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We go on daily hikes with our nearly 2 year old irish setter. When we encounter someone on the trail, our dog breaks into a series of high-pitched barks. It sounds like she's being hurt. She also jumps and spins about, but never touches them. If we encounter someone walking their dog, she also drools (she never drools otherwise)! I would describe her actions as excited, not in any way aggressive. Even though we almost always encounter someone on the trail and we hike daily, she still does this each time. The daily exposure isn't helping desensitize her.

She wasn't so reactive until recently. We socialized her as a pup. We took her anywhere dogs were permitted. Initially, she was afraid of mountain bikers, then it was other dogs, and now it's anyone unfamiliar. I've become more hesitant to take her to very populated places as she'll be anxious the entire duration. 

So, my question is have any of experienced this? I'm open to any suggestions on how to deescalate her in these situations. Thanks in advance!

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I would try parking somewhere that is kind of busy with your dog in the car and see what happens, maybe unwind the windows a bit, too.

what do you mean by"recently" -  just asking as she might come into season, girls can be weird before and after :)

I wouldn't worry, Jamie went through a stage when he started becoming upset with umbrellas! Then it was bicycles and large dogs, I just ignored and carried on, in fact talked to people with bicycles and umbrellas and totally ignored Jamie's anxiety and he is now ok. Sometimes he worries a bit with the large umbrellas but I just ignore and its not now a big deal.

Hi there Alex, it might be just a hormonal change as Laura suggested or something she'll grow out of - but we have a girl that was anxious about certain things and every training suggestion or desensitizing did not work. I don't want to worry you but I would suggest to carefully observe her and not hesitate to consult the your vet and also your breeder. If normal training does not work, I suggest to consult Dr. Jean Dodds from hemopet and get her thyroxine level tested. You can also write to her and ask questions. http://www.hemopet.org/hemolife-diagnostics/veterinary-thyroid-test...

Our girls thyroxine level is at the lower end (but still ok - although we should test again) and she was very anxious especially after her seasons - and then after a while, she had two epileptic fits at the age of 3.5 right after her season during the hormonal change. Our vet reacted quickly and put her on a very low dose of phenobarbital and since then, she had no seizure anymore (since 4,5 years now!!) and normal training would begin to work. With the help of medication desensitizing her in certain situations began to do the trick and we have a quite normal girl now (except for fireworks!). 

Jean Dodds is a very nice person and friend of all dog lovers - don't hesitate to contact her. Good luck, C & J xxx

Another idea - are you using a lead on your walks? Perhaps your own tension is being transferred to the dog when you see a likely problem approaching and you tighten the lead and it contributes to your dog going nuts. Maybe simply changing the type of lead could help. I use one of those front-attaching halter types, I think it's called Easywalker or something like that.

When your dog is anxious you can give mimulus from dokter bach(this is for things he recognizes)

Asp is when he is much to sensitive in combination with walnut

And when your dog prefers to be alone give him water violet

Star of bethlehem for a trauma

Larch when he laks selfconfidence

Give it about 3 months and it should improve




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