Sudden fear on walks

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☮ Oakley- ☮

Leaves = My- bestfriend!!
Barked: Tue Nov 29, '11 3:14pm PST 
Ive noticed over the past month Oakley's behavior on walks is really different. Three major things I'm having problems with is:

1) within two blocks distance from home (in any direction/route) Oakley becomes hesitant and wants to turn back to home. She just had a well visit at the vet so she is healthy, no joint problems. I try to encourage her to continue, she's extremely food motivated and that doesn't help or when it does not for long I know she is stressed out so I don't push it and will find a nearby grassy area and let her off leash to run around and play ball and she's competly fine. I walk Sadie and Oakley together so I tried one on one training, but we didn't even make it down to the end of our street.

2) barking and growling at strangers-- she has never been vocal towards dogs or strangers on walks. Now in the last two weeks every person she sees, she sees as an enemy. She loves people, I'm pretty sure every time we have guests she'd be happy to hop in the car and go home with them. And everytime we see strangers I fight with her to get into a sit-stay cuz she's persistent to greet everybody on the streets. After thinking about it though now, I have had this problem with sadie since Ive had her and I've been slacking on Sadie's training with this issue so Oakley is picking up on the bad behavior..... I think I just answered my own question laugh out loud

3) this is an issue that I've always had with her since I've had her but, she will only potty on concrete.... I know it's probably just a preference thing but yesterday I used up my last bag to pick up Sadie's business and since Oakley never really goes on walks anyway I didn't expect her to squat and do her business in the middle of the walkway... Ya... Real challenge to figure out how to clean that one. Anyway, even in our yard, the only place she will go is on concrete. It's not a big deal at this house because we have a huge slab of concrete and she'll do it in the corner away from people walking. My fear is that the next house we are moving into in 2 months won't have that luxury of a huge slab of concrete for her to do her business as she pleases. She won't potty when leashed in the yard ( she likes her own privacy) so how can I get her to do her business on the grass. I may be asking the impossible. Oakley is all about routine and any switch ups puts her through a loop and definetly doesn't like it.

Sorry for it being so long but I'm just at a loss of what to do....

Patience...it's- what I've got.
Barked: Wed Nov 30, '11 9:13am PST 
It sounds to me like a fear period. I don't know that I know quite enough on the topic to really advise you, but http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/DevelopmentalStages.html has some information on fear periods that may point you in the right direction.
☮ Oakley- ☮

Leaves = My- bestfriend!!
Barked: Wed Nov 30, '11 3:53pm PST 
Thanks violet! smile

Oakley is a very sensitive dog, so it makes sense. I've seem her go through fears periodically within the home (not going certain rooms or wary of certain people) and also in our yard, but never on walks it's her favorite thing to do. She shuts down so easily so I do have to take half a step at a time. Patience I think will be the key here smile


Occupy Dog St.
Barked: Wed Nov 30, '11 4:01pm PST 
Oaklely, this is kind of random, but you happen to come from a pet store and/or were you weaned from you mum/siblings/other dogs later than 8 weeks?
Piper- (2011-2012)

Barked: Wed Nov 30, '11 5:39pm PST 
As far as the barking/growling at strangers - Depending on how old Oakely is this may be a fear period, or it may be a reactivity issue that just hasn’t reared its head until maturity. I noticed in some of your older posts that you had stated that Oakley and Sadie both would often bark and growl at people when you walked them but you had worked on this, so this may be a problem in her socializing. This tends to be an issue with a lot of smaller dogs. Either way we’re not worried as much about causation as we’re worried about fixing the issue at hand.

Depending on what her stress level is, what I would do is the following: Take her to a place like a public park, outside an elementary school, a café, outside of a retail store, someplace that gets a lot of people traffic. Then sit far enough away that she can focus yet still know that the people are there, and (since you said she’s food motivated) run her through his commands and let her know that just because there are other people she’s okay, you’re in control, and nothing bad needs to happen, no contact need be made, she just needs to accept them as, most basically, background noise. Treat her a lot for calm behavior, and it may take quite a few times but eventually headway will be made.

As far as the waking issue – It sounds to me like Oakley is fairly co-dependent on Sadie if you could not get far without her there. I think the best way to deal with a problem like that one is to build confidence with them individually. Taking separate training class with each of them could be really beneficial for this.

The concrete problem is a material preference issue. You just have to wait it out. If it is necessary for her to do her business on a leash just pretend its potty training 101 again and wait her out on that leash, if she doesn’t go after a while just bring her back in and put her in the crate for fifteen-twenty minutes or so and back out she goes. Eventually mother nature will take it into her hands and after that barrier is broken the first time it’s all down-hill.

Edited by author Wed Nov 30, '11 5:39pm PST

☮ Oakley- ☮

Leaves = My- bestfriend!!
Barked: Wed Nov 30, '11 6:08pm PST 
Tonika, they came from a breeder it was birthday present for my 15th birthday so I had no control over what my parents were doing partly cause it was a surprise. They came home at 12 weeks. I know this partly where her sensitivity stems from. Im more educated then my parents at 15 and now and new not to by from puppy mill buyers but I did not expect a dog ever let alone two. My parens don't really like pets.

She was a great dog from the day I got her until about 7 months. Well socialized, loved being around and playing with dogs, a pretty confident dog all around. However at 7 months or so old, Sadie and Oakley were attacked by two off leash bullmastiffs. From then Sadie has been able to heal mentally and emotionally. However, Oakley not so much. She's ten times better but she doesn't trust dogs and new situations stress her out. She was still a puppy at the time so it really set her back.

As for Sadie and Oakley's co-dependence on each other, they can live and thrive without each other. Sometimes they do all they can to avoid each other. Sadie is Oakley's confidence booster on walks. I'm not enough to sway her towards Gettig her to walk. When me and my brother walk them he takes Sadie and I take Oakley. He runs ahead with sadie while I tag slowly behind (knee injury) and Oakley doesn't stress out when sadie far ahead or out of sight but if I walk out the door with a leash on Oakley and not on Sadie it's a different story. Also I can leash Oakley up and taker her to groomer/vet without Sadie and she's totally fine. She just doesn't seem to get that a dogs not going to get her everytime we go walking.

As for the barking, they both had the problem as pups but I curved Oakley's behavior quickly but Sadie is stubborn to learn. That was when they were just pups and a casual walk was soo much stimulation. Ive narrowed her barking and growling down to a protection thing more than a "I don't like you I'm going to bite human aggression" living in the OC we see people in shirts and shirts 10 out of 12 months. Last winter was not as cold as this year so we still saw light clothing being worn. Well I've noticed that she will only bark at people wearing big jackets with hoods on. So we will be working on this problem hard. Ive worked hard with Sadie over the past week and shes picking the training back up that I was lacking on due to less walks (same knee injury)

Thanks for the great advice! All is very helpful smile patience and work is my number one thing with her.