It was a long and hard process, but a fulfilling one. After thousands of years, a branch of wild wolves became our most loyal companions — dogs. But dogs are still driven by their basic instincts, and one of them is fear. The once essential cautiousness is still a part of your furry friend’s nature. Depending on their temperament, your dog might become aggressive (growling, barking, attacking) or becoming passive (trying to hide, unwilling to move, peeing, and so on when being afraid.
If your dog’s relatives are prone to being fearful, your dog might be, too. However, your dog learns most of their fears while being a puppy. The ”sensitive period” of your puppy is from 5 weeks old to 12 weeks old. During that time, it is essential that your dog gets to have all kinds of socialization and activities: show them the traffic, give them car rides, have them to meet other animals and people. When your puppy learns that they can handle the situation safely, they also learn that there is no reason to be afraid.
How to help your fearful dog?
Your behavior is the clearest signal for your dog to see if there is something to worry about. By being calm and collected you show your loyal sidekick that there is nothing to be scared of. It is wise to ignore your dog when they are showing fear. Never punish them but don’t coddle them, either.
If your dog’s fears become a full-blown phobia, it might be a good time to see a professional. A talented dog trainer can create a program for your dog to unlearn their fears. This is a long process, testing your limits of patience, but in the best case your friend will once again live without their fears.