How do you know if your dog is afraid of you? Knowing the signs is a very important part of building that strong relationship with your pet.
If you do believe that your dog is afraid of you then there had to be signs as to why you’ve come to this conclusion. And knowing the signs of a scared dog can help you address their fears before they escalate to a point where it’s harder to come back from.
It is very important that you pay attention and familiarize yourself with your dog’s behavior so you can pick up on subtle hints that are potential triggers and could be the cause of your dog’s stress or anxiety.
And the tricky part about a situation pertaining to this subject matter is that those triggers could be anything. It’s important that you sit down and understand that you yourself could possibly be the cause or maybe it’s something that you doing, or it could simply be environmental.
Body language is very important when it comes to figuring about if there is something wrong with your dog. Why? Because body language is one of the key components of communication.
Body language is how dogs communicate. For example, some say that when a dog wags their tail that means that they’re either happy or excited about something. The barring of the teeth usually means that your dog is either irritated or angry.
But those are some obvious body language cues that dogs use to communicate. With that being said, there are some that are more subtle that you have to pay close attention to. Listed below are some subtle signs that will help you recognize when your dog is feeling anxious or fearful.
- Flattened ears
- Tail tucked behind their legs
- Averting gaze
- Constant licking of the lips
- Constant scratching of oneself
Understand that body language and behaviors are two different things. Most dogs show a specific set of behaviors when they are fearful.
Over time, you will start to take notice of these behaviors especially if you’re being very open and attentive. It’s also easy to notice certain behaviors especially if there’s a pattern.
If your dog is constantly hiding underneath the table or they’re constantly cowering then it’s easy to tell that something is wrong. Listed below are some behaviors you should pay attention to.
- Clinginess towards owner
- Submissive urination
Physical signs of fearfulness are just as important as the behavioral signs. Keep in mind that your dog may experience some physical signs that are beyond their control. Just like humans cannot help what they feel, the same goes for animals.
Our job is to help them feel more secure so that one day they can be less fearful in certain situations. Because let’s be honest, your dog is at their best when they are happy. And if your dog is happy then you are happy.
Listed below are symptoms of fear that you could possibly be seeing in your dog.
- Loss of control over bladder
- Dilated pupils
How do deal with a scared dog
Before we get into how to deal with a fearful dog, you must understand that this is a process and it will take a lot of time and patience. It’s important that you realize that it is often sometimes difficult to treat a fearful dog especially if they’ve been sheltered.
Usually, sheltered animals lack socialization and have so because they’ve been abused at some point. Sometimes giving a sheltered animal to a loving family is all the therapy they animal needs to rehabilitate.
As long as you are constant with your tactics on gaining the dog’s trust, then professional help is not needed.
One strategy you should focus on is giving your dog as much space as possible. It’s been proven to work in the past. Also, remember to give your dog treats because that can be very helpful.
When to seek professional help
Only dogs that are highly fearful require professional help. In some cases, it usually means that they were severely abused in their past. But it’s easy to determine if your dog is highly fearful. Because sometimes being a loving family isn’t quite enough.
Good dog trainers are better qualified to retrain a highly fearful dog. So it’s important that you do your research and find a dog trainer that it’s highly recommended with stellar reviews. Now, depending on how severe those situations are, many dog trainers avoid the use of medications.
Although some veterinarians recommend medications when some dogs are incapable of responding to the behavioral approach. It’s sad to say but an animal in a highly fearful state will suffer from anxiety, which then means they won’t be able to learn anything new. In those cases, medication is appropriate.
The medication will help to reduce anxiety. But medication is not always the answer. Once your dog’s anxiety level is depleted, then the behavioral approach can take effect.
The most important thing you can do is remain patient and stay consistent. Because it will take time for your dog to conquer their fears.
It’s going to take you and the rest of your family to help retrain your dog so that the rehabilitation process will one day be complete. Because your dog does not have to be on medication for the rest of their life. The medication is only temporary. Because your dog will get better.
They do not have to live in fear for the rest of their lives. And you have all the tools you need to make that possible.
Keep in mind that seeing little signs of progress should motivate you to keep pushing through. It will bring you absolute joy to see that your dog is improving and soon his/her fearfulness will be a thing of the past.