Is your dog afraid of other people or scared of loud noises? A fearful dog cannot get over their fears without the help of their owner. In this article, we will give you a few tips on how you can help your pet feel less afraid. 

Why is my dog fearful?

Determining the reasons why your dog is afraid is interesting. It's important to note that neither the breed nor the size of your dog determines whether or not your dog is fearful. Any dog can be afraid—no matter the size!

A dog who is not accustomed to something, especially during the first few months of their life, might find themselves scared when they are in new situations. If your dog is not exposed to other people and animals when they are young, they might be fearful and wary in front of new people. 

This is also the case for sounds that they are not used to. For example, they might be afraid of cars, fireworks, or even loud music. In general, dogs are afraid of what they do not know. That’s why it’s important to expose puppies to the outside world from a young age to help them integrate better and understand the world around them. The first three months of their life is decisive.

With that being said, a dog’s fear might also be linked to a bad memory if they have suffered a trauma in the past. 

How to help a fearful dog

The goal is to help the dog get over their fears. Therefore, it’s important to be patient and encouraging. The best way to help your dog become less afraid is by helping them little by little. Start with situations that make them feel comfortable. Then, the next time, augment the difficulty a tiny bit. When you feel like your dog has made progress, do not forget to encourage them and congratulate them. 

You can take your dog to the city to discover new sounds from busy streets. If your dog is fearful, it is recommended to take them out every day for at least 30 minutes. 

Whatever the fear that your dog has, the method to remedy it is always with gentleness and patience.

When your dog is wary, do not automatically pet them. You might believe that this will reassure them, but actually this attitude comforts them because they believe that they were right to react the way they did. Therefore, you should wait until your dog is relaxed before talking to them and cuddling them.

You need to accept that your fearful dog progresses at their own rhythm and some days will be better than others. There might be periods where they regress. 

If you are unable to help your dog become less fearful, the best solution is to contact a dog behaviorist. They will be able to give you tips and techniques to help you help your dog. 

You might also like reading this article: My dog is afraid of thunderstorms. What can I do?

Is your dog fearful? Have you found out how to help your dog? 

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    Donald G The reminder about not petting a wary dog is interesting - it makes sense that forcing affection could backfire.