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I mistakenly posted this in the. Training section, but now realise my error and have reposted. 

We have a delightful 4 month old bc. She has a lovely affectionate personality and lots of positives. We collected her when she was 8 weeks and after the first two days has slept through the night. Apart from a vey few mishaps she’s always gone outside to relieve herself and unless it’s raining she’ll stand by the door and bark to let me know it’s time. My problem is walks. She seems to be terrified of traffic noise, and other loud sounds, and it took a lot of patience with me standing at the open front door repeatedly with her on her leash allowing her to go back inside when she wanted to. She will now leave the door, but if a car passes when we walk, she trembles, cries and frantically tries to run back home. I don’t make a fuss, but just stand still as the car passes and then carry on walking steadily while she tries to pull my arm out of its socket. I’ve tried carrying her to the car and stopping at quieter areas, but she now shrinks back on the seat and growls if I try to lift her out. It’s such a pity as she’s full of energy and will play fetch happily in the house and our small garden. I’m sure I’vebeen doing something wrong and would really appreciate any advice to put me on the right track. 


 

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Hi, Evie, I'm so sorry your dog is having such problems ~ it's difficult to see them so fearful. My first advice is to find a veterinary behavior specialist. From your writing you live in the UK, perhaps? I hope there is someone near you who can help. If you can find a veterinary behavior specialist, take your girl to see her/him. Ask specifically for an anti-anxiety drug, the one I used is clomipramine in the US. It worked wonders for my very anxious border collie. Shoshone has been gone for a while, but it made a big difference.

I really think you need to work with someone in person with this level of fear. Are there any good dog trainers near you? You'll want to do a careful interview, to make sure you get someone who won't try to bully your pup into 'behaving' That will only set you back.

Good luck, others here might have more suggestions.

Ruth & Gibbs

PS - You're probably not doing anything wrong. This pup is quite possibly this anxious because of a chemical imbalance in her little brain, not due to anything you've done. Just my opinion, of course.

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Hi Evie, I was kind of in the same boat with my (now 5.5 month old) pup. He, too, was very fearful with traffic noises. We live in a big city and I was very worried about how he would adjust - but over time, he just seemed to get used to it.

At four months old, it's very possible that there's nothing really "wrong" - she's just still adjusting to all the big scary sounds that come with roads and traffic. That doesn't mean she won't improve! Especially border collies, I believe, are sensitive to these kinds of sounds, but gently and consistently exposing her to them with lots of treats and taking it slow should help. Good luck!

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Do you think it is the noise? If so, how about finding a YouTube video of traffic noise and playing it very very quietly at home while you play, do tricks, feed treats etc. We have done this with fireworks, kids playing, dog sounds etc. We got to the stage with the fireworks where we could leave them playing quite loudly for an hour or so while we got on with our lives and he'd ignore it. That's not to say if one goes off unexpectedly he doesn't jump up and give a bark, but that's more because it caught him by surprise than out of fear.

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7 hours ago, tamapup said:

At four months old, it's very possible that there's nothing really "wrong" - she's just still adjusting to all the big scary sounds that come with roads and traffic. That doesn't mean she won't improve! Especially border collies, I believe, are sensitive to these kinds of sounds, but gently and consistently exposing her to them with lots of treats and taking it slow should help. Good luck!

I agree, it seems a little early for this to necessarily be a permanent problem. Do you have any slightly quieter streets around your home? If so, you can start by just going there, hanging out for a minute or two, having treats, being calm, going back home and then venturing a little further/to slightly busier places every few days.

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I would take her dinner with me outside, or right in the door way, wherever she's very comfortable but still exposed, and just calmily sit there. Each time a car comes I would greet it happily as you might an old friend "oh hello! What a lovely car!" And feed the pup kibbles one by one so she has time to chew swallow and think a moment before the next kibble arrives. Each car will earn a few kibbles. As it passes I would probably continue to talk to the car, "bye car! So good to see you!" And fade down to less food until the next car comes. I would not feed a bite between cars. Unless something else scary happens and then that can be snack time too.

Eventually she would need to earn those kibbles by looking to the scary car and then back to you but she should start doing that on her own in time. 

Once she's comfortable you can move to other places and/or a bit closer to the road. 

Winter, my pup, has simmilar fears of passing cars and this is exactly what we are doing. It took about a week but on walks now she hears a car coming (or dog barking or approaching) and she looks to me like "hey! Where's my treat!?" She's still a little insecure, I can tell by the way she snatches and gobbles the food, but an outside observer would likely not notice anything but a happy pup by my side. 

It's a but of a hassle but the speed she's learning and improving make it highly rewarding for me. 

If you don't see progress by the third car or so I'd say your much to close and you need to move farther from the road if possible.

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Evie H, the others have given wonderful advice. I believe I jumped too quickly to a possible need for medication, having had a dog that did seriously need it.

The ideas that others have contributed may well solve the problem, and that would be wonderful! Please let us know how you and your girl get on.

Ruth & Gibbs

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My 6 year old used to do that when she was a pup. Used to be terrified of going out. Ended up takeing her for rides in the car and the train. Shes fine now, but is still frightened of fireworks and thunder and lightening.

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I can’t quite get the hang of this site, and just wanted to thank everyone for their advice and reassurance. I’m sure there’s a way to reply to individuals, but I can’t find it. I’ve tried putting in place suggestions, and what has worked was forgetting the car, but just going for a really short walk up the road and round the block very early in the morning and late in the evening when little traffic is about. We did the same route every day and it was a real bonanza day when on returning to the house, instead of frantically scrabbling at the door to get in, she just sat down and watched the road even allowing a car to go by without doing more than look at me for reassurance. We’re now going further afield in the car and she is fine getting out, and at times looks plaintively at me at the end of the walk and is reluctant to get back in to go home! She still is unhappy when unexpected noises occur - lawn mowers etc., but no where near as frantic or as scared as before.Many thanks, Eve.

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Evie, glad you're finding our suggestions helpful. Seeing your dog terrified is very frightening for us humans, too.

As far as personal messages go, look at the blue banner at the top of each page. In the upper right of the blue banner, there's an envelope, just to the left of your BC Board name. That's our personal message system. Click on that envelope then put in the user you're wishing to communicate with. Voila!

Check the envelope icon for anyone replying or messaging you as well.

Ruth & Gibbs

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You can also place the cursor over the name of whomever you want to PM. It'll give you the option to Message them. It's not a reply though, but a separate private message, as in Ruth's instructions.

If you want to reply within the thread, you can either quote the person (use quote function at the bottom of the post) or highlight whatever portion of text you want to quote and a quote button will appear. Then hit enter a couple times to get out of the quoted box and type in your reply. Whomever you quoted will get a notice that they've been quoted in case they want to reply.

You can also type in @ plus the person's screen name (e.g. @EvieH). They'll get a message that they've been addressed and again can respond if they wish to.

I'm also glad to see your dog's gaining confidence. Keep it up and things should keep getting better. There's also a good chance that at her age when you originally posted she was in a fear stage and your making accommodations so that she didn't have to be confronted with the Scary Thing helped her move past the fear in a healthy way. 

 

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On 4/15/2019 at 2:37 PM, EvieH said:

I can’t quite get the hang of this site, and just wanted to thank everyone for their advice and reassurance. I’m sure there’s a way to reply to individuals, but I can’t find it. I’ve tried putting in place suggestions, and what has worked was forgetting the car, but just going for a really short walk up the road and round the block very early in the morning and late in the evening when little traffic is about. We did the same route every day and it was a real bonanza day when on returning to the house, instead of frantically scrabbling at the door to get in, she just sat down and watched the road even allowing a car to go by without doing more than look at me for reassurance. We’re now going further afield in the car and she is fine getting out, and at times looks plaintively at me at the end of the walk and is reluctant to get back in to go home! She still is unhappy when unexpected noises occur - lawn mowers etc., but no where near as frantic or as scared as before.Many thanks, Eve.

Evie we have a 7 month old rescue bc, she hates cars, ive taken her to the end of the estate where the gate is and she has looked through it and thought ok to cars, soon as a lorry went past nooo she tried to escape her harness, i may try your ways of doing things, lets see how far i get, she did great with our daughter today, ignoring a car and carrying on rather than retreating so thats a little bit of progress. 

to others is there any natural calming foods you can give that would help? i really dont want to pay out for a trainer if i can so she gets used to me?

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@ange_n_tizzy I'm not sure about foods, but I do know there are homeopathic products that can help to calm or reduce fears. One that you could try is called RescueKID (make sure to get the Kid version so that there is no alcohol in it). 4 drops in his water bowl that he should empty per day. If there are other animals in the house you can give him 4 drops with a snack in the morning. Try for 10 days and start to reduce when you see improvement.
https://www.amazon.com/Bach-Rescue-Remedy-Natural-Stress/dp/B0019QDWQ8

You can also ask the pharmacy for homeopathic products: Gelsemium 7ch or Stramonium 7ch. These are little balls of which you can give 3, three times per day or 5, two times per day in between feeding times. Try for a month and reduce to every second day as soon as you see improvement. Don't touch the grains with your hands.

Many border collies are a bit fearful or nervous around noises or moving objects, and often puppies go through their second fear-phase around 5-6 months, but this can also be a bit later. Mine started around his 7 months and I've worked with several trainers since then. Going back to basic obedience and walking with other confident dogs seems to have the best effect on building his self confidence and reducing fear. Wearing him out before taking him to "scary things" also helps, as he'll be relaxed and basically too tired to be scared!

Good luck!
Jaimy

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