A little while ago I wrote an article about dogs that won’t walk. This article is in a similar vein. Dog’s that are nervous on the walk, particularly dogs that are scared of cars, lorries, buses, motorbikes or any other vehicles that you could care to mention. No doubt you are reading this because it is something you are experiencing, or you know someone who is having this experience with their dog.
Firstly, it might be helpful to know that it is a very common phenomena. So while you might not see it every day that you are walking along a roadside, it is definitely something that I am dealing with on a (roughly) monthly basis, and I can help you with it too.
The second thing that is helpful to know is why it is happening. The easiest way of explaining this is that your dog doesn’t know that these cars, buses, lorries etc are not a threat. They are big, noisy and move quickly, therefore it is perfectly reasonable for your dog to be scared of them. They have no frame of reference for what they are, so a percentage of dogs are going to put them into a “things to be worried about” category.
Further to that, your dog is not considering your ability to make decisions when they are scared of these vehicles. They are simply being scared and are then either trying to get away from them, or make some kind of attack to ward them off. If your dog doesn’t look to you in these situations, that means it does not consider you to be a decision maker, at least not (or least-of-all) when it comes to the crunch.
This is where the room to change this behaviour comes from. To stop your dog from being scared of cars, buses, lorries or motorbikes, you first need to convince your dog that you are a worthy decision maker and they can trust you to keep them out of harm’s way. How to do that requires way too long a description for a blog post. This is what I would teach you and your household to do. Convince your dog of your leadership abilities, so they can learn to trust that you have everything under control.
Personally I am based in Essex, Leigh on Sea and I serve the surrounding towns – Thorpe Bay, Rayleigh, Chelmsford etc. As well as just beyond the county into East London, Suffolk. You can also read “The Dog Listener” by Jan Fennell, which will start you off on the right path for proving yourself to your dog.