the dog has no health problems or issues.
When was the last time she (what is this little poodles name please?) was seen by a vet, to be sure there isn't a medical issue?
I'm shorter than average and am not at all comfortable when there are many people larger than me in a crowd.
I drive a smaller car and am very concerned when surrounded by larger vehicles on the road.
This is a safety issue for a small dog and may well be the primary cause of the whimpering.
If this is this is the same little poodle you wrote of before, you'd mentioned going to parks. Is that a rare occurrence, rather than easily accessible for walking, and not to stay all day? Is there any public building with accessible grounds that might be safe to walk in?
Fyi, I'm going to call the poodle Serenity for now.
Ultimately, yes, it would be nice to help Serenity learn that she will be safe with you or both of you so that she can walk without fear.
A recent thread about helping a pup past fears. (Thank you, cowpony for this. I will forever growl at and poke garbage bins in your honor
A few weeks ago Galen was startled when the wind caught the lid of a recycling bin and ripped it open with a loud clatter. He now has a profound distrust of wheelie bins. Today Galen and I were happily trundling along on our afternoon walk when he went rigid and planted all four feet. There...
And borrowing suggestions from our member and certified trainer, Click-N-Treat again:
" The Look at That game. It's one of the most useful tools for helping a stressed dog calm down.
Start in the house. Have an object in your hand (book, plastic bottle) Wave it, say look at that, when the dog looks, say YES (or click) and give a treat. Hide it behind your back. Take a breath, and repeat. Put the object in different places, over your head, to your left, to your right, between your legs. Keep the game fun and happy.
The dog will learn to LOOK at something and then LOOK back at you for a reward.
The goal of the game is to teach the dog to look at a scary or overstimulating thing, now look at me.
Go very slowly. Look at one scary person, treat, go back inside where it's safe. Next time, look at two very scary people, treat, go back inside. If your dog spits out treats, you're too close to the scary thing. Back up until the dog is comfortable then try again."
This "game" gives them permission to be scared but by looking to you, trusting you to keep them safe, they can move forward and closer to what they fear, until they no longer fear it.
This is something to try in short sessions, maybe 5-10 minutes per session, as with any training, maybe 2 or so times a day.
"Honor how he feels and it works. Isn't it funny how changing your own reactions to your dog's fears can make such a huge impact? Instead of worrying about how to fix it, run away from it together. Get far enough away where you can play the look at that game. Pause and take a step forward together, and another.
I remember when Noelle was terrified of helium balloons. She didn't know what they were, why they were floating, why they moved like that, and they really scared her. In a public place, I pointed to a red balloon, and told Noelle, "Oh no, it's Pennywise! We gotta go, run!"
And we did. We fled to the other side of the store, and we watched those balloons together. And we took one step closer, and Noelle sat. And we took two steps closer, and Noelle sat. And when we took three steps closer, Noelle wouldn't sit.
"Noelle! Did you see Pennywise? Run!"
Now, I'm laughing, of course. And strangers were no doubt looking at me like I'd just landed from Saturn. I didn't care. But, slowly Noelle got used to the balloons. We did it on her timetable, not mine. While we watched balloons I encouraged her. When you encourage someone, you give them courage. Giving courage as a gift sometimes looks like running away in mock terror from a helium balloon.
Laughing, being playful, while moving away from whatever was causing Noelle stress, let her know that I was there with her, and not against her. That we would meet the fearful thing and defeat it together. Balloons are a natural for being worried about Pennywise. Talking about alien abduction covers just about any other problem.
"Yes, Noelle, I know. You were standing by that loud door when the aliens abducted you last time. Let's get out of here!"
If you're willing to be playful, and have fun, and tune out the strangers who are staring at you, counter conditioning can be a lot of fun. Run away laughing. Stop and watch things and then take a step closer. Take two steps closer. Did you push it too far? Run away laughing. It keeps you from being tense and worried, and your happiness goes right down the leash.
Your dog knows you're playing. Frightened animals don't play. So, if you're acting goofy and playful, you're sending a strong signal to your dog. Huh, maybe this very scary thing is not very scary. And maybe I can relax, because my person is relaxed and happy. Move at the dog's pace and you'll get where you need to go. I encourage you to trust yourself, and encourage your dog. You're on the right road, going in the right direction. Great things are coming your way. You'll see."
As for burning energy, physical energy is only one component. Training games are simply playing with a purpose. If Serenity knows basic obedience commands, try adding some tricks to her repertoire. This is the AKC list of tricks to master:
Videos to Teach Novice Tricks
Get in a Box
Sit In A Box
Spin & Twist