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What to do when your dog is scared

Updated on July 9, 2009

Dogs are big and little tough guys. Some breeds of dogs draw out hysterical fear from other people. Dogs after all have this reputation of being vicious. How many times have we seen news of dogs mauling and killing people. But would you believe, these tough guys get scared too?

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What scares a dog?

Dogs will manifest fear if cornered or if confronted by dominant dogs and larger animals. Most dogs are scared of loud noises such as thunderstorms and the sound of fireworks. The 4th of July is commonly a stressful event for our canine friends. The dogs are noted to be afraid of an unfamiliar environment, of fire and of water.

A scared dog

Dogs express fear in three different ways. The dog would freeze, attack or escape. The dog’s body language will show that it is frightened. The cowering dog would have its tail between the legs; the ears may be well laid back close to the skull and would avoid eye contact.  A scared dog will have raised blood pressure and increased heartbeats.

Behavior of a scared dog

A frightened dog would seek the reassuring presence of its owner. Dogs afraid of the sound of fireworks are usually found hiding under the bed or in other places they feel they will be secure. In an effort to get away from the noise, a dog can be destructive. The dog may paw or gnaw at the door or break a window just to be able to escape. A dog, one that is properly potty trained may   eliminate inside the house because of fear. Dogs are known to break from the chain and to scale a high fence in an attempt to avoid the sound. On the other hand, fear can make the dog attack. This is most common if the dog is cornered.

What can you do to help the scared pet?

A dog reacting to a fireworks display would tremble and whine. Poor baby! No matter how much you would want to hug and to comfort the dog, it would be best if you ignore the pet. You are not being callous. You are in fact being kind to the dog. If you comfort the dog you are in effect reinforcing the fear. You are giving the dog the idea that what triggers its fear is really a scary thing. Remember, to the eye of the pet you are the pack leader. Pack leaders are supposed to be strong. If the dog sees that you are not at all affected, it would try to cope with whatever is causing its fear.

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    • profile image

      Debra 

      5 years ago

      my dog got scared when he was at the screen door barking at birds. they flew into the screen, she jumped so high. now she won't do anything and screeches when i try to put her out to potty or for no reason.she just huddles in her cage or on her pillow. she won't even play or follow me around the house. what can i do to help her?

    • profile image

      bongani tshabalala 

      5 years ago

      Add Your wComment...I was having 2 puppies,1 die few days ago. The alive one is very scared. & does not barkes anymore. What must I do. Bongani Tshabalala email azanichem2@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      Mermaid 

      6 years ago

      Aww but I really want to hold my dog when shes scared! ????????

    • profile image

      razanhassouna 

      6 years ago

      iam scared of my dog i want to like play with him like my friend nermin HOW?

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