My dog seems stressed when walking in the city. Any advice/insight?
We rescued a dog about 6 months ago when she was 3 years old. We think she is a Lab/Shepherd/Pit mix? We have no knowledge of her past. She is a great dog, we have done the pack structure ground work process, as well as I am now training her through the Michael Ellis videos. She has been doing amazing and is very engaged with me and I feel we are creating a good bond. My concern is that when we go on walks through town on sidewalks, on a busy street or not, she is so stressed seeming. She doesn't pull at all, but she has her head down, is constantly sniffing the ground, tail down or tucked, not wagging ever, and it looks like she's always stalking/crawling like a lioness on the prowl. But she doesn't pull at all. When I try to engage her, she perks up and does everything I ask, but as soon as we start walking again she goes back to looking stressed. When I take her on trail hikes she is relaxed and is totally fine. This only happens in town. Any advice/insight?
I think that you may just want to be aware of her body language but I would not focus on it too much since she's not pulling. I have one dog that walks like this on occasion, she does look like she's in stalking mode. I raised this dog from birth and it's just how she is.
Since you've only had her for 6 months it may just take more time being with you in different environments to see a change but it's always possible she may always have a more suppressed body language in an urban setting.
You could also try incorporating more interaction on these walks.. Take a touch pad with you and randomly throw it out there and ask her to touch it or use items in the environment (rocks, benches, tree stumps, steps, etc) and ask her to TOUCH. I actually did this type of training with one of my horses that I trail ride with and it gave him a focus other than worrying about where he was. It was a fun "job" that he associated with lots of tasty rewards.