All animals and individuals have certain things they are afraid or scared about. Fear is an undesirable emotional state exemplified by emotional, physical, and behavioral responses to stimuli considered a threat or danger. Your pet’s response to their fear is related to their perception of a particular thing. Even though there won’t be any real danger, fear can be both rational or irrational. It can keep your pet safe from getting any harm. Such a type of fear is called adaptive fear.
Your pet might show certain signs indicating that they are feeling scared. Physical signs your pet might show that they are afraid or they fear something. These may include increased heart rate, breathing, sweating, swelling, and sometimes frequent urination. In terms of behavior, your dog might also show signs like avoiding eye contact, lowering the head and body, and tucking the tail under the body.
Some Of The Most Common Dog Fears May Include:
- See-through stairs or stairs in general.
- Other dogs and puppies.
- People and children.
- Jumping from a height.
- Loud noises like thunder.
- Being alone.
Some dogs might be afraid of certain things which might not be more common, and their reaction to it might be subtle, and they might avoid anticipating the act.
These May Include:
- Your dog might suddenly stop eating as they are in a different environment than usual.
- Your dog might not poop outside because they are in different places other than their comfort zone.
- Hiding under the table or below the bed.
- Suddenly barking without reason.
- They will not participate in something they enjoy.
In counter conditioning, you change your pet’s emotional response, attitude, or feeling towards external stimuli. Let’s take an example for understanding this in a better way. If your dog is afraid of one of your friends and he lunges at them, it might be due to fear. With counter-conditioning, you have to treat your dog with his favorite reward to change its emotional state so that your pet can act positively. The dog will think that meeting this person will get him his treat. Do this with the help of a professional dog trainer.
Avoid Forcing Your Dog
Forcing your dog is a big no. Do not force your dog to face their fear as it will do no good, and they won’t be able to get over it. It will only make things only worse for them. Instead, you can make them feel they are in charge of the given situation. This will at least help them overcome their fear.
Make Them Feel Safe
You have to make your dog feel you are their safe place, and they can trust you. You won’t let anything happen to them if they face anything scary. For example, if a group of kids is chasing your dog, you can stop those kids chasing your dog. This will make them feel more comfortable around you as they know you won’t let them face things they don’t like.
Sometimes, this might take a little longer than usual to overcome their fear. You have to watch your pet’s signal and make sure you’re working according to your pet’s convenience. It might take time, but it’s worth it in the end.
Other Helpful Tips
- You can also teach your dog how to relax in stressful situations, like how they can be resting on their mat without stressing.
- A dog who is scared or fearful has insecurity about life. You have to build your relationship with them to help them trust you and make your pet more confident in you. You can get in touch with a dog trainer to help you build this relationship between you and your dog.
- Keep your body language and energy calm when you show your dog the trigger and offer them treats.
- Keep the training sessions short so as not to make them reactive to their surroundings.
Every dog has a different way about how they overcome their fear. When beginning this process, one must not keep any expectations regarding the dog’s progress as it takes time. In case you are worried about your dog’s safety or the safety of others, do not hesitate to reach out to a positive reward-based dog trainer and take their help.