"I am starting to implement a high reward system per your suggestions. What I am still finding difficult is to identify when she is being calm. I will tell her "here" to have her cross the threshold from inside the house to the backyard, and I give her a high value reward and lots of praise. She appears to do this calmly, but after she gets her reward she will immediately cower back inside the house. Was she petrified the entire time she was crossing the threshold and I just reinforced the fear?"
Imo no you didn't reinforce the fear, you rewarded her bravery and courage to go past her threshold (comfort zone) to get what she wanted. Whether or not she was calm doesn't matter in the baby step stage as the being calm will follow in due time and with more repititions.
Next time you encourage her, have a mitful and dole them out slowly, or add a bit of tug and or ball playing along with the treats. Keep the door open so she knows the option to retreat is there if needed.
My guys issue with loud trucks as a pup wasn't full blown fear but he would startle. His recovery was decent so I helped him a little bit differently to extinguish the startle.
"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"
Last edited by Heartandsoul; 04-23-2019 at 11:35 PM.