My GSD is afraid to cross the street - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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My GSD is afraid to cross the street

Chewy is a 16 month old intact male WLGSD. I adopted him 8 months ago. He is a high drive dog. Recently he has started to become fearful of crossing the street at busy intersections. I live in a small city so I have been taking him downtown for a couple of days each week to help socialize him. About two months ago he started to get anxious when we come to a crosswalk. It has gradually gotten worse to the point where he now pulls, spins, and yelps in fear when we stop at a crosswalk. What can I do to correct this issue. Other than this issue he is a very well behaved dog.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 01:10 PM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 01:12 PM
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I don't know, but I will be watching the responses here. Shelby also does not like traffic. She is fine on our smaller neighborhood streets. She does NOT like high traffic areas.

Jan
Shelby 9-2-14
Natty Boh 6-27-12
Annie 1998 - 8-2-12 RIP
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 01:14 PM
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Good looking boy!

Jan
Shelby 9-2-14
Natty Boh 6-27-12
Annie 1998 - 8-2-12 RIP
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 01:52 PM
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How about engagement, will he focus on you for any period? If not try working on this. I bring a tug or ball/string on walks and periodically play tug along the route, being animated helps too. I do this because walks alone are boring, but the side benefit is their attention on me. Could try the same intersections during times of less activity, early morning, later am or look for similar quieter places to work on this.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 01:57 PM
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is this his normal "picture"
because he does look like an overall anxious dog
his eyes, the colour of his tongue , the droplet at the end of the tongue . Next sequence a nose flick?

does he pant a lot ?

what happens when you do cross the street ?
I know you said what he does when he comes to the intersection but when actually crossing are you pulling him , is he rushing pulling you, walking on his nails?

what happens when you have crossed . does he relax -- do you reward him , do you hang out , do you move on?

is he anymore aware of his left side , which way does he visually scan .

he may feel exposed . he may always be high strung and anxious and the road crossing makes it very obvious

what do you think a calming harness would do for him?

Carmen

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-19-2017, 02:11 PM
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here's what I would do: every day take him to the vicinity of various street crossings after exercise at home so he has some endorphins running through his body before you go. You don't want to push him out of his comfort zone but hangout in the 'grey'area where he senses the 'problem' but is still able to engage with you in play. Do not coax him or baby him; keep being confident and happy with him. When he does well, go home so you end on a successful note. You don't want to always make it harder. Do this in random places and hopefully the grey zone moves closer to the crossing itself. This will require a long time so be prepared for that and be patient. I agree with Carmspack, that he looks anxious in the picture.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies. He is definitely a anxious dog. He had a bout of anxiety induced tale chasing for about a month or so after I adopted him. We were able to work through it so hopefully we can get a handle on his street crossing issue.


A typical street crossing goes like this: He usually starts to get anxious and pull as we approach the crossing. When we get to the crossing I stop and try to get him into the sit position. If he sits he receives praise. Most of the time he is so anxious that he tries to dart across the street, pulling, spinning, and yelping at the end of his leash as I stand there waiting for the walk signal. Once we are able to get moving again and cross the street he starts to settle down. He makes eye contact and is engaged through this entire process.


He is extremely toy driven so I will try bringing his small soft Frisbee with me next time we make a trip downtown. Is it better to engage him with his toy before we approach the crossing or only after he crosses without making a fuss?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 12:13 PM Thread Starter
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Here is another picture of him taken at the beach. He is a anxious dog but there are times he is rather laid back. His confidence has definitely gotten better over time.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 03-20-2017, 01:12 PM
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Patience and reassurance. Maybe take a knee next to him and feed him before you get to the cross walk and he starts his behavior? Food is calming, toys are exciting. I wouldn't worry too much about the sit before crossing right now, just that he is safe crossing and get through it w/o much fuss. Reassure then reward.

Last edited by ausdland; 03-20-2017 at 01:16 PM.
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