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Fear of Leaving Property for a Walk

2048 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  debbiebrown
Hello all,

This is our first post on, unfortunately coming as a result of a behavioral problem from our GSD puppy that has us stumped. We recently purchased our puppy, young at 6 weeks old. Yes, we know this was young to bring home a puppy but she was well socialized within her litter and with people and came with the usual first shots as well as deworming. For two weeks everything was normal, perhaps better so. She learned the rules of the house fast and was easy to housebreak.

HOWEVER, she has always been afraid of leaving the property. We think this may have been magnified due to the fact that she has been "moved" from three different places (her litter, to a family members house close by to an interim residence to our current residence). Things have settled down since then but recently in the past few days she has been near impossible to get to leave the property with us for a walk. Generally once she gets going she is great and loves to walk with us, but leaving (within appox 1 block) the property is traumatic for her and passers by, and most importantly frustrating for us. She is 9 weeks old now, cleared by the vet of any medical condition as of 2 days ago, and were baffled.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!!!
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She is just a little baby still, and would be leaving her breeders at this time if not for you taking her early. Just be positive, ignore the scared act(don't tell the pup "its ok", or coddle her) and go forward~ have treats or a valuable toy with you. Praise her when leaving and go for short periods of time, leave, come home, leave, come home repeat... Remember until she has had her series of puppy shots(10 weeks) she is vulnerable to parvo, careful.
you are moving awfully fast for a young pup. Slow down! Establish a routine. Let her aclimate. I feel stressed just thinking about what she has been through.
she is only 9 weeks old she is still scared of new things and her surroundings. dogs are no different than people in the fact that all have different personalities. Some are outgoing and not afraid of anything others are more skittish. I noticed that often with puppies they go through a couple periods of when they are pretty brave and then become more cautious again but it turns around.

And 6 weeks is sooooooooo young to be taking a pup from the litter, obviously she wasn't purchased from a responsible breeder.
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Glad to hear you realize 6 weeks old was way too young. I got my first dog also too young (I didn't know better) but in the past years I really learned how much she missed by not being with her littermates and mom the extra 2 to 3 weeks that is normal.

That said, BOTH my GSD's (one I got at 8 weeks, the other at 12 weeks) also didn't like to leave my yard for walks! I got it more as a comfort zone in the yard/house so why the heck would they want to leave?

Since I didn't want it to get into a fear thing, I'd just pick my pups up, PUT THEM IN THE CAR, and drive somewhere to walk them. So all the quick poops/pees were in the yard. All the exercising and walking involved car rides.

Alot of benefits to this with the getting used to the car. Loving to go to new places. Challenging me to find great new places. Frankly, when they were young I could drive to the park down the road. By around 12 weeks I'd want more exercise/socialization so we really were finding the hiking trails and ponds/rivers/lakes for swimming.
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Yes I know she was very young at the time to go home and yes I agree that the breeder probably was not the most responsible, however now that I have her I want to make the most of her. In every other facet of her life she is outgoing, both with my family, strangers and other dogs (who have had full shots/ their temperament is known before hand). She is also especially gentle with children, who I observe very carefully with her.

This problem is more serious than perhaps I indicated earlier. Getting down the stairs to the driveway is often times challenging because she is scared to leave. I've also begun to read some of the horror stories of dogs refusing to leave the house and defecating inside rather than go outside. This is not to say that I dont expect accidents in the house from a 9 week old puppy but rather I dont want her case to develop similar to the one just mentioned.

I almost think she is too aclimated to the surrounding area of our property. IF (which is rare now) I am able coax her into starting to walk with me using treats, she will recognize possible ways to get back to the house and stop cold, leaving me frustrated since I dont want to pull hard on her neck. She will respond to the come command if I put the leash down and move a couple feet down the street, but then once I pick up the leash to move farther from the house she will immediately yelp and again refuse to walk with me.

She is a completely different puppy when she is put in the car and moved to a different area and asked to walk with us. She walks great on the leash and displays no signs of fear or anxiety at all. This makes me think that somehow she has a fear of leaving her "territory" since once we start to leave she will sometimes turn a 180 and stare back at the house.

As for questions about her routine, we have tried to establish a fairly firm routine for her day. She eats 3 times a day at generally the same time, a walk for potty afterwards, and 3 longer walks each day. Also we have a training session with her at the end of her last walk. We also have play times inside with her toys. After dinner we generally have one or two guests over to meet the puppy and then we put her to bed by 9:30/10.

Also as I said before she has had a first round of shots:
Distempter( and just a few days ago the distemper booster from our vet)
*At the beginning of July were going to start her on flea and tick prevention medicine as well as heartworm.

Again any help on her issue would be much welcomed.
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Hey Maggie Rose Lee thanks so much for your reply your description of what you did with your pups seems to be an exact replica of what I've been doing with my puppy the last couple days. Are your dogs better about leaving the property now or do you still find that its easiest to do a car ride? Ideally I'd love to find a solution so that she can confidently come with me off the property and down the street for a walk.

Also since you mentioned it I'll take the liberty to ask one more quick question; what was your process for socializing a dog to the water? I have been able to get my pup Jerzey to splash around even swim a little to get to me in the water but she was understandably a little nervous. Just wondering how to get her to realize how fun it can be.

Does she walk up and down stairs in the house? Maybe part of the problem is that she is scared of the stairs and that starts the fear in motion. Go slowly with her and take her places where you can keep her off the ground until her vaccinations are complete - like take her to Petsmart and push her around in the cart. You can do the same at Lowe's and Home Depot and probably other places too. Parvo can live in the ground for a very long time and her immunity is not complete yet.

Also, when she was at the interim home do you know what age and was the whole litter there?

Patience is truly a virtue when you are socializing!
I brought my puppy home early too, at 6 1/2 weeks, but I knew better and made a decision to do it for some specific reasons. Sounds like you know that this was very young to separate the pup from it's family, so we should move past that.

My puppy did not leave the fenced back yard for a couple of months. Take things SLOWLY. Carry the puppy up and down the stairs if you need to (while you still can). Let the pup naturally explore the surroundings, and use treats and praise to encourage her interest in certain things.

If she has been moved twice already - think of the trauma associated with that! Give her lots of extra time, extra bonding, and extra love to build a sense of belonging and confidence.

Best of luck!
I meant that by interim home that when we got the Jerzey, she didn't immediately go home to our current residence because of the distance involved in getting back so we stopped at a friend's house, then there was a problem with the landlord to move into the current residence so we stayed nearby in the same area(within a mile). She has been at the current residence for a little over two weeks. KarinB, no in fact she takes the stairs up and down the house almost too fast for a pup her size/experience using her legs! The main problem is when she recognizes that we are trying to move away from the property, she immediately yelps and refuses to move on the leash. Thanks ledzep, I definitely will take things more slowly and am thinking about giving her more time off leash to simply explore (under watchful eye) and hopefully she'll begin to move off the property by herself.
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i totally agree that it might be a bit overwhelming at this point for the pup to leave the property. i would skip the road walking for a while and just play in the yard. then try again taking things slower.

i usually don't start my pups on road walks until they are 3-4 months old. i spent time playing in the yard with them, or take off road walks. Big fast cars/motorcycles, things like that can be intimidating at a young age.

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