trajuette's picture
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Joined: 2009-12-02

Thanks horseatingweeds, I will try that. 

I thought I was rewarding him for good behavior before he paniced, but I see what you mean.

I appreciate the advice :)