Is Your Dog Fearful? Here’s How to Cope
Fearful dogs react to trigger situations in ways that humans view as “bad behavior.” These include but are not limited to barking, aggression, leash reactivity, snapping, and growling. While these are less than ideal for dog owners, it simply means your dog is trying to communicate his or her discomfort in that scenario. Whether your dog is fearful of strangers, other dogs, kids, even cars or certain noises, we’re going to explore how you can make your fur baby feel comfortable to reduce unwanted behaviors. Perhaps most importantly, protect your pet with a Dog Bite Liability Insurance policy to mitigate risk if they react negatively.
Regardless of the reason your dog is scared, the best way to help them overcome their fear is to make them feel safe and comfortable.
Understand how your behavior impacts theirs.
Body language and responses either quell or exacerbate your dog’s behaviors. If you are not aware of how you are acting, you stand little chance at helping a fearful dog. Do you react by yelling or chasing your dog if he’s playfully biting your pants or behaving in any manner you think is bad? These aren’t bad behaviors, they are ways that dogs tell us that they are fearful or angry. How you respond, not react, will help your dog become less fearful. Punishment most often makes dogs more afraid, backfiring on the goal you are trying to achieve — to help your dog feel more safe in his world, says Dogster.
Read your dog’s body language.
Teach yourself to look for signs of distress, anxiety and fear. Your dog communicates with you by using body language, and it’s up to you to listen.
Find your dog’s biggest motivators.
Whether it’s food, affection or toys, identify what your dog is most motivated by. You can incorporate these reinforcers over time to change your dog’s fear into being calm.
Build your bond.
Your dog views his owners as his whole world. Work to establish and build a trusting bond by engaging with them in their favorite activities, games, play, and more. Once you have a solid foundation of love and trust with your dog, it will be easier for him to trust you and move forward with his training process.
Keep it close to home.
Familiar locations ease your dog’s anxiety when being faced with their triggers. Start small, be patient and don’t start any training program expecting your dog to be recovered overnight.
Calm your dog.
Touch and/or massage when a dog is feeling afraid will go a long way in comforting him and helping to alleviate his fear. Give slow calm pets to your dog when he’s feeling anxious and triggered.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.