1) Recognize That Your Dog Is Scared
Of course, the first step is recognizing your dog is scared.
If you already know this and recognize the signs, great! We hope the following tips will help you. If you are not sure if your dog is scared, how can you tell? Watch out for the following signs:
- Low body position
- Rear tail
- Ears back
- is panting.
- is seeking contact for support or simply wants to hide.
Also watch for signs of stress such as licking lips or nose, looking away, lifting paws, yawning, etc.
2) Make the Dog Feel Safe
The priority is to make the frightened dog feel safe. Depending on the problem, this can be approached in various ways.
If children or strangers are in the house, the dog may need its own hiding place (crate, kennel, etc.). You may be able to help your dog by telling people not to pet him because it is uncomfortable for the dog.
You may also want to time your walks to avoid contact with other dogs, unfamiliar people, bicycles, or other objects that may frighten your dog. You can help your dog by adopting a predictable routine and letting your dog make its own choices whenever possible.
3) Don’t Force Your Dog to Overcome His Fears
Some people recommend that you confront your dog’s fears. Unfortunately, this is not good advice. It is believed that such confrontation will help the dog become accustomed to what it fears. However, this can result in the dog becoming more sensitive and thus even more fearful.
Dogs may resort to aggression to make the “scary” thing disappear. In some cases, the dog may panic or freeze entirely in fear. It could also be that the dog is so stressed that it reacts to things around it. (If your dog is afraid of thunder, you may know that he also responds to other sounds, such as the sound of a door closing or the road.)
4) Reassure Your Dog
If you feel it is necessary to reassure a frightened dog, you can reassure him. Not all dogs will want this. In certain situations, some dogs want to crawl away, and that is fine. Some dogs, however, will approach their owners and ask for support.
Unfortunately, some people, even well-known dog trainers, insist that you should not support a scared dog; doing so will amplify the fear and worsen the situation. This is a myth.
You are your dog’s safe base. In other words, your presence helps your dog in stressful situations.
So, if you think your dog needs support, give it. Pet him gently and reassure him with a gentle voice.
5) Seek Professional Help
If fear or aggression is present, it is a good idea to seek professional help. Professionals know the steps to take and can proceed more quickly and effectively than someone trying to solve a problem alone.
Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. The sooner you start, the faster you will progress. It is essential to choose your behavioral therapist carefully.
6) Do Not Punish Your Dog
In any case, do not punish your dog. More and more people realize that reward-oriented training and education are better for your dog. However, it is essential to stop punishing your dog, especially if he is frightened, since there is a risk that he will become even more terrified of you.
The dog is already stressed about being afraid. Don’t exacerbate the stress by deterring, hurting, or forcing him.
If there is a behavior you want to change, focus on an utterly reward-oriented approach to teaching the dog the behavior you want.
Use high-value rewards to reinforce the new behavior and practice it repeatedly.
Let us know if these few tips have helped in the comments below!