How do I know if my dog fears other dogs?
Sometimes it can be hard to identify fear, especially if your dog reacts to the presence of other pups by barking and lunging. Behaviors that look “aggressive” are often rooted in the fight-or-flight response. When your dog is on leash, for example, they can’t run away from an approaching dog. When “flight” is not an option, the next course of action is to “fight.”
These behaviors may mean that your pupper is afraid of other dogs.
- Your dog barks, lunges and/or snaps at other dogs
- Your dog yawns or licks their lips in an exaggerated way when other dogs approach
- Your dog attempts to move away from approaching dogs
- Your dog hides when another dog is present
- Your dog shivers or whines around other dogs
- Your dog refuses to take treats or play around other dogs
What should I avoid if my dog is afraid of other dogs?
If you suspect your dog is frightened of other dogs, the first step is to prevent them from having negative experiences that may build upon the fear they already have. Remember that dogs are animals—even the best-trained pup in the world has unpredictable moments. In order to avoid any nasty surprises, stick to these rules in the beginning.
- Don’t take your dog to a dog park or crowded off-leash space.
- Give your dog a safe buffer zone on walks. Cross the street, wait at the top of a driveway while another dog passes, or put a parked car between your pup and the approaching dog by stepping (carefully!) into the street.
- Never yell at your pup or force them to interact with other dogs. Comfort your dog instead.
- Be an advocate for your dog’s needs. If someone asks if their dog can say hi, politely tell them no and move on.