Fear can bring out the worst in us, and the same can be said for our pets. When your dog is acting badly, is it because he’s afraid? Here’s how you can recognize signs that your pet is afraid so you can ease his fears and control unwanted behaviour.
Signs of fear in dogs
Dogs display fear in different ways. You may think of cowering and whimpering as being fearful behaviours, but panting, pacing, growling, barking, biting, and a tail tucked between the legs can also be signs that your dog is afraid. Pay attention to your dog’s actions. If your pet avoids eye contact, cowers, seems anxious, or is otherwise distressed, fear is probably the reason why.
Know fear triggers
It helps if you know what triggers fear in your dog. By avoiding or minimizing these triggers, you can help overcome your dog’s fears and keep him happier. Loud noises are one of the most common triggers. Fireworks, thunderstorms, and even the noise from your vacuum cleaner can all trigger fear in your pet.
Some pets fear riding in cars or going out in public to unknown places. Others are afraid of strangers, especially those that come into your home and your pet’s territory. They may fear children, other dogs, or even you. Alternatively, some dogs have a fear of separation that triggers anxiety.
Treating your dog’s fears requires patience and perseverance. Behavioural training may be necessary to help eliminate fear in your dog. Be patient with your pet and never yell or punish her for being afraid. Instead, help her feel safe by providing shelter and calm leadership.
Your dog can learn to overcome her fears and even enjoy some of the things she was afraid of before. If you have a fearful dog, speak to one of the helpful staff at Bark Busters to find out how training can make your pet happier, less afraid, and better behaved.