Is your dog afraid of other dogs?
Being shy or wary of others is not just a human trait but extends to animals too. That is why many a times we feel that our dog is either shy or scared of other dogs. While this was always present as a behavioural issue in dogs, lately it has been known to become more dominant probably because of lockdown months during Covid times. If you think your dog is less confident or fearful around other dogs, you can help him overcome this. This is not a medical issue but more a psychological one. Let us know how to identify the traits of a dog fearful of other dogs and how to reverse it.Signs that your dog fears other dogs
There are various ways a dog might behave if it wants to avoid the company of another canine. Some may become aggressive and take to barking or lunging while others may become submissive and withdraw themselves. In general you should look out for these signs.
# Your dog barks, lunges or snaps at other dogs. When your dog is on leash, they cannot run away from an approaching dog. This is when they show their aggressiveness as when ‘flight’ is not an option ‘fight’ is.
# Your dog yawns in an exaggerated way or licks their lips nervously when other dogs approach them. This stems from the fact that they are less confident around them.
# Your dog attempts to move away from other approaching dogs or tries to hide in their presence, either behind you or any object.
# Your dog tends to shiver or whine around other dogs and even refuses to take treats when they are around. They stay nervously still and even refuse to play as they are not comfortable around other dogs.
Reasons of this fear
Lack of socialization- When you have kept your dog in solitude for a long time and not helped him socialize with other dogs since they were puppies, they develop an unfamiliarity with them. Socialization begins with their litter and their mother. Once they are weaned from their mother, they should still have interactions with their littermates. Pulled too early from their littermates or being litters of only one or two puppies will show lack of socialization. Their first learning of interaction is with their littermates and if this is hindered, they might exhibit fears of other dogs later too.
Past trauma- It has been noticed that many times due to a past stigma, the dogs behave irrationally in front of other canines. It might be possible that they were attacked by other dogs in the past or chased and gnarled at by them which instilled a deep rooted feeling of fear in them. Your dog will be wary of any other dog from then after and not trust them as friends or companions.
Behavior of submissiveness- Some dogs are very docile by nature. This could stem from their early puppy days as they might be the less dominant one in the litter. Because of their pecking order in their litter, they might have a softer and more submissive nature. These dogs are more likely to show fear or uncertainty around other dogs.
How to help your dog overcome this fear
Depending on how deep seated the fear is from other canines, your dog will react at a different pace from others. You need to keep your patience and never shout at him for this behavior of his. Your understanding and love is going to go a long way in helping your dog overcome this fear of other dogs.
Identify your dog’s threshold- There is no need to rush things. Begin by identifying the distance from another canine that your dog begins to exhibit outward signs of fear. That distance could vary between 5 feet to 100 feet. At the beginning of the training, try never to cross that distance in order to build confidence at a gradual pace.
Try to show that other dogs are a good effect- To change your dog’s negative emotions about other dogs to positive response, try to change your dog’s opinion about other ones. You could give him a reward or treat every time another dog appears at a safe distance. Continuous process of reward may get him to believe that something wonderful will happen when another dog is in proximity.
Practice works a lot- If you think a particular idea is working, keep practicing it until you get the desired level. Once your dog is able to calmly watch another dog pass by within their threshold distance, decrease the buffer zone. Keep doing this slowly but steadily.
If the fear is deep instilled, chances are your dog will continue to be selective about who they want to interact with. In case this does not include more dogs, it is okay. Even human beings are choosy about their friends. If your dog is happy around you and your family and is confident around others, you should not fret over his dislike for other dogs. Unless it exhibits causes of concern, you can ignore this and enjoy your time with your fur pal. Waggfluence wishes a happy bonding of your pet with others and of course you!