trying to help my fearful dog
Hi all. I'm looking for any helpful suggestions I can get to help my pup. We adopted Calley as a 12 week old puppy from a local rescue group back in September. She came to the rescue group with two siblings, so my assumption was she'd been in a home situation for most of her life. In general, she's a happy, reasonably well-behaved, frequently confident girl. Inside, she's a great dog. Outside, she's great except that she gets terribly frightened. She's now about 9 months old.
Things scare her and she locks up and won't walk at all. The first couple of weeks she was scared of trains, open spaces like fields and parking lots, and loud noises. We coaxed her with food and went through two sets of clicker-training classes. We found a gradual but noticeable improvement. She's generally getting better, but there is always the stray thing that spooks her.
Two weeks ago we had a random warm spring day. Kids were out with skateboards. This is the second time she's come across skateboards, and they frighten her like nothing I've seen. The first time, my husband had to carry her home two blocks. The second time was two weeks ago. For five days after, we weren't able to get her to go on any walks. We could usually get her into the yard far enough to do her business, but one day we even had to carry her out to the yard to do that. It was either carry her or drag her. On a good day, I could get her from the front door to the car so we could go to the dog park.
She loves the dog park. She has her favorite friends and they play and roughhouse and run. She's pretty much always confident at the dog park. So we decided that maybe the best thing for her was a second dog. This past weekend we adopted Ringo from the same rescue group. He's 2 years old, laid-back and a pretty self-assured guy. She instantly loved him and she's even gone on 4 or 5 good walks since we got him (out of a dozen attempts). She seems calmer and happier. But we also haven't come across and more skateboards or razor scooters or la crosse practicers. Spring is just around the corner, and we live in a neighborhood with lots of kids. We have skateboarders on both sides of us.
What else can I do to get her over her fears? Is there any danger of him adopting her fears rather than helping her get over them? Ringo the "therapy dog" definitely seems to be helping, but I know he isn't a miracle cure. Any suggestions on how best to make this work?
Calley & Ringo together: