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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20175
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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14 week old lab puppy afraid to walk on leash....appears to

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14 week old lab puppy afraid to walk on leash....appears to be afraid of car noises. What can I do?
hi JaCustomer,

My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.

Has she completed all her vacciantions?
So she will walk with a leash on if it is to get a treat on the ground, but doesn't want to walk next to you, correct?
Will she walk around with the leash on in the house?
What does she do with car noises that leads you to believe she is afraid?
Is what you have mentioned all you have tried?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes she had all vaccinations at 12 weeks. She has been taken to park and she is fine off leash. no cars. Her response to cars and trains is shaking and heart pounding.She walks round house with leash on. When she sees it initially she tries to get away. She is a fairly obedient dog. Sitting on command housetrained sleeping in a crate all night, fetching and returning balls.Very sociable with people and other dogs. Walking on leash without fear is the only problem.


Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. First I want to start with how I train dogs to walk on a leash properly. It is very effective.

The first thing I would do is keep the leash on her as much as possible even in the house. You don't want her thinking of the leash as something to fear at all or avoid. . You always want the leash on your dog before leaving the house. Make your pup sit or lie down before leaving. You walk out first and the dog should follow you out.

The best way to walk is for the dog to be right at your side or slightly behind. You dog should always be paying attention to you, frequently glancing at you to be sure you haven't changed your mind about where you are going. I will be using the word correction. A correction will indicate a short quick tug and release of the leash. You can add the word "NO" but for walking I generally just use a short tug to get the dog's attention back on you. It shouldn't be a jerk just a tug.

If your pup won't move or is hesitant, stopping, laying down, a stinky, tasty treat usually convinces them to follow. I use almost paper think pieces of hot dog (vienna sausage) as the oil from them coats your hand and keeps the smell on your hand. Let the dog smell the treat in your closed hand. If they get up and come to your side, feed them the treat. Put another in your closed fist and let the dog smell it as you move forward. The dog should follow. Don't just put it in your fingers as the pup may nip to get the treat. Use a closed fist and just open it so the pup can get the treat off your palm. If she normally doesn't move forward, reward her with a treat and verbal praise when she does. Gradually increase the amount of steps she must take by your side, smelling your hand in order to get a treat. Before you know it, your dog will be walking right next to you all the time, with or without treats. When you stop, praise your dog with your voice or a few pats to let your dog know how good she has done.

Important note: If she starts to stop or lays down, do not give her a treat, as this will teach her that if she does that you will give the treat. Try to time it so that she is always moving forward when a treat is given.

Start in your own yard or even in the house where there is minimal distractions and you won't have car noises to deal with. Once she is walking on a leash, she may start moving in front or pulling away from you. Keep your leash short, but without pressure on it. If the dog starts moving away, a correction toward you should be made. This shouldn't be a dragging, but more of a tug to get their attention. Occasional treats help with this phase too. If they stay where they belong for a time, reward them. Once your dog is pretty much always walking at your side, you will want to make a correction any time they stop paying attention to you. For instance, they are looking at a cat in a yard, give a correction so they look at you. They are busy looking ahead and haven't glanced at you for awhile, give a correction and reverse your direction. Do not stop and wait for the dog, just a quick correction and reverse and walk. They learn to keep an eye on you as well as on what else is going on.

This method should take care of your problem but we will need to address the noise issue as well. What I normally suggest is taping the actual noise that your dog appears to be scared of and playing it back at low volumes while you praise and feed your dog tasty treats. Gradually you increase the volume as long as the pup is not showing anxiety and the dog eventually associates the sound with the tasty treat and good things and is no longer scared.

Often DAP collars available online and in stores are used in conjunction with desensitation and studies have proven them effective in conjunction with training. They are also able to be used wiht medications if necessary since it is a pheromone rather than medication. So I would recommend getting a dap collar as well to reduce any noise anxiety. Remember to not reward any fearful behavior with attention or reassurance as that only encourages the behavior. Ignoring it as much as possible is best.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
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