Missy Is Terrified Of Garbage Trucks...


Experienced Member
Hey all,

Any help in teaching her not to be afraid? As soon as she sees the garbage truck she pulls me down the street to get away from it...

History - When Missy was 5 or 6 months old (it was spring last year), there was a street sweeper backing up one of our streets, and *we ended up in the bushes beside the road (so as not to get hit)... well she's been terrified ever since - and I don't blame her!

*I wasn't thinking... I felt terrible afterward and have learned my lesson - we all make mistakes sometimes, right?

Thanks in advance for your tips and advice to get her over her fear. :)


Honored Member
Imo, you would want to begin to desensitize Missy to trucks, or whatever fears she has,
from whatever distance MISSY needs to be calm.
If Missy needs to be 200 feet away to feel cool about looking at the truck,
then you start at 200 feet away.:) Maybe next week, Missy will be calm at 180 feet away, and so on.
Missy can slowly, build an entirely NEW association in her mind about trucks.

You reward calm behavior, for Missy looking right at the truck,
and overtime, shorten the distance, always making sure Missy is enjoying this, not freaking out, staying at subthreshold level, where Missy IS calm.
This will be challenging, as you yourself have no control over when the truck moves.

If truck drives right into area you were working with Missy in, closer than Missy can handle,
then have Missy focus on you, nonstop "look at me" til truck passes. Every time Missy reacts to th truck, that is one more re-enforcement in her mind, about "i should bark at trucks" see, it feeds that loop in her mind,
and so
you do want to prevent Missy from barking at trucks, as much as you possibly can, see?
You might find it easier, if you get stuck too close to truck, esp at first, to keep Missy's att'n/focus on you, if Missy has her BACK towards that evil truck.
It is okay to squat down, and speed feed her treats nonstop while truck passes by. Using small tiny, but high quality treats is good idea, lots of good recipes in the treat forum.

This nonstop "look at me" does nothing to desensitize Missy to actually looking AT the truck:rolleyes: ,(i learned this the hard way)
it is just a "band-aid" last resort type of move, but,
it can help prevent reactions, (if you get stuck too close to truck and Missy wants to flip out), and preventing reactions is also a good goal, too.

"Look at Me" is a cue, you train while Missy IS calm, just like you train any other cue. Lots of ppl try to TEACH the cue, while the dog is upset.
Keeping a dog focused on YOU nonstop, when an object or creature they fear is there, is not quite as easy as it sounds, takes practice, and it can be done!! Usually, for super challenging moments, usually i also have to keep my att'n on my dog, 100%, to be able to keep his att'n on me, too. Your mileage may vary.

Not easy, i know, but, think of 'Preventing Opportunity for Missy to Bark' as one of your goals on this issue.
You can also leave the area the truck has driven too close to Missy, with "Let's Go". If Missy barks over her shoulder at that truck as you leave, it might be worth trying a few moments of "Look At me" and THEN taking Missy away, in attempt to prevent Missy from barking as you leave.

Here is a thread on similar issue: (not quite exactly the same, though)

BUT HAVE HUGE HOPE, as dogs can generalize objects pretty well,:D i think you can remove this "i hate trucks" from Missy's mind, i really think so!!


Honored Member
and lol, you know, every time Missy barks at that truck,
and then the truck leaves,
Missy probably thinks she "won" and got that truck to leave!!:ROFLMAO:
very very re-enforcing to Missy! Her barking "works" every time, to get that truck to leave!:ROFLMAO:

If there are similar issues to other vehicles, like cars, etc, (?) you might find those easier to begin working on, as maybe you'd have more steady access or control of, where those vehicles are? so you can have better control over how far away you can keep Missy while you help Missy get idea that it is fine and rewarding to calmly observe those evil vehicles/helping Missy to make new associations in her lil doggie mind, "trucks = treats and being calm and good stuff"


Honored Member
this is a great video, on helping dogs who react to cars. Maybe some dogs may like toy play instead of food.

In this video, the trainer is right next to the curb,
and your dog might need to start further back than the dog in this video, and then, work her way up to being that close to the curb. All dogs are unique.



Experienced Member
Thanks for your help, tigerlily! :) I will work on this with Missy and see how it goes. :) Also, I will keep this post updated with our progress. :D (for cars, bikes, joggers, and of course garbage trucks!)


Honored Member
THERE, i fixed it. whew.

i get dogster and dogcrazy names mixed up, and several other ppl mixed up, so so sorry! i am such a spaceshot. sometimes, i even get the dog's name,
and the owner's name, mixed up.:ROFLMAO: