Scared PoochIs your dog fearful? Does he lack the lack the confidence to live in harmony with the world around him?

Well, you can help him become a more confident, happy dog but first you must figure out WHY he is so fearful.  There is a full spectrum of fears: anxiety, mild fear, moderate fear, intense fear, and phobias. Read on to learn about the causes of fear.

If any of this rings true to your dog, you may want to consider a behavior modification program.  There are a multitude of dog trainers in Knoxville, with a variety of training styles.  When thinking about hiring a trainer be sure to question the training philosophy that is used, and then make sure that it matches up with your own philosophy that you hold as a pet parent.

One trainer that we can recommend, and that several of our clients use, is Sally Hummel with Dog Training in your Home.  Sally’s goal as a trainer is “to be a catalyst for creating great relationships between dog owners and their dogs and to bring hope, and quick results, to those who feel frustrated or overwhelmed in living with their canine friends.”  She uses a Multi-Method Training system, identifying what training method your individual dog responds best to, before setting up a training plan.

6 Causes of Fear:

Pain/Illness: Some dogs develop fears while experiencing pain. For example, if a dog has surgery on a certain area of his body, he may develop a fear of that area of his body being touched due to the pain he experienced during that time.

Abuse: Prior experiences of abuse may cause a dog to fear people altogether. It’s all dependent on the abusive experience. If the dog was abused by a man, he may fear only men. Certain sounds or other environmental factors may remind him of the abusive experience so he may fear that too. If you know your dog’s history, it may help you uncover his fear.

Lack of Socialization: If a dog is not socialized between the ages of a few weeks up to 12 weeks, he may have some issues withGet Me Out of Here fear as a direct result. Socialization is necessary for proper development. It’s never too late to socialize a dog; it just may take some time and plenty of patience.

Genetics: Sometimes it all begins in the womb. A dog’s genetic code and/or breed may dictate his predisposition towards fear or confidence. It is believed that this is the most difficult fear to overcome.

Learned Fears: Fear of association is very common among pups! Many dogs will associate a ride to the groomers with the car, so the ride in the car causes fear even though it’s not the car that’s actually causing the angst, but the destination.

Traumatic Experience: Post traumatic stress is a big hurdle to overcome. It requires a lengthy rehabilitation process, and even then the dog may always express some signs of fear as a direct result. Dog attacks and abuse can cause this syndrome to wreck havoc in your dog’s life.

Fear in dogs is just as complex, if not more, as it is in humans. It requires behavior modification therapy and lots of love to overcome. Patience and persistence is the key. Never give up on your dog – You will be greatly rewarded with a lifetime of love and companionship.

photo credits: The Mighty pitbull via photopin (license)Get me out of here, I’m scared! via photopin (license)