Fear is a natural reaction experienced by humans and animals, including dogs. However, it is striking if I notice that my dog is afraid of other dogs, because what have the other canine companions that generate such fear? In many occasions, this behavior is inexplicable for the human being.
Before undertaking solutions that allow the dog to socialize with its peers, it is necessary to know what triggers fear reactions and what are its signals. Do you have a scary dog? Let’s see what the reasons may be.
Index of contents
- 1 Why is my dog afraid of other dogs?
- 1.1 Trauma
- 1.2 Premature weaning
- 1.3 Insufficient socialization
- 1.4 Reinforcement at home
- 2 Signs of fear in a dog
- 3 How to remove fear from a dog?
- 3.1 Walk your dog
- 3.2 Agility practice
- 3.3 Counter-conditioning
- 3.4 Use positive reinforcement
- 3.5 Patience and perseverance
Why is my dog afraid of other dogs?
In all dogs, the socialization process must be started as a puppy, in this way you get used to interacting with other pets and people outside the home. Even those dogs that have had diverse contacts can show fear in front of members of their own species. The main reasons for this are:
Trauma fear is common in adopted dogs. Maybe in his old house lived with other dogs that bullied him or stole his food ; in the event that you have rescued him from the street, the same situation may arise, especially since in cities dogs have few resources to feed.
It is even possible that in his puppy stage he did not meet violent dogs, but he was too energetic. In these cases, the puppy grows with the fear experienced.
After birth, the period that puppies stay with their mother is crucial for their further development as healthy adults. In addition to the nutrients provided by breast milk, the relationship with the mother and siblings It is the first socialization process that every puppy goes through.
A puppy can be weaned from the eighth week of life, although ideally it has completed three months before doing so. Otherwise, behavior disorders such as insecurity, fear, and aggressiveness are common.
It is possible that you walk your dog as a puppy, but perhaps you do not do it in places where he exchanges with other dogs, or you prefer to avoid playing with bigger dogs for fear of being hurt. As it grows, the dog will not know how to relate to its fellows Because it will be difficult to decipher body language and will be intimidated in front of other dogs.
Reinforcement at home
When your dog is afraid of other dogs, do you pet, cuddle, and pamper him to calm down? If your answer is yes, you do a lot of damage without knowing it.
Pampering and petting are part of the prizes offered as positive reinforcement during training. By comforting him in scary scenarios, you only tell your dog that such behavior is acceptable and deserves a reward.
Signs of fear in a dog
Understanding your dog’s body language is a must to know when he is relaxed, nervous or intimidated. Look for the following signs that indicate fear:
- Keep your eyes on the other dog, but bow or tilt your head slightly.
- Shrink the tail and hide it between the hind legs.
- Retract the body by drawing an arc with the spine.
- It paralyzes.
- Glue the ears to the head.
- Growls or tries to run away.
- It shows signs of calm (smacking, yawning excessively, looking sideways).
- Take a submissive posture (lie down, look with your head on one side and raise your paw towards the other dog).
- Involuntary urination
How to remove fear from a dog?
A fearful dog is cause for concern, it is up to you to adopt the necessary solutions to avoid suffering anxiety, only then will it be a healthy and happy companion.
If you have asked yourself “what to do if my dog is afraid of other dogs?”, Then apply these recommendations:
Walk your dog
Maybe you already do, but you avoid places where other dogs play. To start socializing, start walking near areas or parks, but without getting close to dogs. Repeat the operation every day, observing the reactions of your dog in front of its congeners. Over the course of the sessions, you will be able to get closer to him so he feels safe.
The clubs of Agility They are full of dogs, so it’s a great environment for you to meet pets of all sizes and personalities. Don’t force socialization, allows you to approach those dogs that inspire confidence until you feel safe to share with others.
Instead of petting and calming your dog when he shows signs of fear in front of other animals, distract him and play with him. In this way, he will relate the activity he likes to the presence of other dogs.
Use positive reinforcement
In each positive interaction with other dogs, congratulate your furry friend with caresses, loving words and some edible prize. In this way, you will reinforce in him the idea that spending time with his peers means something good.
Patience and perseverance
Getting your dog to socialize with other dogs is a process that requires time, consistency, and patience. The first days will be very insecure, don’t despair if he refuses to approach or force you to.
In case you don’t have the experience to help you overcome your fear, it is recommended that you go to a professional canine trainer.