Why is my dog afraid of other dogs ?

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Is your dog afraid of other dogs ? When he sees another dog, does he set his ears back ? Is his tail between his legs ? Is he getting short ? Is he trying to escape ? Is he grunting on the other dog to try to intimidate him ?

Fear is a necessary and vital emotion : it allows animals to react to danger. But if fear becomes a phobia, or manifests itself at inappropriate times, it can become a big problem and turn walking into stressful times for your dog.

Find out in this planet animal article Why your dog is afraid of other dogs and how you can help it.
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Index

Fear due to lack of socialization
Fear due to a traumatic experience
Fear reinforced by owners
Help your dog feel safe

Fear due to lack of socialization

It is possible that your dog is afraid of other dogs because of a lack of socialization, that is to say that he did not have enough contact with other dogs when he was a puppy.

This may occur in dogs that have been separated from their siblings too early, and that they do not know other dogs in their foster family. We will explain to you how to socialize an adult dog.

Why is my dog afraid of other dogs ? – Fear due to lack of socialization
Fear due to a traumatic experience

If your dog is fearful enough, the accumulation of bad experiences can promote this fear, even turn it into a phobia. This can happen when a little dog that is a little shy meets big dogs with a lot of energy that want to play too abruptly.

If the little dog is traumatized, he will tend to growl, bark or show other forms of aggression towards the big dogs he meets. Note that this may also occur in large dogs.
Why is my dog afraid of other dogs ? – Fear due to a traumatic experience
Fear reinforced by owners

Often when you see that your dog is afraid, you want to help him and begin to pet him and talk to him gently to reassure him. In fact, this attitude only makes the problem worse.

Indeed, acting this way only gives the dog a confirmation that he is right to be afraid. Forcing him to stay among other dogs is not a good solution either, and may even worsen the quality of your relationship with your dog.
Why is my dog afraid of other dogs ? – Fear reinforced by owners
Help your dog feel safe

The first thing to do to help a dog that is afraid of other dogs is to accept it as it is. Then we have to restore her confidence and security.

If your dog shows signs of fear when approaching another dog, the best attitude is to remain calm and behave neutrally. If you try to reassure him by speaking softly to him, he might interpret it as a justification for his fear. He might also continue to have this behavior to get your attention.

Nor should you force him to be in a stressful situation : he could be even more traumatized and lose confidence in you. Moreover, this will not help him overcome his fear. Find out if your dog is stressed because of this situation.

At first, the easiest thing for your four-legged friend is to avoid encounters with other dogs. You can help him with three different techniques :

Desensitization consists of introducing the stressful situation gradually until it no longer causes stress. Just keep your dog a few meters away from other dogs and gradually reduce this distance during walks, depending on the evolution and improvement of your dog’s attitude. You can also start by organizing meetings with very gentle and calm dogs and then gradually introduce them to more energetic and impressive dogs.

Habituation consists in teaching the dog not to react to the stressful situation : increasing the number of outings during which you go to meet other dogs allows your dog to get used to them and to understand that they are not a threat. If you apply this method, be careful not to put your dog in a situation that is too stressful for him : it would only make the situation worse.

Counter-conditioning allows you to associate the stressful situation with a positive experience. For example, you can play with your dog when other dogs are nearby to make him associate this moment with the game and let him relax in the presence of other dogs.

It is possible to apply these three methods at once. The most important thing is to respect your dog’s learning rhythm. It is a process that can take time, depending on each dog. If you feel that you cannot handle the situation alone, do not hesitate to consult a professional Canine Behavior who can advise you on the concrete case of your dog.

Dogs are social animals who need to interact with their peers. Helping your dog overcome his fear so that he can have intercourse with other dogs is a great show of love.
Why is my dog afraid of other dogs ? – Help your dog feel safe

If you want to read more articles like why my dog is afraid of other dogs ?, we recommend that you consult the behaviour problems section.

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