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Discussion Starter #1
For six months I've been driving to a trainer's house to work with my Dutch Shepherd (and he's lived with the trainer for several years before I adopted him). Remo's the most chill dog ever around the trainer and around the trainer and me.

Three weeks ago I brought him home finally. In those three weeks he's gotten more and more adjusted. We do lots of play and walks all around the neighborhood, where he's gotten pretty unconcerned with the kids, dogs, and traffic.

Here's where I am in desperate need of advice: the trainer took Remo out in public, to parks, pet stores, etc..., and he was great. When I take Remo out, like to PetSmart, for example, he is a different dog. I have worked really hard on being calm and reducing any anxiety I might have that would affect his behavior, but as soon as we get out of the car he's straining at his leash, running ahead (unless I hold tight and end up choking him), and looking shell-shocked.

I'm not sure how to do this right. We're great at home, and he was great in public with his former trainer. Is it a matter of my needing to give him more time with me in order to calm down, or is there something I could/need to be doing to help him become more open to the experience?

This is really the only hitch in our beautifully developing relationship, and if time and patience are all it'll take, then I am happy to give it. If, however, I'm doing something to traumatize him, I'd really appreciate some of your wisdom.

Many thanks.
 

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Did your trainer not do a "Field trip" with you out in public?

I do field trips out with my students to help them and give them the confidence they need to go it alone with their dogs plus then the first time I am there so in case the first trip the dog is over whelmed I can help. Maybe ask for a field trip day?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi, thanks for your responses. I did meet the trainer at a few public places and Remo was always great because (I'm assuming) having the trainer in attendance made us both more at ease and confident. He's known the trainer his whole life and me less than a year (3 weeks as his full-time guardian).

The trainer is mildly surprised at Remo's spastic response, but also has said it might take weeks and weeks (or longer) for Remo to feel as confident with me out in public as he did with the trainer. He reminds me "no tension on the leash" and "maintain focus" and intellectually I know this, but I don't know how to have no tension and focus with Remo is straining to run and looking everywhere but me. I even bring treats to get his attention on me, but he's too nervous to care. I wish I knew how to help him!
 

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Have you read The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell? Some great tips to give we humans a leadership role. I love the book cause it's NOT about obedience/collars/leashes but instead about how to fit into what a DOG feels is a leader by easy things we can do around the house.

Do you do tons of fun things with your dog when out and about in the real world? NOT obedience or stuff on leash? Playing chuckit/frisbee in a park? Taking your dog on hikes? To lakes/rivers for swimming?

How about some fun training like tricks using the clicker?

I've found that having a great bond with my dogs, in public as well as at home has everything to do with my status in their eyes, for play AND for paying attention and listening. With my first dog I was WAY too strict and not as much fun. So if we were in a situation my dog in anyway felt was stressful to her, and I added any 'obedience' pressure, it only added to her worries and bad behaviors....

Compared to the fact I am able to have my subsequent dogs in a similar worried situation but be able to pull out a tug toy. Changing what WAS a potential melt down into a rousing game of joyous tugging.

http://silvia.trkman.net/tricks.htm

http://silvia.trkman.net/training.htm
 

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I believe that you need to do a lot of short trips out in public with a lot of treats along with your trainers continued support. What I am hearing in this post is that the dog has a very strong trust bond with the trainer but not completely with you which is what needs to be worked on in all different levels of your life, at home, outside around your home, in public areas etc...as the bond forms and closes you will see him looking toward in every situation. I am also dealing with fearful anxiety with my dog and am working with a behaviorist so I can understand where you are coming from.

I have started to read If Bones would Fall from the Sky and Uncontrolled Leash too excellent books also they help to reinforce what you already know in your head but give you excellent ways that are positive to increase your bond with your dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks so very much. Your thoughts confirm what I'm thinking, too. We did a short (10 minute) trip to Target this morning before they opened and walked around the parking lot and watched employees walking in. I brought lots of treats, and it seemed successful.

Elly, I'd love to hear how you progress with your own situation.

Thanks again!
 

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that is awesome...the short trips make a difference, do a things that are fun don't make it all about OB...do parks a lot too where there is a lot going on but you can go to a grassy area where they can play and observe.

I don't have a post going on about Sonny, I tend to throw in what I am learning with him in other posts but always feel free to contact me if you want.

We passed our CGC today
which was awesome, we are working on nursing home visits, and will continue with O'Rally and Therapy Training work to build his confidence.

Along with that I get him out as much as I can during the week in places he is comfortable and places he is not so we have a combo of both. I am still working on bridging that bond for him to trust me completely he is such a good dog he deserves to feel safe.
 

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Quote:I have started to read If Bones would Fall from the Sky and Uncontrolled Leash too excellent books also they help to reinforce what you already know in your head but give you excellent ways that are positive to increase your bond with your dog.
Both good books, once again, NOT obedience books. It really helps to read up on topics like these books include. Amazing how much we think we know, until we read up and learn more.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks so much. We're slowly coming around. I'm learning so much every day that I look back on how ignorant I was and how ignorant I still am and think, "It's a miracle I didn't kill my poor dog!" Your information is invaluable.
 
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