[Wags] There is hope! Got through 5mo puppy fear stage!

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My husband and I have a 5-month old White Swiss Shepherd puppy. She came home to us a 3-months old. Super smart pup and very sweet with us, but her biggest struggle is her shyness around strangers and fear of kids. She was also reeaaally scared of bikes, but after just a couple of sessions of counter-conditioning on walks, she watched a guy ride by without flinching. She was starting to make good progress with kids as well, being able to watch them from across the street without reacting.

However, a few weeks ago this all went down the toilet.

She suddenly no longer wanted to go out for walks. She was scared. She didn't want to leave the driveway. On a decent morning, I could get her to the next house over and that was it before she was so panicked that I would decide to turn around. Noises that didn't scare her before bothered her. Seeing a child all the way down the street made her panic and try to pull her way home. Don't get me started on children riding scooters. One night we tried to take her to a cafe she's been to before, and she wouldn't hop out of the car at all no matter how much we coaxed her.

I would say this has been going on for maybe 3-4 weeks now.

Then, two days ago, everything suddenly seems fine. Suddenly she is totally cool with going on walks again. Someone is jogging by? No problem! Bike in the distance? That's okay too! Want to go hang out at the cafe? Totally fine relaxing under the table. No anxiety seeing all the cars and people walk by at all.

What did we do differently?

Honestly? Nothing.

Maybe the only thing we did the last few weeks was we tried to be sensitive to her having a hard time. But we continued trying to take her out. We dialed back the intensity on a case-by-case basis. I have worried a lot about whether she was going out enough, whether all her positive experiences were going out the window and being replaced by this fear. But we kept trying.

So to all of you dealing with similar fear problems with your pup – don't give up! Continue to be consistent, even when you feel yourself doubting. I wasn't sure how long this fear period was going to last, and I wasn't even sure we were going about it correctly. But seeing our pup just chill under the cafe table and just people watch made me realize it was all fine and all the work is paying off.

Stay strong, puppy owners 🙂

Obligatory puppy tax!

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