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Not cars, but shopping carts!

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I thought about this topic right after reading the thread on car chasing. I think that is a similar topic, but it somehow differs enough to open a new discussion. If it sounds repetitive to you, please just let me know.....

My Francisca is totally ok with cars, but she just hates shopping carts! For her, thats evil on wheels. We walk her a lot in the city, and she manages quite well loud cars, sirens, construction sites... but just dont walk her nearby a supermarket or a bunch of teenagers doing skateboarding. She barks a lot, she pees, and she just pulls us to take her away as fast as possible. When we got her 2 years ago (she was six month old) she was very scary, but we managed to work most of her issues out by acting naturally and showing it was ok, or even fun! But with these two things she just can't, it just gets worse. It has come to the point that whenever we are approaching the supermarkets she already identifies she pulls her leash really hard so that we cross to the other side of the street, even if she hasn't heard or seen a cart yet. She hides her tail, she almost creeps instead of walking... you can tell she is totally frightened. Once supermarket is gone, she is the happy, friendly, curious dog she has always been. Walking on the street is just fun for her!

I'd like her to enjoy ALL the walk, not to have that black spot that ruins the fun. I'd appreciate your suggestions on drills or reactions we should have to help her get over her nightmare :rolleyes:

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I think what might be happening is the noise of the wheels on the shopping carts and skateboards combined with the movement is what's freaking her out. I would say that you should park yourselves around the perimeter of a shopping cart area and start to do some de-sensitizing. Start off slowly with a greater distance between you and the carts, and get her to do some basic commands (like sit, down, etc.) and reward, reward, reward with the best treats on the planet. After that just sit down with her in the area and be as normal and blase as possible to reinforce that it is no big deal. Do this on a regular basis (like once a day for a week or more) and over time move closer to the carts. I think that if you encourage her to relax (by modelling this yourself) combined with conditioning with good stuff (like treats and your company) she will begin to get accustomed to the "evil shopping carts!" :rolleyes:

Good luck,


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What Ailsa said. Is there a possibility you could take her to a new to her shopping center early or late, so that there is little to no activity there?


If you haven't already taught her a Look at That command, get her going with that cue first, on something she's not scared of. I use "Check it out" with my 2 scaredy girls. They approach the thing they're scared of, even a bit, turn back towards me, they get a treat or reward of some kind. Then they approach again, a little closer, repeat repeat repeat.


You get her used to checking things out on cue, take her to the new to her shopping center, and get her to check out a single, stationary shopping basket. When she's comfortable with it stationary, then you can give it a little push. Then switch back to your regular walking route, perhaps picking a less busy time. Even looking at the Evil Shopping Cart while standing still would be a rewardable thing, then on you go on your walk.


As for the kids on skateboards, same approach. Buy a skateboard of your own if you don't know any kids. Have her target it, give it a push, ride it yourself just for a couple feet.


Good luck!


Ruth n the BC3

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