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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
....this is stressing me a bit...Miya is walking around the house right now with her harness on (for the first time)..she notices it but doesn't seem too bothered. When I attached the lead tho, and instructed her to "come on", she kinda froze...eventually she came, but you can tell this was totally new and foreign to her...

we take her outside when walking to the car because we wanted to get her use to car rides..which is getting better...yesterday I took her on the patio briefly, she was shaking a lot..

What can I do to get her comfortable outside? She uses pee pads in the house so she isn't familiar with outside yet...
 

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Is there a reason why she is scared to go outside? Maybe you can try taking her out to just a small area at first, like to the car and back, then as she gets more comfortable, expand the space, like to the corner and back. Also, reward her with treats for going outside. The first one maybe when she first comes out, then the next one when she has gone as far as you want her to? That way she will begin to associate outside with good stuff?
Also, maybe picking her up and carrying her around the area, so that she can feel safe in your arms, while at the same time she adjusts to the surroundings.
 

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Okay, okay. First of all.. you're trying to get her used to walking outside on the leash AND get her used to car rides, right?

You need to separate the two. She may be fearful of going outside on the leash BECAUSE she sometimes goes on a car ride when the harness and leash go on. I say don't expect too much of her too fast. Stop trying to get her used to car rides for a little while and focus on walking outside.

Are you familiar with positive reinforcement? Have you ever used clicker training? It can do wonders for fearful or shy dogs.

Even if you're not, I recommend buying some deli meat. Something plain (like low sodium turkey breast--nothing too fancy or heavily seasoned). Shred it into tiny pieces about the size of your fingernail or smaller and put them in a ziploc bag. Keep it in the refrigerator and every time you want to take her outside, go grab the bag and tell her, "Outside!" in a happy tone (or "Do you wanna go outside?" Whatever you choose, be consistent.) Drop a few treats on the ground for her to eat while you attach her leash. The idea is to make attaching the leash and going outside on walks a positive experience, so do this every single time.

The biggest mistake you can make is to coddle fearful behavior. Don't talk to her in a "Oh you poor baby" voice. Don't talk sternly either, of course! Just talk quietly and matter-of-factly. Be encouraging and optimistic. Be her pillar of strength and show her that the world isn't as scary as she thinks. Never drag her on the leash. Every step she takes should be of her own free will, and her progress will be rewarded by you with praise and treats.

If she is scared of a particular inanimate object outside, go up to it yourself. Touch it, knock on it, pick it up slowly.. whatever you can do to show her that it's not so scary. (Keep her away from people or dogs that would probably cause her to have a scary experience though.)

IF YOU'RE NERVOUS ABOUT HER BEING ANXIOUS OUTSIDE, SHE WILL BE ANXIOUS OUTSIDE. ;) Dogs are very keenly aware of our emotional states, even when we ourselves aren't aware of how we feel. That leash acts like a telegraph wire-- if you're nervous, you will tense the leash without thinking about it, and that translates all the way down to your dog who then thinks, "Mom is nervous.. I bet I should be nervous right about now, too."

The bottom line is that if during one session all you can get her to do is leave the front door and stand cowering on the front step for ten minutes, then so be it. Let her do that. I promise you she won't do that forever. Avoid eye contact with her and don't talk to her too much while she's nervous, but JUMP on an opportunity to praise her and give her tons of treats if and when she decides to take that first step off the doorstep.

Also, be aware of your tone of voice. You shouldn't sound like, "Come on. Now we are going to train you to walk appropriately on the leash. :mad:" Instead, try to sound like, "Aren't you happy about this opportunity to earn lots of tasty treats and see the exciting world outside?! :cheers:"
 

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Also, maybe picking her up and carrying her around the area, so that she can feel safe in your arms, while at the same time she adjusts to the surroundings.
I would really try to avoid picking her up. It's really easy to do, but it will likely create a situation where she is a terrified mess on the ground and can only tolerate going anywhere if you're holding her. She's a big girl (well, sort of) and she needs to learn to stand on her own!

That being said, don't ever push her past her limits or you'll create a bad experience for her. Let her choose how fast she wants to go, where she wants to go, whether she wants to go at all.. but encourage her with the idea that "If you DO go, you'll get lots of tasty treats and attention from me."
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
i'm not trying to do all these things with her at once...these are just a few of the things I want to eventually get her used to. She just doesn't care for her harness..it's a little big for her so I'm looking for a better sized one. XS just aint cutting it yet ;) no reason in particular she's scared to go outside. She's still pretty young, so I want to introduce her early. She'll get there I'm sure. Just looking for advice and experiences..
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the link. I'll check it out, that may be useful right now since she is pretty small. Miya is 11 weeks on Friday :)
 

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Here's a helpful video. Don't just assume that she will "get over this" with age. She's likely at a fear imprinting age, which is an age period where fearful experiences stick with a dog forever if they don't learn otherwise before growing up.

Developmental Stages

Anything that frightens the puppy during this period will have a more lasting effect than if it occurred at any other time.

8 to 11 weeks is a fear imprinting period -- Experiences a puppy perceives as traumatic during this time are generalized and may affect him all his life. It is a fact that a dog is most likely to develop an avoidance response if subjected to physical or psychological trauma during these four weeks.

6 to 14 months is a second fear period -- Many dogs will show a rise in their level of aggression (reactivity) during this time. They may become protective and territorial. May suddenly be apprehensive about new things or shy or timid of new people or situations.
 

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I would be worried about letting her on the ground outside because of her age. I didn't let Taz on the ground outside until two weeks after her second set of vaccinations since that is what the vet advised. I did take her a lot of places but I carried her. I did not have any trouble getting her to walk after that. I just coaxed her along at first and let her look and sniff as much as she wanted too.

Charlie was older and very skittish so I carried him outside to the mailbox and let him walk back to the house at first. Since he was anxious to get back to the house, he walked great. Now he loves to go for walks up wnd down the street but not so much in other places.
 

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so with that harness, you can make it as tight as you need to?
It's velcro so you can pull it tighter or looser depending on what she needs. There are no sliding straps though. Teddy is almost 2.5 years old and just under 5 lbs. At 11 weeks old, I want to say Teddy weighed 2 lbs. (Based on the Chihuahua puppy weight chart, this looks about right since I know he reached his charted weight at adulthood.) You'd have to weigh your pup and see if it would be a good fit. :) That harness is pretty small though and gentle for babies.

I would be worried about letting her on the ground outside because of her age. I didn't let Taz on the ground outside until two weeks after her second set of vaccinations since that is what the vet advised. I did take her a lot of places but I carried her. I did not have any trouble getting her to walk after that. I just coaxed her along at first and let her look and sniff as much as she wanted too.

Charlie was older and very skittish so I carried him outside to the mailbox and let him walk back to the house at first. Since he was anxious to get back to the house, he walked great. Now he loves to go for walks up wnd down the street but not so much in other places.
It depends on if there are a lot of dogs that frequent that same area where you'll be taking your pups out (and whether or not your pups are fully vaccinated). If a lot of dogs go there and yours isn't vaccinated, then it would be wise to carry your pup out, set her down, let her potty, and pick her up to be brought back inside.

But you can still work on desensitizing her to the harness and walking on leash even if she's not vaccinated. I would just work on these exercises inside the house using lots of treats and praise. But by 12 weeks Teddy was walking around outside on leash, if I remember correctly.. You should check with your vet.
 

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I think one of the best ways for your dog to travel in the car is a seat or carrier. I have one of the Snoozer Lookout car seats for my dogs. It boosts them up where they can see out the window, but they are hooked into the seat so they are safe. It really made them feel much more secure in the car.
 
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