How to Deal With a Fearful Dog

How to deal with a fearful dog

Fear is one of the greatest obstacles one have to face during his lifetime. Every person has come across fear at least a few times during his lifetime. It is how he/she dealt with it that will make that person in overcoming those fears or be eaten alive by it. In humans, it is in our instinct to help those in fear by comforting them and telling them it will be alright and the fear will go away. Comforts help the fearful in overcoming their fear in most of the times.

    Dogs, on the other hand, do not seem to work in the ways human practice on how to overcome fear. Dogs are very much like us in a sense that they like a company, enjoy times with us, eat and sometimes sleep with us. But they are animals, after all, their emotional views are very much different than us humans. Sometimes comfort may also help our canine friend in overcoming their fears in some ways but that then the fear will probably come back once that comforter is gone and our little pup will begin to have that same fear again. Having a fearful dog is quite troublesome and our whole environment can be a little darker if our faithful pup just doesn't feel safe.


    A dog can be afraid of many things. He/she can just be afraid of his surroundings, loud thunder, some shiny objects or the owner or other persons around his environment. He can be afraid of some other animals around him. By trying to comfort the dog and saying to them 'it will be ok' will literally not work as the dogs do not have the cognitive abilities to understand those words. But by saying these things, dogs may feel more at ease if you (the owner) just sits with him and comfort him (I am contradicting myself). Here are some of the most effective ways to teach or help your canine friend in overcoming his/her fear:

    Using some kind of motivators to overcome their fear

    This is one of the best ways to help our little canine friend to help overcome their fears. It works almost in any of their phobias. For example, if a dog is afraid to walk steps, the best thing to do is to help him/her by using a motivators. This motivators can be in the form of food like biscuits, toys or even the owner themselves.  Foods usually works best so if you want to try it first try it with food. Put the food on the first step and invite the dog to eat that food. The first step is always the hardest so you should try to persuade your canine friend in a very friendly tone so he/she gets more comfy. Eventually he/she will come and take the first steps. After that, give him the treats and praise your little pup so he knows that you (the owner) is very proud of his/her achievement. Then continue doing this, step by step until your pooch finally understand that the steps is not that dangerous instead it gives him pleasure and will be rid of that phobia.

    Your behavior plays a part in your dog's phobia   

    Did you ever wonder how your dog reacts when your normal behavior changed? If you are in a happy mood, your dog will eventually be happy. But if you have a bad day, angry at something, maybe throwing stuff around or have an argument with your family, your dogs will be afraid and will sometimes hide from you. So our behavior does indeed play a very important part in shaping our dog's character. If your puppy is always afraid of you or his environment, it can be because you are always angry, arguing with your spouse, having anxiety and nervous breakdown. So if you want your dogs to be rid of his phobia you have to set a good environment for him/her. Try to be calm and be happy around your little pup. Talk to him/her and pet him, give him snacks and play with him. This way you will help your dog in overcoming many of his fears and will create a good relationship between you and your canine friend.


    Dogs can be a joy to have as a company as they are faithful and cheerful and will make your life worthwhile. On the other hand, dogs can become a nuisance if they have too much fear and all they do is sulk and hide under the chair or bed, or even barks at everything because he/she has a fear. So the choice is yours: to have a wonderful time with your canine friend or to have a dreaded environment with your fearful dogs.

John Stamus

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