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Pre-Story: I adopted my pittie about a month and a half ago via my local shelter's adoption drive. She's been a dream, loves me and my partner (although she seems to see him as a pack member, and me as the alpha because i'm much firmer on what i do and don't allow, no toe nibbling, no dinner plate sniffing, she doesn't get to bump me out of the way, etc). She's a little over a year old, and she's been quite a mystery since we got her, because there were no records when she came up to Virginia from North Carolina. She's fully vet-checked and up to date on surgeries, vaccines etc, but aside from that we have no idea what she came from. She does appear to be terrified of things that are similar to guns (make gun sounds, cars backfiring, etc although strangely doesn't react to them on TV) but aside from that we've had very little trouble with her reactions to much of anything.

Real story is, I took her on her evening walk last week, same as every single day she's been with us, and she got spooked by a kid riding a bike. Since then, when we go for walks, day or night, she's always looking behind her, and will stop dead for no (apparent) reason. She'll sit down, and will just pull back against her collar/leash, and STARES at me, as if to say "WHY THE HECK ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME, YOU HORRIBLE PERSON."

She's still excited when I get out her leash, and when we start walking, but out of nowhere she will stop dead on the sidewalk,just sit down and shut down. Sometimes a treat will get her to start walking again, but most times I have to turn around and go back (at which point she gets excited and keeps a quick stride going, so she's obviously not in pain, she just wants to go back).

I can't think of anything that changed in the last 3 weeks at all, except that kid on the bike. How can i convince her it's perfectly alright to go out (day or night) and there's no demon child stalking her or me? The walks haven't been nearly long enough, and aside from playing in the backyard, that was our main way of getting her daily exercise so she's been a mischievous snip since.

Suggestions? Hints? Should I hunt down the kid and smash his bike? (JUST KIDDING). But really, would love some advice.
 

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On face value without knowing anything about the dog's history, I'd say she's just not used to being walked in the big wide world yet. It's possible her previous owners just left her in the back yard and she's still getting used to all the new sights, sounds and smells out there. She should get more confidence the more exposure she gets to new environments.
 

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Sounds complicated and without seeing the behavior it is hard to say what will help. my suggestion is to find a trainer in your area and work with them to help her through this. Sounds fear based (obviously) but also a lack of proper socialization as a pup. Should get better with some training.
 

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Lack of socialization will provoke these fear based reactions. I would continue to expose her to these situations and different environments you will need to build up trust and confidence in your dog this comes with time and proper training. Avoiding her fears will not solve the problem proper training and trust will. I do agree that having a professional trainer there with you can help them get a better observation of the behavior and the best way to tackle it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@ everybody : hey thanks for quick responses!

@ aus_staffy : well see that's the thing, she's been walking on a leash SPECTACULARLY since we got her from the adoption event (there were like 30 some odd dogs and piles of people outside, and she didn't even pull us on the leash moments after meeting her) and it was this kid-on-a-bike event that seems to have turned the tide for her. we go for afternoon and evening walks EV-ER-Y day. so i'm surprised at the sudden change in something she had up until that moment, enjoyed.

@performanceknls : true we don't know anything about her puppyhood, but just a couple weeks ago my partner and i took her to a family reunion of mine, and she did SO WELL, even with kids she'd never met being all hyper and pokey around her. so far, she seems to have been socialized well enough....

@Sadie : ^^ about socialization, ++ about finding a trainer, i've been slow to get there because thus far she hasn't presented us a situation we couldn't navigate/solve on our own. when we're out on walks, should i just guide her along? generally if i take her collar (or even reach for it) she'll walk places she apparently doesn't want to go (into her kennel when she see's we're leaving, or into our bedroom for the night if she's midnight hyper and in PLAY RIGHT NOW mode, lol.) i could just kind of continually lead her by the collar, but that means i'm walking at a 45 degree angle the whole way, and that's no fun...and i doubt it would be enjoyable for her either. until we find a trainer, how do i convince her to walk down the side of the street that she's avoided since the initial kid-on-a-bike incident?
 

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My in laws dog does that due to not like being far from the house. That dog is 100% house dog. Onyx did that from time to time, i just used treats to lure hom thru that area in the park. The more i lured thru the park he got over it. I also mixed up walk routes to try to identify the problem. It was a area in the local playground. I took my girls and onyx got thru it faster and with less stress.

Havent had a problem since. Total confident and fearless walk every time
 

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@ everybody : hey thanks for quick responses!

@ aus_staffy : well see that's the thing, she's been walking on a leash SPECTACULARLY since we got her from the adoption event (there were like 30 some odd dogs and piles of people outside, and she didn't even pull us on the leash moments after meeting her) and it was this kid-on-a-bike event that seems to have turned the tide for her. we go for afternoon and evening walks EV-ER-Y day. so i'm surprised at the sudden change in something she had up until that moment, enjoyed.

@performanceknls : true we don't know anything about her puppyhood, but just a couple weeks ago my partner and i took her to a family reunion of mine, and she did SO WELL, even with kids she'd never met being all hyper and pokey around her. so far, she seems to have been socialized well enough....

@Sadie : ^^ about socialization, ++ about finding a trainer, i've been slow to get there because thus far she hasn't presented us a situation we couldn't navigate/solve on our own. when we're out on walks, should i just guide her along? generally if i take her collar (or even reach for it) she'll walk places she apparently doesn't want to go (into her kennel when she see's we're leaving, or into our bedroom for the night if she's midnight hyper and in PLAY RIGHT NOW mode, lol.) i could just kind of continually lead her by the collar, but that means i'm walking at a 45 degree angle the whole way, and that's no fun...and i doubt it would be enjoyable for her either. until we find a trainer, how do i convince her to walk down the side of the street that she's avoided since the initial kid-on-a-bike incident?
I would continue to walk her to the places she feels uncomfortable and use praise and treats when she walks without stopping or resisting you might have to bait her along and get her focused on you instead of the actual street she is being walked down ... Take it slow it might take a few weeks but continue to build her confidence with praise and treats. You are her guide at this point she just needs to be built up to a comfortable level. Make sure you a treating and praising immediately after she has walked properly to mark that she has done a job well done. Be patient and strong right now she needs that from you more than anything else.
 
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