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I just rescued my boy from the shelter where he was for 6 months. 2 of which they tell me he didn't go outside at all. Getting him to go outside in general is getting a little better (food training) and he will walk right next to me when in the backyard. However, put the leash on him to go for a walk and he gets super scared, just lays down or tries to pull back to the house. Im looking for any advice in ways to help train him and teach him that the world is not a scary place and its okay to walk. he is roughly 1 1/2 - 2 years old and very well mannered otherwise. Thank you in advance for your help it is greatly appreciated
 

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Welcome and way to go on the rescue! Give your boy some time to adjust to his new surroundings. He doesn't know that this is his new home or you his new Alpha dog. Coax him with kind words and treats. Bring a favorite squeak toy on the walk and entice him with it. Heap on the praise and encouragement. Mostly, give him some time to sort things out.

Joe
 

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anytime he starts freaking out it means you've pushed him passed his threshold and you have to back it up a bit. a lot of things for him have been predefined so you'll have to give them new meaning. start from the beginning teach him that a leash isn't a big deal. let him wear it around the house not just when you're going to walk him. take everything extra slow. after he gets used of his leash keep it in hand and walk him to the front door not outside but just to the front door. open the door and just chill with him. you're not comforting him if he's scared in fact don't put him too close outside because you don't want him to be scared. Chill with him at the door for a while getting him used of the sounds and smells. it may take a while just be patient eventually you should get him okay with walking a little further. days weeks who knows how long it'll take but be patient. theres of course other methods but that's just what i would do
 

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I would do a lot more leash work and obedience. Once a dog has confidence in the obedience skill of leash walking and heeling, it's a lot easier to handle them if they are skittish and fearful. You need some foundation skills of obedience in order to best address other behavior issues. You do have to encourage and push a fearful dog to some extent, but just enough that they get stronger from working through the stress. You do this without terrifying them into a panic obviously, but it's not true that if you see any stress that's always a bad thing. A lot of dogs aren't as fear-ridden as their owners think they are-- they just need a stronger handler who has confidence and can "take the lead" and show them that the things they fear are really not a big deal, and nothing bad happens (trust in the handler)... Not just by coddling them, avoiding everything they seem afraid of, or thinking things will get better with time. Why would fears get any better with time? If anything, behavior issues and fear gets worse with time. You should keep pushing for progress, not be stagnant by allowing him to stay in his "comfort zone" of a yard. If he got used to a new person (you), a brand new home, a new yard... he can get used to more things! May want to hire a trainer and start with classes. You also need the right equipment to teach leash skills. Obviously the wrong equipment to train a green dog, such as a harness or flat-collar, will only set you up for failure. A flat-collar is also risky because he could back out of it (slipping over his head), so use either a slip lead, properly fitted prong collar (training collar), or martingale collar. Lying down or pulling should never be rewarded or praised-- only praise/reward forward movement and cooperation. :woof: *Do not allow your dog to train you.* This means that when the dog puts the breaks on or lies down, you do not stop walking and give in, and you do not touch or praise the dog for doing this. Many times when someones dog is refusing to walk with them, I hear "Come on, good boy, come on!" Why are you saying "good boy" for the dog doing the opposite of what you want? Only reinforce what you want to continue. Again, once he has some obedience, that behavior will be greatly reduced, as he will have new skills to cooperate with walking, and you can reward for that.
Other suggestions:
*If he is social to other dogs, get a friend with a confident well-adjusted dog, and walk them together. "Pack walks" can help skittish dogs get some confidence on a walk.
*I agree the leash/collar should be on the dog almost all the time, and get him used to following pressure on the leash and starting obedience.
*You could also start yourself by going 10-20 feet out the door, and sitting down somewhere outside and read a book, and just have the leash around your hand but ignore him and let him just sit out there and observe things for a while. You could also carry his bowl along and feed him outside in new places.
*Once is seems relaxed in any given place, go to a new place. Rinse and repeat.
 
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