Dogs are naturally curious and curious, so they generally interact enthusiastically with the world around them, but there may be times or situations when they become cautious or fearful.
Each dog has a different personality depending on its breed, type, previous experience, and individual nature. Every dog is different – just like us – and while there are some true canine extroverts, there can also be dogs who are more concerned about things around them or who they might encounter.
The more we take our time to understand our dog’s unique personality the better we can predict when they will behave fearfully and how we can support them.
Most behavior problems are rooted in fear – even aggression. It’s not the only cause, but it’s a major cause. Often times, when you think of the most common canine problems, you will find that the original cause is the dog feeling concerned, scared, or frightened.
Causes of common behavior problems:
- Separation anxiety – Afraid of being alone
- Noise Phobias – Fear of strange or sudden noises
- Resource conservation – fear of losing a cherished item
- Dog to dog aggression – Afraid of strange dogs
- Aggression towards people – fear of strangers
There are other common problems that arise from anxiety that people don’t think about often, such as hyperactivity, reactivity, and lack of attention when they are away from home. A common complaint from many dog training owners is “He’s perfect at home but he just doesn’t listen to me here”. Often this is because they are confident and relaxed at home, but in a classroom setting with different environments, other dogs, and strangers, they are much more concerned.
Your dog will usually feel safest with you in familiar surroundings, but like any other animal, dogs may be wary of things they suspect may pose a threat, new places or situations, or something out of the ordinary ( or that) You have had bad experiences in the past. We may know it’s fine and perfectly safe, but we often forget that our dogs don’t always know that.
When our dogs are scared, they have several different ways to act – and some of them are not obvious. In some cases, they may respond with a “fight or flight” response. This means that they are either trying to deter or run away from the threat or find ways to avoid it.
The “fight or flight” instinct is natural, but sometimes it can cause dogs to overreact. While you can take steps to help your dog in these situations, it will be far better and less stressful for both of you if you can build your dog’s confidence and ability to deal with new situations – or identify situations that might arise Your dog may feel concerned or scared and take steps to avoid them.
Read our tips on how you can help them deal with common fears and anxieties, and get your canine companion on the road to happiness.
Signs of fear in dogs can include:
- Tremors / tremors
- Inability to settle down
- Try to hide
- Lack of appetite (including the inability to take a treat)
- To be too distracted to get her attention
- Licking lips
- Whale eye (shows whites of eyes)
- Raise one paw
- Lowered body language
- Goofy behavior (getting zoomies, scratching, etc.)
- Loss of toilet training
If you notice any of these signs of anxiety in dogs in response to certain stimuli or situations, your dog or puppy may be anxious or anxious. If you believe this is the case, contact an accredited experienced behavioral scientist for further assistance.
Dog fears and phobias: fireworks and other loud noises
ONE, Dog’s fear of fireworks or other loud noises is especially common on the night of the fire and in the New Year when they are very loud and unpredictable!
While we know fireworks aren’t a cause for concern, their effects can be devastating to some dogs. If not treated right away, a slight concern can lead to a serious loud noise phobia and, in the worst-case scenario, anything your dog associates with fireworks, such as dawn.
However, if your dog is scared of fireworks, there is no need to cancel your fireworks plans. Just follow a few tips to make your fireworks night, Diwali, or New Year’s Eve go smoothly.
Before the fireworks
- Acclimate your dog to the sounds of fireworks. If your dog is afraid of loud noises, ask your veterinarian if they can recommend a pet behaviorist. Training and acclimatization, especially at a young age, can teach dogs that pony and rumble are nothing to worry about. You can also purchase CDs to help your dog get used to loud noises.
- Keep your dog after dark. Take your dog for a walk in the daylight and leave him indoors after dark. Even if you’re not throwing a fireworks party yourself, it might be your neighbors, which might come as a little surprise to your dog.Animals that panic can easily run away and be lost or injured. Therefore, it is also a good idea to make sure they are microchipped just in case.
- Talk to your veterinarian. If your dog is afraid of fireworks and doesn’t change his behavior, let your veterinarian know that he is still showing signs of fear of loud noise. There are a number of different commercial solutions such as B. Pheromone sprays your veterinarian can advise on if your dog is afraid of loud noises.
During the fireworks
- Be calm and reassuring. Your dog takes her cues from you, her most trusted friend. Stay relaxed and calm and don’t make any more fuss than normal to your dog, even if he is acting desperately. If your dog is afraid of fireworks, try to reassure him that everything is fine. Carry on as usual and you will soon start following your example.
- Muffle noises. If your dog stays with you, keep the curtains closed and the windows closed to calm the fireworks outside. Play music or turn on the TV to create a constant, identifiable sound that is used to mask rare, random bangs.
- Provide dog company. Shared pain is half of the pain. If your friends have dogs that your dog can get along with, especially if they aren’t bothered by loud noises, ask them to visit.
Dogs are social by nature and crave company – that’s why they bond so well with us. However, if they are not taught how to deal with being alone, it can lead to separation-related issues (often, though not always exactly, called separation anxiety).
Separation anxiety symptoms vary from mild to extreme – and can include barking and/or howling when leaving, chewing and other destructive behaviors, loss of toilet training, scratching or digging at doors, pacing, excessive wheezing and drooling, attempts to escape, and even self-mutilation, and even aggression.
While it is sometimes easy to believe that your dog is naughty – or that you are resentful that you left him – this couldn’t be further from the truth. Separation anxiety arises when dogs have not been taught the coping skills they need to manage time on their own and are plainly afraid (sometimes extreme) of being alone – and can be viewed as similar to a human panic attack.
There’s nothing more difficult than having a dog that can’t be left alone – in fact, it’s probably one of the most difficult behavior problems to overcome. However, as with many behavioral problems, this is something that prevention is far better than cure for.
In the vast majority of cases, these problems have their roots in puppyhood. Owners are so excited about their new pup that they’ll be excited to want to follow them everywhere – and that bond is vital. Obviously, if you give your pup constant access to you every second of the day, that’s what he’ll expect. All of a sudden, you have to go out without your dog for half an hour – and you discover that their world ends without you – and it’s your fault.
In other cases, the first thing the new owner does is close their puppy in the kitchen to spend their first night alone – thus teaching the puppy that people are leaving and that it is excruciating and scary.
From the minute you bring your puppy home they need to learn that while they can trust that you are there for them, sometimes they cannot be with you all the time – and that is okay. Set up baby gates and make a habit of going to another room and leaving them alone for a few minutes to keep them busy (such as a dinner or treat).
Don’t make it a big deal, just quietly walk away and come back without a fuss. Just make it a part of life from the start and give them the confidence to handle it. Shower without her, go for a walk in the garden – all she teaches from the start is that not being with you every minute is not a crisis and the fact that you always get something tasty to keep you busy something almost looking forward to it.
Then you can slowly go out without your pup for five minutes, then 10 minutes, and then 30 minutes, until he is happy to be alone for an hour – but always very slowly.
Leave them in a perfectly safe place where they are comfortable and let your absence distract you – this is a time when stuffed kongs are priceless.
Use technology to know exactly what happens when you leave the company. This is how you really know your puppy is happy, not distraught. Set up a webcam with an app so you can watch your puppy on your smartphone while you are away.
The time you spend teaching your pup that it is safe to be alone and that it will pay off in the future to be a family dog - but remember that dogs need company and social contact, and not a dog happy is regularly being alone for hours.
However, if you already have a dog with mild separation anxiety, there are some things you can do to try and resolve the problem.
First, make sure it is separation anxiety or if there is another cause.
Is the barking dog just bored?? Is the puppy getting enough social company and exercise (physical and mental) for the rest of the time – and especially before you leave – so that he can rest calmly? Is the dog that loses her Toilet training left for too long? Is the Puppy chew Just being opportunistic with things lying around and being alone is deadly boring?
These symptoms are often linked to separation anxiety, but in fact, they are pretty easily resolved when more exercise is broken up into a few times a day, brain games like interactive toys, and exercise Dog walker or sitter coming in to shorten absences and make the day less boring, tidying up the house, leaving a radio on and leaving the dog in a room where he is comfortable and happy (and where there are no external stimuli that make him bark) than with the run of the whole house.
Again, watching your dog in front of a webcam can help you decide whether it’s boredom (in these cases the behaviors become fairly calm and often intermittent (with rest and sleep periods in between) or separation anxiety, which is generally constant and the dog is obviously stressed. Some dogs start out with boredom and then work their way up to stressful and anxious behaviors.
If you’re not sure, see a professional behavioral scientist who has experience with separation issues and evaluate your dog.
For light cases:
- As a puppy, start right at the beginning and teach him how to handle time around the house before you leave. During this time, they should not be left alone, so you may need a pet sitter or friend to help you.
- When you start to leave them again, build this up very slowly – and use a webcam so you know your dog is relaxed.
- Leave them with a safe, interactive toy (such as a stuffed Kong) and with the radio or television turned on.
- Make sure your dog is tired when you leave – this way they are more likely to sleep than if they were full of energy – so make sure they have a good walk or play first.
- Don’t make a big fuss about leaving or coming back. This makes your walking even more of an “event” for your dog.
- Try to vary your departure routine so your dog can’t cope with your upcoming departure.
- You may need to get a friend or dog handler to visit your dog if you are gone for more than an hour, as trying to do too much too soon can make the situation much worse.
- However, if your dog is having a more serious separation-related issue, you should ask your veterinarian to refer you to an accredited behaviorist who has experience with separation issues so you can devise a program to overcome it.
Breakup problems are actually far better prevented than cured. However, we also need to recognize that dogs are social animals – and if we have to leave them regularly for long periods of time, we are likely not suitable dog owners unless we are willing to spend the time and money in daycare for dogs, walkers, and pets invest sitter.
Attention seeking behavior
Attention-seeking behavior can take many forms and is just what the name says – your dog is trying to get your attention.
What is really interesting about attention-grabbing behaviors is that we often teach them to our dogs without even realizing it!
We help them find out which things really make us notice them. It’s a great lesson for reminding us how smart our dogs really are. For example, imagine a freshly painted door – all shiny and shiny. The dog comes by and decides they want to go out and scratches the door to let people know. The moment they put a paw on the door, they all jump up to let the dog out so that the newly decorated door doesn’t leave a trace. What did she teach you? A great way to get people’s attention is to scratch the door – and you will guarantee they will do it endlessly now because it works!
However, as with many behavior problems, our focus should not be on how the dog can be prevented from performing these behaviors, but rather on why the dog is doing these behaviors. How do you feel that you need to get your attention? For many dogs, this may be because they are bored, under-stimulated, under-challenged, or simply not interacting with you enough. If you put it this way, your dog has the right to remind you that you are not doing a good job in the owner’s department!
The sad fact for many dogs is that the only way to get their owner’s attention is to do what they consider “wrong”. Most people completely ignore their dog when they sit or lie in the corner doing exactly what they want, and the only time they are at the center of their world is when they do something they don’t want – maybe they bark at them, jump on them, paw them, chew things they shouldn’t, run away with something valuable … Anything that gets their beloved owner to pay them some attention – and dogs spot them very quickly what these things are.
To prevent or stop behavior seeking attention:
- Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise, stimulation, and interaction with you – every day. For really “busy” dogs (often working breeds and terriers), you can use interactive toys around the house to stimulate them and give them something to do.
- Don’t ignore your dog when he’s good. Give them your attention when they do what you want. Reward good behavior so that they understand how to get your attention. Generally, if a dog is seeking your attention at the wrong time, it is because you are not giving him enough of it at the right time.
- If you are certain that your dog does not have the right to expect more attention from you, ignore him (if it is safe to do so) when he is doing something you do not want so that he will not be rewarded with your attention.
- Most attention-grabbing behaviors involve barking, jumping up, scratching yourself with a paw, bothering you with toys – actually doing anything to get yourself to interact. If you ignore these behaviors, they will stop because they don’t produce the desired effect, that is, get your attention.
- When the behavior stops, you have to be very quick to reward your absence. Reward what you like and ignore what you don’t while it’s safe.
- If the behavior is unsafe to ignore (pinching guests, jumping on kids, terrorizing visitors, scratching people, using teeth), use a training lead to clip them to your chair until they settle down (and then give them a stuffed kong or giving something to chew may help) or use baby gates to separate the dog from your guests or the situation from you with minimal interaction. Then, contact an accredited behaviorist for help with a behavior modification program that can help you fix the behavior.
Why does my dog fear other animals and people?
In general, dogs fear things they have not experienced in the past (especially during these vital early socialization and habituation weeks) – or things that they may have had bad experiences with.
This is all-natural canine behavior. Nature tells all animals to be afraid of new things – whether these are new sights, sounds, encounters, or experiences) because this could be dangerous and this instinct for self-preservation is firmly anchored in every animal (even in us!). So don’t think that your dog is somehow “different” because he is concerned about certain things.
Well, socialized and accustomed dogs – and often certain breeds or individuals – may be much more accepted when they accept new things since all of their life experiences have been positive and they have become accustomed to such a wide variety of different sights, sounds, environments, and experiences that they are more likely to accept novelty – while others will be more hesitant or concerned. Every dog is an individual and it is up to the owners to know and understand their own dog.
It’s also important for owners to realize that many of the behaviors that they consider silly, “bad”, or aggressive are showing their dog’s clear signs of fear or concern. Too many best-intentioned owners make matters worse by either punishing their dog or trying to force him into a scary situation to teach them it is safe. Fear doesn’t work like that! Imagine if you were afraid of spiders or snakes – and someone forced you into a room full of spiders … even if you had made it through the experience unscathed and given you nice cakes and treats, you would still be totally scared – and it would make your fear far worse. Additionally, you would no longer trust the person who pushed you into the room.
An example of your dog might growl when spoken to by a young child. That could be because they’re not used to them (for us a toddler isn’t scary, but for a dog, they look different than adults, move different, sound different, and behave unpredictably) or because they have bad experiences with children made the past. By growling, he communicates his concern or a natural concern. Your dog is telling you that they are scared – or at best, that they are struggling with this situation.
It may seem logical to us to betray or get your dog to approach the toddler, or to let the child pet him so that he knows that “toddlers are okay,” but it wouldn’t work. In fact, it will likely make it worse. The next time your dog encounters a toddler, they may growl sooner and more threateningly because you taught them that the toddler is a definite cause of problems – and they can’t rely on you to help them get out of the situation to get out – so you have to do something about it yourself. If they find themselves in this situation repeatedly, they may feel that the only option is to escalate and even bite their behavior to try and make this scary thing go away.
What should you do instead?
- If your dog is growling (a kid or anything else) the very first thing you need to do is report because you didn’t realize that your dog was concerned long before he felt he needed to tell you.
- Take your dog out of the situation. This will protect everyone and you won’t run the risk of aggravating your dog’s fears.
- Contact a behaviorist. Dealing safely with behaviors that can lead to aggression requires the help of an accredited professional who can help you develop a desensitization and counter-conditioning program that can help you and your dog.
- Learn about dog body language so that you can become much more aware if your dog is displaying anxious or worrying behaviors. The growl generally occurs after the dog first gives many other warnings that owners often fail to realize.
Of course, it’s not just toddlers your dog might be scared of – it can be anything from cats to lawnmowers! But either way, there are ways to help your fearful and anxious dog become less anxious.
How does desensitization work?
Desensitization is the process of gradually exposing the dog to the thing he is afraid of or worried about, in a very slow and gradual manner that does not produce a fear response. Anxiety is reduced when the dog can see the stimuli from a safe distance in a controlled environment and when they are far enough away that they are not scary. Over time and with repeated positive sessions, this interval can be slowly and steadily decreased and the intensity increased.
With this repeated exposure, under the guidance of an accredited canine behaviorist, the dog can learn to be comfortable in what it was once afraid of!
This is usually associated with counter-conditioning that teaches the dog that not only is the previously worrying thing not scary, but those really good things can happen when they are around. This behavior modification method allows you to gradually change the dog’s emotional response so that he doesn’t just ignore the thing but actually feels good about it for predicting treats or a game.
Sometimes this means teaching the dog to do something else in the presence of the stimuli – such as looking at the owner or touching their hand or grasping a toy – and that new behavior can be rewarded. In other cases, only the stimuli themselves predict the reward.
At work, this means that the dog learns that what worries or fears him is not a cause for concern, and better yet if he does something else instead, he will get really good rewards when that particular thing is there.
However, this type of behavior modification program should be done under the guidance of a behaviorist to make sure you don’t aggravate the dog’s anxiety by flooding it with the stimuli and instead of desensitizing it, end up sensitizing it (think about the room full of spiders) or snakes) and aggravate fear – and therefore behavior.
It is important to consider your dog’s fear of people or other dogs as this can have potentially dangerous consequences. If your dog’s fear response persists or worsens for any reason, it can escalate until an aggressive reaction becomes your dog’s preferred method of dealing with difficult situations, having learned that it will either get out of the situation or the fear thing go away.
When aggression becomes a dog’s preferred strategy to alleviate their anxiety, not only is it dangerous and can cause injury to people or other dogs, but it can have serious legal ramifications – and even cost you your dog’s life.
Even if your dog’s anxiety doesn’t get that bad, most of the time your dog can be very unhappy and stressed out, which is uncomfortable for both of you.
It is best to seek advice from an accredited behavioral scientist at the first sign of dog anxiety or fear of “normal” social situations at home or outdoors. This way, your dog will soon feel safe, happy, and well-behaved – and you will have a lot more fun together!
Prevention of noise phobias in puppies
Getting used to it early, which includes hearing a variety of sounds, will help prepare a puppy for unexpected or loud noises that they will encounter later in life.
If a breeder is growing up in a busy breeder’s home, with people coming and going and all the noises that accompany normal family life (pans being dropped, washing machines, loud music, exciting play, etc.) then it is much more likely to be noise-tolerant than an adult any later home. A good breeder will make their pups hear other noises too – and many will play background noises like thunderstorms, fireworks, traffic, etc. while the pups play or eat to help them get used to unexpected and strange noises that sometimes occur when they do one having a good time and growing up like this thinking they don’t have to worry.
If a puppy is exposed to these noises for the first time after their socialization and habituation window has closed causing fear, they could learn to be afraid of such noises for life.
The information contained in this article is not a substitute for individual veterinary or behavioral advice and is for informational purposes only. You should always consult a veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pet’s health. He or she can take a full medical history and physically examine your pet and then recommend appropriate individual advice or treatment options. For detailed behavioral advice specifically tailored to your scared dog, we recommend that you contact an accredited and experienced behavioral scientist.