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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone-
For over a month now Josette has had an intense fear of traffic (it started when she was 5 months old, she's almost 7 months now). It wasn't a build up type fear and there was no traumatizing event that caused it, it was literally like she woke up one morning and decided to be afraid of traffic. It is definitely a visual fear because she can hear all the traffic she wants and even be near idling cars, it is only when she can see them moving that she reacts. It has gotten to the point where if she is anywhere that has no cars but she has seen a car there before, she is afraid to be in the location. I have tried fun toys (nothing beats the tennis ball!), good treats, the "baptism by fire" method, and nothing has worked. I know it hasn't been there forever because this sassy little lady was in NYC at the early age of 12 weeks and handled it like an old pro. I am waiting for some feedback from Guiding Eyes over this, but I was hoping some of you Shepherd experts could provide some insight. I would most definitely not label Josette as a soft dog because this is her only fear. In every other situation she has nothing but confidence. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but her puppy car sickness has also returned.

Any thoughts???
 

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If she can't HEAR the cars but can SEE them move is she afraid?

If so - I'd say get her eyes checked.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't think we have actually been in a situation where she can see, but not hear. I just know that if she hears them she will take notice but doesn't show a fear reaction like when they actually move. I don't think it's anything medical because I haven't noticed her doing anything weird (bumping into things, etc.) I will bring that up when I hear back from our puppy trainers, though.
 

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I think you've tried too many "remedies" in a months time - nothing's had a chance to work.
Besides carefully looking at how this works - Where does she see traffic, how far away is it when she gets upset, exactly what circumstances are there, is she bothered more by one type of traffic than another, is she better with a ton of traffic or less traffic -- I would have her vision checked by an opthamologist.

My incredibly steady dog went through a bout of being bothered by traffic when we moved here. I finally figured it out - she was bothered by the traffic coming behind her when we were on the sidewalk (no parking or parking strip in this stretch). I made certain that we walked facing traffic for a while and then she was fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have been trying a lot, but I have not been looking for any one of them to fix her immediately, I have just tried to find something that looked like a good fit. I also have tried one thing at a time so she wasn't confused.

She pretty much starts to react as soon as she sees the traffic, doesn't matter how far it is. Funny thing is, this only happens outside. While we haven't experienced this yet, I am fairly certain that if a huge truck was barreling towards us inside a building, she would have no reaction, because she is "safe" indoors. No difference with the level of traffic, unfortunately. I've had dogs that were afraid in lots of traffic so it was easy to take a step back and work from low traffic up.

I'm glad your girl got through this. Everyone told me it was a stage, but as its dragged on longer and longer, I am nervous that it isn't just that.

Thanks for your suggestions! As soon as I hear back from Guiding Eyes I will be sure to mention medical. They've evaluated her and are sending a videotape to a trainer we are working with, Suzanne Clothier. Hopefully we will get some feedback soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I heard back from Guiding Eyes and they said basically to stay far enough away where she is comfortable and just play with her and reward her heavily for tuning into me, obeying any command I ask, and for making any movement towards traffic. They are still consulting with others on this, but we will try this for now. Did that today and she made some progress towards the traffic and we had a grand time playing in the snow! We had to end our session when the neighbor's dog came out and Josette couldn't focus anymore. But, at least she wasn't focusing on the traffic, right? At least we'll have something to do when the fear clears up-dog distraction!

Thanks again for all your help and I will keep everyone posted. I did ask about medical evaluation and I am waiting on a reply.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I don't know if anyone is still following this thread, but just a small update. Josette is going to a more experienced Shepherd raiser for an extended stay to see if he can't figure this thing out. Please keep your fingers crossed that he can help her and that I get her back soon!
 
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