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Good morning,

our boy “Gibbs” - 1yr this month, developed some anxious behaviors at about 9mos old while we’re on our walks. He wimpers and whines the entire time and I’m not sure where it came from. He is a great walker, we use a Gentle Leader on him and he’s fine with it, doesn’t pick or pull at it. His anxiety surely gets the neighbors attention. We have tried walking without the Gentle Leader halter - no difference. We walk a little and when he whines/wimpers we stop, make him sit, tell him its ok etc, give him a pat, then we continue. It’s surely frustrating and we’re not sure how to help him other than just keep walking him everyday. Our vet recommended perhaps visiting PetsMart and other social places to help ease Gibbs’ anxiety, but honestly I don’t want him to react negatively because he is nervous/anxious etc. We also have a Bernese that is walked with our GSD. These dogs are buddies (well as much as our 8yr old Bernese will tolerate anyway! Lol).
We welcome any suggestions to help ease our Gibbs.
 

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I'd take just him to an outdoor mall. Petsmart is a little cramped. Then you can give him more space, working on threshold.
 

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I would make sure walks are fun and exciting for both of you for now -hit the trails go exploring. You can hide pieces of hot dog or something to keep give him a job if he seems anxious and uncomfortable. Any beaches by you that allow leashed dogs go after hours where it’s more quiet -to start. Beach is great place dogs they are sure to have fun with you with all kinds of people and activities milling about. Bring a toy teach some training exercises. I always made sure I can find a quiet spot- the treasure - on the beach where they have room for off leash fetch or a good run with a real long 25 foot lead lead attatched in the beginning until recall is solid.
 

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Are you sure the walks aren't causing him physical pain?

My thought as well. Even at 1 year old there might be joint issues. At least it is worth checking.


Has something happened on a walk that makes your dog nervous, that it might happen again?



My gal-dog hates the smell of blue water line marker paint. She doesn't whine but wants to run past the painted yards. It does make a few neighborhood blocks something to endure rather than enjoy. I don't praise her until she has calmly passed the offending smelly paint. Then we throw a quick party. She will never like the smell of that stuff but she can learn to endure it as we walk by.
 

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Thanks for the replies!
He has been to the vet in recent months (fussy eater) and physical problems are ruled out for now. As for the possibility of rewarding the antics I never really thought of that so we will discontinue that immediately.
I really appreciate the thought of going hiking - I think it never occurred to me only because of the stress both me and the dog have when going for walks. The bush hikes may offer him some joy and excitement thus help him get over this anxiety.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
We’ve had Gibbs since he was 8wks old. Nothing has happened to him in our care that would cause his developed antics. We live in a quiet subdivision in a small town.

As for physical pain - at home in our yard he happily plays fetch, soccer, chases squirrels etc so that in combination with vet visits recently (picky eater) we have ruled out issues.
 

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Is it just being away from home that he doesn't like? Does he do well away from home in any other context? Is he friendly with other people and dogs he meets away from home? I guess you can probably tell that he is experiencing anxiety during the walks. So it's not just him feeling that walks are a chore he doesn't want to do? He's still a little young but maybe running instead of walking could help?
 

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Running may keep his brain forward but because he is only year Old would be careful not to do much constricted long distant running on hard surface like the street until his 18 months - because of growing bones-but Small amounts of running in spurts or on softer or natural footing.

Our chihuahua is very cautious around drains or when planes fly over head- he freezes on walks. So I’m always to make sure we keep our distances from drains- I can understand why he is uncomfortable and no need to force the issue we keep our distance from street drains lol! Smart little dog!

Our chihuahua used to not budge in the beginning of walks and if you looked back at him it was all over. We just kept looking forward like we walked with a purpose and he would follow. Sometimes he just would not budge we dropped the leash - knowing he would not take off on us- and walk leaving him behind he would be fast to catch up. He learned walks were fun after awhile now he tries real hard to keep up with the big dogs.

I think exploring on hikes you both may really enjoy I hope it helps! Dogs can sense frustration to from you so it can be that also which just embeds issues. Just keep trying it’s a project but eventually you will find what works and what clicks.
 

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We don't tend to take our dogs too far from home on any regular basis. We had avoided the car for a couple months because our GSD got car sick although lately he seems to be ok, so perhaps he's over it. I'm not one to take my dogs to heavily populated places especially those with lots of other dogs like dog parks and pet stores.

With regards to other people and dogs - he's super cautious and slightly nervous, which in turn makes me nervous because I don't want him to react negatively. He is curious about people and other animals and I allow the exploration but closely supervised.
 

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Good morning,

our boy “Gibbs” - 1yr this month, developed some anxious behaviors at about 9mos old while we’re on our walks. He wimpers and whines the entire time and I’m not sure where it came from. He is a great walker, we use a Gentle Leader on him and he’s fine with it, doesn’t pick or pull at it. His anxiety surely gets the neighbors attention. We have tried walking without the Gentle Leader halter - no difference. We walk a little and when he whines/wimpers we stop, make him sit, tell him its ok etc, give him a pat, then we continue. It’s surely frustrating and we’re not sure how to help him other than just keep walking him everyday. Our vet recommended perhaps visiting PetsMart and other social places to help ease Gibbs’ anxiety, but honestly I don’t want him to react negatively because he is nervous/anxious etc. We also have a Bernese that is walked with our GSD. These dogs are buddies (well as much as our 8yr old Bernese will tolerate anyway! Lol).
We welcome any suggestions to help ease our Gibbs.
Are you sure it's anxiety and not excitement or frustration? I have had several young dogs that whined when they were anticipating fun. And my Sabi girl for most of her life whined when tracking if I didn't shut her up, the sound got louder as she got closer so she could certainly attract attention.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Are you sure it's anxiety and not excitement or frustration? I have had several young dogs that whined when they were anticipating fun. And my Sabi girl for most of her life whined when tracking if I didn't shut her up, the sound got louder as she got closer so she could certainly attract attention.

I'm only assuming anxiety/nerves. I don't believe it to be excitement, but if it is then I guess I have some learning to do about his behaviours. He whines, wimpers, body shakes and quivers, he pants. All could be excitement/anticipation I guess!



When the heat wave dissipates we will venture out to the soccer field and play, perhaps do a short bush hike too, see how that makes him feel.
 

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What do you do for exercise for this dog?
 

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Thanks for the replies!
He has been to the vet in recent months (fussy eater) and physical problems are ruled out for now. As for the possibility of rewarding the antics I never really thought of that so we will discontinue that immediately.
I really appreciate the thought of going hiking - I think it never occurred to me only because of the stress both me and the dog have when going for walks. The bush hikes may offer him some joy and excitement thus help him get over this anxiety.

I think you also need to change your mindset from that of being stressed and anxious when you go for walks. You could try singing some happy and funny kids songs, e.g. Happy Birthday to you, on very short walks to change your mindset and body language from a stressful to a fun experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
What do you do for exercise for this dog?

Exercise is short walks around the block for now. We do a lot of backyard play on a regular basis. I have three kids and my oldest, 12, is trying to help train the dog. The dog plays a good game of fetch, loves his big soccer ball, we play hide'n'seek; this is our regular almost daily routine.
 
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