Fear in dogs is a big thing. During the pandemic, so many different aspects of fear in dogs emerged from the whole situation. Help your dog feel safe and learn some training tips by reading body language, getting to know some of your dog’s triggers and other things important to boost your dog’s confidence!

 

Tip #1: Know your dog’s body language

Knowing how to read your dog’s body language is a helpful way of managing your dog’s fears. Some of the obvious body language or signs that your dog is fearful or anxious are carrying or running away, aggression, growling and lunging. But there are signs which are subtle: 

  • Yawning: A lot of people misinterpret yawning as ‘being tired’ or ‘boredom’. But this is also a sign of emotional stress. Make sure you look at the situation your dog is in to determine whether your dog is actually ‘bored/tired’ or if they’re under emotional stress. 
  • Showing disinterest: If your dog is showing signs of disinterest around things he’s normally interested in and is shying away, then he’s likely fearful or under stress.
  • Panting: This is a really big sign of stress or fear. But it could also be misinterpreted with overheating. Again, it’s important to look at the situation your dog is in. Is your dog outside and it’s 90 degrees or is he in a situation he’s not comfortable in?
  • Sniffing (Displacement Behavior): If your dog is trained or usually does what you ask him to do, but instead starts sniffing around– that’s a sign that he’s fearful or anxious. For example, if you ask your dog to ‘sit’ but instead he starts to sniff around instead of following your command right away, that’s a sign of fear or anxiety. 

 

Tip #2: Socialize!

Take your dog to new places! Socialize your dog! Socialization is critical especially in the early stages and all throughout their time.

 

Tip #3: Expose your dog to new situations

One way to boost your dog’s confidence is to take them out in new or different situations. Let them meet new people, other dogs or animals and in effect, through time and consistency, this helps them feel not too anxious.

Make sure when you take them around in these situations, boost their confidence by telling them that t