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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 18940
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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I have a 3 year old border collie petrified of trucks and

Customer Question

i have a 3 year old border collie petrified of trucks and buses
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
(Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. It is quite late here, so it probably will be tomorrow before I get a chance to reply. I hope you can be patient.
What exactly does he do?
What obedience training has your dog had?
Do you know of any incident that might have occurred to cause your dog to be scared of trucks and buses?
Do you think the noise is different for those?
Do cars affect him at all?
When he first exhibited this behavior did you comfort him or try to reassure him?
What have you tried so far to correct this problem?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
hi i hope i can answer you questions
1. he cowers and hides in our ensuite if the rubbish truck drives by on a walk if he hears a loud truck he stops and stares or tries to pull away and ill comfort him and ensure he is ok in the back seat of my car he hides under the canopy if he sees trucks on the road if he doesnt see any trucks hes happy to sit with his head out of the window
2. he had level two at an obedience school
3.when he was about four months old we went for a walk on bin day and he was shaking and petrified and i was holding and comforting him but he was so scared of the truck. amazingly i am a concreter with trucks excavators and he comes along with me in my trucks many times without any problems
4.yes i think it is noise loud cars or motorbikes always take his attention but not in a panic mode like the trucks
5.hes fine with cars
6. always try and comfort him when he gets like this
7. things ive tried so far ( i.)on our walk stop at a busy roundabout or intersection and just watch the traffic reassuring him all the time (ii) on a twenty meter rope lead watch some traffic when a truck goes by call him to me and reward with a treat (iii) always talk to him and pat and comfort when i see a big truck.
i read up that i needed to desensitise him so thats what ive tried wether ive done it properly i dont know but i feel so sorry for him as he is a beautiful family dog socialised to the max and very playful every other time i hope you can help our situationthanks and regards tony
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi JaCustomer,
Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful.
Let me first go over how dogs think about behavior. When they do something, they evaluate what is going on around them. So say a loud clank or unusual sound from a trash truck startles them. They shy away from the noise. You immediately try and comfort him, giving him attention and petting him or getting down on his level. In his brain, he thinks that if he jumps away, acts scared then you will show him extra attention.
In addition, if you are anticipating his reaction to certain vehicles, you transmit your worry to the dog. The dog doesn't know what you are worried about and may in turn think his being anxious around trucks is justified since you are worried too.
So what you need to do is find out how far away from the truck you need to be for him not to react. Once you find that distance start with him there while the trucks come by. Talk to him, pat him and even give him nice hot dog (vienna sausage)slices as long as he isn't reacting. The next day move a step closer to the trucks, etc repeating the praise, pats and treats as long as he isn't reacting. Gradually move him closer and closer. If he reacts, give a short tug to break his attention from the trucks and give a low toned "NO" and no treats. Remember to move slow as you really don't want him to react. If he stops reacting, give the treats. You are reinforcing the desired behavior and in turn letting him know you won't be rewarding his unwanted behavior.
You might even see if you can find someone else with a big truck or even a trash truck that might let him ride along once or twice. Perhaps even find where the yard is where they park and work on desensitizing him close to there where you don't have to wait for a stray truck to pass. They would be coming in and out regularly.
It shouldn't take him long to correct the behavior once yo are not comforting him when he does it. Instead of calling him to you on walks, keep the walks brisk and fast so he doesn't have time to think about the truck. You can keeps some treats in your hand and let him have one every once in a while as you are moving forward so he is more focused on your hand and the treat rather than the trucks.
Find a DAP collar for him. They use pheromones to calm a dog. It is similar to the pheromone produced by a nursing mom to calm her pups. It is great for anxious dogs.
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you need more information or clarification, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as possible. If you are satisfied, please take the opportunity to rate.

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