I got my puppy, a female, at 3 mos. Came from a quiet farm and now exposed to our very loud suburb ( helicopters at least 20x day overhead, planes, schoolbuses, traffic). She was noise phobic from day one. I got a trainer who used mostly pos techniques, but also told me I needed to keep walking when she refused to follow me. As he said "it isn't pretty". At 6 mos she got panosteitis, and was limping off and on for a month. When she was able to go on walks again, she seemed more uncertain. At this point, the trainer said I needed to get a choke collar ( I got a thick nylon one) or she might get away from me. He insisted I drag her if she balked. And I did, one time. We had a huge fight about crossing the street-she acted like a fish flailing on a line. Eventually she followed me, and I never used the choke collar or the trainer again. BUT- she began refusing to go to parks she previously loved, began laying down in the middle of the road on walks. I never forced her, just waited her out. Asked my vet for a reccommendation for a trainer, who we saw once. This trainer tried to get the dog to walk, but had to carry her out of the house, put a choke chain on her w the dog flailing around in front of the house. Trainer wanted to take the dog to her home, use a prong collar and keep her for 2 wks.. No way. But now, the dog no longer wants to walk at all.
For the last 3 wks, I've been mostly playing in the yard w her. I've read some books about positive training and realize I've harmed my puppy, which breaks my heart. And I want to make it right. I put the leash on, give her treats, take it off. Sit on front porch and she comes out w leash on, give her treats. She's better in that she actually wants to go out sometimes, but won't go more that 30 feet.
Any other suggestions and do you think she can get better? There was a time when she loved walks and running around in the park. I've got a veterinary behaviorist coming, but not for 5 more wks.
That's too bad about the forceful training she's gone through. That will likely take a while to undo.
I really trust my trainer and her method is ignore the bad, reward the good. For fear issues, never punish or reinforce. You punished, which is unfortunate.
Sounds like you are now taking things slowly, rewarding even small victories, which is great. Let your pup dictate when she is ready to do more, and reward the crap out of her for every step forward she takes, and ignore the steps backwards (and there will be lots).
A few suggestions: Don't beg her to be brave, don't babytalk her, and in fact it might help to stay silent. Only speak to praise her when she's being brave. Coddling her in a moment of fear actually reinforces the behaviour.
Find a favourite toy or treat and only use it for the times when she gets particularly scared. Save that extra special toy or pieces of steak or whatever she loves to reward her for doing things that scare her, and reward her every single time.
Also, does she have any brave doggy friends? Sometimes it really helps the scared ones to follow a brave one.
Good luck! And please keep updating. Good for you for taking control. Never let a trainer do something to your dog you aren't comfortable with.
she does have brave friends, and I'm setting up play/walk dates.
she sits and stares out the window at the street and backyard like she really wants to go out. runs to the back gate to go out-we go as far as she wants, only a few steps so far. The breeder says I can send her back and he'll "fix her" but I think it needs to happen in her home environment.
She seems happier, for sure, more playful.