Wow

I took Spencer out for some socialization today. I took him into Gettysburg, PA thinking it would be a nice quiet walk around town. Whoah, it wasn't! Poor little guy. He wasn't afraid of the people - he met three little kids a middle aged couple and an elderly lady. He did well there. HOWEVER, it was a bad night for really loud motorcycles, big trucks and to top it all off, three fire engines with sirens blasting passed us while we were on the sidewalk:eek: !! I sure hope I didn't warp the little guy for life. We'll take a trip to a semi-quiet park next…..

You need to give this b a signal that all this noise is ok.
He gets "scared" you use a high happy voice, saying, silly boy this is good, we like this…
and go on like there is no issue.
The dog will take the clue from you and your reaction.
If you p/u the dog, or cuddle him when he is scared, you will MAKE him scared.
Really, they do look to the owners...you go along with a happy tone and they "get" it.

I heard that Gettysburg Battlefield has Walking Ghost Tours of the area. Being that it's Halloween, I'm sure it was pretty crowded down there.

@Kebasmom:

I took Spencer out for some socialization today. I took him into Gettysburg, PA thinking it would be a nice quiet walk around town. Whoah, it wasn't! Poor little guy. He wasn't afraid of the people - he met three little kids a middle aged couple and an elderly lady. He did well there. HOWEVER, it was a bad night for really loud motorcycles, big trucks and to top it all off, three fire engines with sirens blasting passed us while we were on the sidewalk:eek: !! I sure hope I didn't warp the little guy for life. We'll take a trip to a semi-quiet park next…..

What was his reaction to these things? I do a lot of socialization with my pups and make sure that part of that is a trip to downtown to meet people, hear sirens, hear the train, see live bands, etc. By the time we go downtown they have already been exposed to many sights and sounds and have some basics commands. They are occasionally startled by something new but for the most part recover quickly and after about an hour and half start to settle and are like okay this is normal. I continue downtown trips for all my dogs so they stay socialized to the hustle and bustle. They especially like the stop at Baskin Robbins Ice Cream. 🙂

Spencer was kind of walking low with his tail down at first. He did stop to water just about every tree though. I only picked him up once and that was when the fire engines started to come by. I mainly just continued to walk and tell him he was a good boy. He stayed with me, but I could tell he was still skittish. When we got to the quieter streets he was head up and tail curled. He also wanted to be on the move most of the time and didn't really care for sitting on a bench in the square. He actually let the people pet him and talk to him. He approached the elderly lady when she walked up. As for the really loud sounds he jumped and backed up, but then moved forward again. We were out for about an hour. Maybe it was just a little too long for him. He slept like a rock last night. Do I need to worry about overload? I plan on taking him out again.

I try not to exhaust them too much but they will usually go home and sleep soundly. That sort of outing is very mentally stimulating which is much more exhausting for dogs then just physical activity. Do you carry treats with you while you are on these outings to reward Spencer for good behavior? Getting a treat for checking out the "scary" thing can help to build confidence. There is a statue of a jogger in Downtown Davis, Rio used to be very wary of the statue but I would give her treats for walking towards it and moving past it. Now she likes walking past the statue since she associates it with getting a treat.

Thanks to all for the tips on getting Spencer used to stuff. We went downtown again last night and he was so much better, especially when we got to the trees that he whizzed on the other night. He got a lot of encouragement but wouldn't take the treats. We purposely stepped on some things (metal stuff) that made noise and then reassured him afterward. He actually spent most of the hour with his head up and tail curled, and of course he love the "is that a basenji!?!" :rolleyes: attention. He did well, but we'll keep workin' it. He doesn't like to sit still though, he whines some until we start moving again.

What kind of treats are you using? You may want to try some different ones to find one that he will take. For downtown trips we use very high value treats usually something like roast chicken or duck jerky.

As for not wanting to settle, that is not too unusual given his age and he is a basenji. Just remember that there are so many sights, sounds, and smells that it is really challenging for your dog. The more you go, the more you should see him starting become more comfortable and he may start offering a sit.

Many years ago we were up in the Adirondack MTS (Old Forge) I was walking 2 B's on a leash and we would go by a chainsaw statue of a bear - my dogs did not like that bear - we were there for several weeks and nothing much changed - they gave that statue a wide berth!

On another note I once had a Great Dane who chased cars BUT only if she was IN our car. We had a Chevy Blazer and she would dive for the back of the truck barking when another vehicle went by. I swear the truck would rock - it was funning but rather onsafe.

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