Dogs are very much capable of feeling FEARFUL. Poor dogs just can’t directly tell it to our faces!
Thus, it is very important to know be aware of the subtle sign and body language when they are feeling afraid. Knowing so can definitely improve your relationship with them as well as making training easier, as you realize your dog is not being stubborn or ignoring you, but is actually worried about something.
Here are the 6 Signs Your Dog Is Living In Fear:
1. Panting – A dog should only pant when it’s warm out. If your dog is in an air conditioned training room he should not be panting. If he is, it’s a sign he is stressed and/or afraid of something.
2. Lip Licking – This is an appeasement behavior that your dog may be doing in a situation that makes him nervous such as being around other dogs.
3. Unresponsive – Many people see this as a dog that is just stubborn or choosing to ignore their cues. However, a dog that is fearful cannot physically respond to a cue because part of their brain has essentially shut off. This is when they are in the INSTINCT MODE. If your dog is acting like you do not exist, it may be out of fear.
4. Not Eating – If a dog refuses a treat during training or if it’s mealtime, it is easy to assume that they are not hungry. However, not eating in a new place or environment with distractions can be a sign your dog is too anxious and therefore can’t eat.
5. Displcement Behavior – Does your dog stop listening to your cues and start sniffing, scratching, yawning, etc., when you are out and about? All of these are actually Displacement behaviors that your dog is doing when he is fearful/anxious/stressed. It’s one way dogs do to try to deal with the stress they are feeling. The poor things!
6. Hyper-vigilant – If your dog is constantly scanning the horizon for all those boogie men he is sure are out there, then you need to change the environment – he’s not ready for that yet.
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