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Thread: Terrified of Cars During a Walk

  1. #1
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    Default Terrified of Cars During a Walk

    Milo is now 16 weeks old and I have been taking him out on walks for about 4 days now. He does well walking loose leash beside or infront of me with the regular sniffing around. Although sometimes he wants to sniff so much he refuses to continue walking. I started walking him on quiet streets to get him used to it all.

    Whenever a car passes by, Milo is absolutely terrified and tries to run away pulling on the leash. So this restricts where we can walk to since I live a street away from the Hume Highway which is constantly busy with all sorts of cars and trucks. I've tried walking him on the Hume Highway twice but both times I had to carry him to get to the other side of the road. Actually, I had to carry him the entire time I was on the Hume Highway. There is a big park on the other side of the Hume Highway but I can't really get there with him being so scared of traffic. Also, he would anchor his feet more often the closer we get to the Hume Highway, and sometimes he would lay down to prevent me from pulling him forward. But once many cars are in sight, he would completely stop and turn back towards home.

    Oh, he's also scared of bikes and prams. He loves kids but if a kid is in a pram, the kid is like some killer robot to Milo.

    After I got Milo at 10 weeks, I regularly carried him out to the Hume Highway and let him observe people and cars and he was very calm and watched in silence moving his head side to side following the cars with his eyes. I've taken him to a small market place and sat on the edge with him on my lap and let him watch many many people walk by with bikes, prams, trolleys, everything "weird" to him. But... he probably found it boring and chose to sleep instead lol.

    So yeah, may I please have some advice on how to let Milo know that cars are nothing scary.

  2. #2
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    Hi Kaer

    My dog is also freaked by traffic. Any road with more than one car on it to her is busy and she tries to bolt in any direction, including into the path of the car or truck. Not great.

    I'm not sure I want to teach her cars are ok. She's already decided cars carrying her doggy friends are ok, and that parked cars with or without her friends are for jumping in or on. Not good. Really not good when she chases the car.

    So what do I do. I don't have any roads anything like as busy as the hume, but I think I'd drive her there, or get a sort of doggy pram eg a shopping trolley with a box in it that I could put her in so she couldn't see or jump out and wheel that across the bridge.

    Mostly I make her sit back from the edge of the road until the traffic is clear. If she's being calm and quiet by my side I sometimes give her a pat and tell her good dog. If she's freaking out, commando crawling, pulling and generally being a PITA, I ignore it all but keep the lead short so she can't get into trouble. If there are any cars coming, we stay put.

    At one point I used a front attach harness on her, and I would clip this to her collar so I had double protection if she decided to back away from me and slip the collar, but she's never done this, she always pulls away with her butt towards me.

    For a very young dog, the fast movement of cars can be overwhelming. If you can cover his head and carry him across that might be the safest way to go for a while. Personally - I wouldn't try crossing the hume highway unless it was closed to traffic or there was a pedestrian bridge that a dog could not jump off.

  3. #3
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    usually dogs grow out of that don't they?


    I can not think of anything but gradual introduction and treats/praise.
    I love cooking but I love eating even more.

  4. #4
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    Seeing as I live quite close to the city... having Milo continued to be this scared of cars would probably confine him in just the backyard! There's cars everywhere haha. So I think I have no choice but to get him used to it than avoiding it...

    When should I treat him? I don't want to treat him when he's being scared. I try encouraging him to walk but he just anchors himself >_<

  5. #5

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    The Hume highway must seem very scary for little pup, I'd be wary walking near it myself.
    I'd try to stick to back streets until he is a lot more accustomed to cars.
    Keeping yourself calm and not using a panicky voice will help a lot too, use calm soothing tones. It is natural to react to a dog that's doing helicopters trying to get away in a situation like that, but you have to stay as calm as possible and try not to project your fear onto the dog.
    You can't expect to overcome a fear like that overnight.
    Part of the problem is the kelpies natural instinct to get out of they way of trouble, it comes in handy when a bull charges or kicks out, but it will take a bit of patience on your part and a calm firm hand.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaer View Post
    Seeing as I live quite close to the city... having Milo continued to be this scared of cars would probably confine him in just the backyard! There's cars everywhere haha. So I think I have no choice but to get him used to it than avoiding it...

    When should I treat him? I don't want to treat him when he's being scared. I try encouraging him to walk but he just anchors himself >_<
    It pays not to get into a tug of war with a dog, the harder you pull the harder they pull back.
    Try turning around or going back a few steps, change tack do something other than trying to force him by pulling.
    Only reward when he does something right, it's OK to reward when he's scared if he's just done something good, but don't reward any behaviour you don't want.

  7. #7
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    Kaer

    My dog will not take a treat out walking on footpaths near busy roads - she's way too busy panicking.

    The main thing is not to "comfort" your dog when he's freaking but to pretend like there's nothing to worry about. No scolding, no soft gentle words - just ignore. And give him things to do, like sit when a car is approaching and sit at each curb before crossing. Routine can be reassuring.

    At 16 weeks he probably doesn't need more than 20 minutes walk (5 minutes per month of age) in one go.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for your advice everyone. I will give it a try when I walk him tomorrow morning.

    And wow! 20 minutes at one time... I'm walking Milo roughly 3 times a day 30-40 minutes each and I thought he wasn't getting enough exercise... My bad!

  9. #9

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    I would work him up to the Hume also start with littler quiter roads.
    My old bc x kelpie hated having people walk to close behind her & would also turn to see the traffic coming & really I just worked it out of her. Started with the less scary opitions & worked my way up.
    Dogs make everyday life enjoyable...........

  10. #10
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    Kaer

    I know - I found out the hard way. My dog was sitting down on the way home and I'd have to carry her cos I was over doing it. And of course - an hour later and she'd be good to go again. Yours is only a puppy, and looks to be a kelpie too. It will be up to you to set limits on how much your dog exercises and to manage his fitness because he won't quit until he falls over from exhaustion if you ask him to keep going.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 02-01-2011 at 06:51 PM.

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