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From: jenikki (
Subject:         How to help a dog afraid of everything
Date: May 11, 2006 at 7:17 pm PST

I've recently started up my own dog walking business and my first two customers are a 2 1/2 year old mix who is fine but her little brother is 6 months old and afraid of everything. It's almost like this dog has had no socialization. They live almost beside an off leash park and I think that's where he is taken most of the time. When I take them out we go on leash and walk in a park by the lake. We walk along a paved pathway that has all kinds of other people, kids, strollers, rollerbladers, bikes, etc. He is afraid of all of these things. My question is what is the best way to handle it when we are coming up to and passing something that is making him want to bolt. Do I just act like nothing is happening and keep walking until we pass and then have him sit, praise him and give a treat, or do I move off the path and have him sit while the scary thing passes by us, giving treats while they pass, or do I keep giving him treats as we are passing by the scary thing ? I'm just not sure what message I'm giving if I give him treats while he is acting up and afraid, I'm worried he thinks he's being encouraged and praised for being afraid and it might only be reinforcing his fears.

I know there are some good trainers out there if you could give any advice I'd appreciate it. I don't want to make this poor pup any more skittish than he already is. I am looking into taking a course to become a certified dog trainer (I'm so excited about this!) but with Abbey not being well I can't spend the money until I know she's out of the woods and I don't have to spend big bucks on any more tests for her.

Thanks in advance,

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