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Hi everyone,
I rehomed a collie - alsation cross last month and she has been brilliant walking with me on the lead. But recently when we have went for a walk just the 2 of us we get so far and she just stops and pins her ears back and her tail goes between her legs. Something is worrying her but I have no idea what. It's the same route we've talked together alot since she arrived and there has been no bother from other dogs either.
I take her out first thing on a morning before I go to work, then shes on her own in the house from 8am till 2pm when my mam or dad will take her for a walk with their dog (still on the same route I take her) and she is fine with them, she doesn't stop or anything.
When my girlfriend stays over we take the dog out together and if my girlfriend goes out of sight the dog will behave as if it's just the 2 of us until my girlfriend appears again.
I've not changed how I behave with her when on our walks, I don't raise my voice and shout at her or raise my hand to her. I use treats to reward positive behaviour, but thats it.
I don't understand this sudden change in my dog and hate not being able to let her burn off energy because I can't drag her somewhere she is scared to go herself.
Any suggestions?

Thanks
Comments  
Hi,

A lot of things may be happening in her head. If she is OK with your parents and when you are together with your GF, and if nothing bad has ever happened at that spot, it may be she doesn't feel enough leadership from your side and hence she becomes afraid of something only she knows.

When you go for a walk together next time, do NOT think about the problematic spot, don't imagine how she'll stop there, don't anticipate the situation. Instead, think positively, be sure everything will be fine. Dogs feel our mood and emotions perfectly well, so if you have at least a drop of hesitation, she will know it and will become hesitant too. So after you've put yourself in a positive and confident state of mind, try jogging through the spot. Start jogging at some distance before you reach it, and keep doing it as if there's nothing special about this place. You are just jogging as you could do in any other place she's comfortable in. She should be jogging on the leash slightly behind you or beside you, but NOT ahead you. You are the leader, and the leader goes first. When dogs have good leadership, they feel much more secure, especially if it's a timid dog. If she stops, don't pull her forward but turn around and jog back for a while, then turn around again and try to pass the spot once more. The idea is that you don't stop moving so her mind is occupied with the task and she doesn't have time to sink into her thoughts. I don't know how severe her fear is but you might want to do all this several times to succeed.

What's also important is that you don't show her sympathy, don't feel bad for her and don't try to persuade her everything is good and stuff like that humans usually do when speaking to a scared kid. If you express your love when she's afraid, it will be like a reward for being afraid so you'll unintentionally reinforce the behavior.

You may want to have a look at the article below. It's not about your problem in particular but it's about communication with dogs in general, very good tips that may be of help too, indirectly.

http://mysmelly.com/content/dogs/things-every-dog-owner-should-know.htm

R