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elleC

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  1. I have an 11 month old BC puppy, who I re-homed from another family when she was 6 months old. She spent most of her first 6 months on farm properties and I feel like she had never really experienced all of the sights and sounds of a suburban area until she moved in with us. As a result, she was very reactive to strangers and other dogs at first (lunging and barking). We have taken her to obedience classes and we have been doing a lot of training with her. She is no longer reactive to strangers during the daytime and she is slowly getting more comfortable passing other dogs (we are slowly closing in the space between us and them and rewarding her with lots of treats in the process). However, we live in a country that only gets a few hours of daylight during the winter months. I've noticed that she seems a little skittish in the dark and tends to be reactive to passers by. Our trainer told us it's not unusual for dogs of her age to go through a fear phase, with darkness being a common fear. I take her for her evening walk a little later when I know there will be less people around. Tonight, we were walking down a short and narrow, snowy footpath (a route that we take most evenings). All of a sudden a woman came out of her house and was following us down the path. My pup stopped and turned around and I could tell by her body language that she was nervous. Then, out of nowhere a guy appeared at the bottom of the footpath and started to walk up towards us. She panicked and was running in circles on her leash and I fell over backwards on the ice. I managed to regain my balance and hold on to her. She had dropped to the ground which is generally what she does before she starts barking and lunging at a person. I was trying to get her attention with treats, but the space between her and the guy was just too close for her. I thought he would see me struggling and give us a little space, but instead he walked right towards us, and of course, she jumped up and started barking / lunging. I explained to him that she was very nervous, but he totally ignored me. He continued to try and get past us and I couldn't move at all because she was pulling so hard and the ground was so slippery. In future, do you think it would be a good idea for me to ask people to stop and give us some space to pass to avoid getting caught in a situation like this? I usually avoid narrow paths and stick to the wider roads while we're in training, but this one is so short and we've been walking down it every night for weeks without any events. Do you have any advice on how to better handle these situations in future?
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