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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

12 Week Old Australian Shepherd Won’t Walk And Is Terrified Of Everything Outside

by Heather
(Chicago, IL)

My 12 week old Aussie is perfect, however, I can’t get him to walk outside, he won’t even respond to treats. I will carry him off the front porch to the potty area and praise, praise, praise. He immediately jerks at the leash and runs for the front porch.

I have tried carrying him to areas where he cannot see the front porch and he either curls up in a ball or tries frantically to run to a hiding spot, specifically under cars or through neighbors gates.

Should I be carrying him? Should I pull on his leash to get him to walk? Please help.

Comments for 12 Week Old Australian Shepherd Won’t Walk And Is Terrified Of Everything Outside

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More info
by: Anonymous

I replied once but it never showed up here. How long have you had him? When did this start? Was he ok when you first brought him home?

Re: anonymous
by: Heather

He has been with me for 7 days, I know it’s early but it seems to be getting worse. He was on a farm before. He was hesitant when I brought him home but still walked for the first day or so. Did well in the car. Does best when I take his leash off and give him his space. I have been able to get him to come down my front stairs to explore a bit with a trail of treats and even bringing one of his favorite toys out with us but the second a loud truck drives by or he sees a figure walking towards us, he runs toward home.

by: Anonymous

At 12 weeks it’s not irreversible. Introduce him to outside/different things very slowly and make it fun. Reward him constantly when he’s out there, with treats, toys or whatever he enjoys. And yes, carrying him part of the time would probably help if he’s comfortable with that. Make sure he knows that NOT going outside is not an option.
Our most cautious, timid Aussie pup turned out to be the most loyal, clingy, best behaved Aussie we ever had. Hope this helps.

by: Heather

Thank you! This is encouraging and helpful.

I learned he had been eating adult dog food and have since started weening to puppy food. His energy level has taken a quick turn and he is now going to the front porch on his own, slowly venturing down the stairs. We actually took a few runs down the sidewalk this evening, all his decision.

Thank you for the advice. I will keep working him and look forward to hopefully sharing additional progress soon.

Any added advice is much appreciated. Kodee is going to be a legend, I just know it.

Trying to hide from the big scary open world
by: Anonymous

Another thing you might want to consider is being out in the open, being so young and so small in a big world, pup feels vulnerable. I would also set out a blanket like you're going to have a picnic and sit there with your pup on a leash with treats and maybe some chew toys and your own book to read for maybe 15 minutes. The less reactive you are when some car or truck drives by in the distance, the less reactive the pup will learn to be. They really do tune in to your own body language and when you don't respond to certain "stimuli" they also learn to do the same.

This also will take time. I used to do this "picnic" style of hanging out at a local community park. He loved parking next to me chewing on his toys and when someone would ride by on a bicycle or walk by, he'd perk up and watch them with ears perked forward and not move while I continued doing what I did quietly. It was one of the ways I got him used to the presence of most everything involving any human from baby, child, teens to adults. Hope you can get situated to doing the same, good luck!

by: Anonymous

When my now 5-month-old was that little he was a little scared to be outside also, even in the backyard. I would sit down in the grass and he would lay in my lap. He did not start doing well on a leash until he was closer to 4 months. You must remember outside is full of sounds and smells that are all new. Just start by sitting with him and letting him take everything in and eventually he will begin to explore on his own knowing he can come back to your lap if he gets scared. A lot has changed for him recently, new home, away from mother/siblings, be patient and he’ll get there.

Make outside fun
by: Anonymous

I wouldn't worry too much about this, as others have commented there is a lot of new sights, sounds, smells when they are at that age. My Aussie, who is now almost three, was exactly like that at a young age but grew out of it pretty quick once she learned how fun the outside world is. I would say just do your best to make every outside adventure an enjoyable and positive experience, bring lots of treats and make being outside all about playtime. If your pup is having a hard time even in the backyard I would start there first, maybe play a little fetch, or just sit out there with the dog being sure to give tons of praise and attention, using high-value treats will help also. All in all I think that this behavior is pretty normal. If your dog is not fearful of other dogs I would also recommend doing a play date out in the backyard with a friend or family member's dog. Just be sure the other dog is well trained as you definitely don't want an incident outside while youre pup is already struggling a bit. That could just add fuel to the fire.

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