As your dog develops, it’s normal for them to experience fear periods. According to dog behaviorists, fear periods are a natural reaction, and they allow the dog to feel safe, especially in social arrangements. If your furry friend is going through the fear period, you shouldn’t worry. Sign them up for obedience training. Wallys Worlds of Dogs: Long Island Dog Training is a highly rated dog training service. Your dog is assessed, trained, and reassessed to make certain that its problems are fixed.
Understanding Fear Periods
Dogs typically go through fear periods in the early part of their lives. Fear periods are short-lived and are characterized by abrupt behavior deviations. If you’re not familiar with this developmental stage of a dog, you might find their weird behaviors as cause for alarm.
Dogs experience fear periods around the same time that their brains go through heavy restructuring. Also, their bodies undergo various changes, preparing the dogs to become autonomous and self-supporting.
For the period that a dog is riddled with fear, they mark out certain things as harmless, and others as harmful. If you’re not mentally prepared for this stage, the sudden change of your dog’s behavior can throw you into a state of confusion.
How to Notice Fear Periods
Different factors can affect the behaviors that a dog exhibits during a fear period. The following are some common indicators of a fear period:
Being scared of people and other animals: your furry friend might have previously been comfortable with people and other animals being around them, but during the fear period, they would act visibly scared before backing away.
Getting startled over the slightest sound: do they act astonished over small noises? It could be something as small as a bottle falling or a baby crying, but your furry friend will scamper for safety.
Being scared of even small changes: your dog might seem to have memorized every detail of their environment, and in case of any change, they act all scared.
Acting scared of new objects: when they come upon a strange object, they might woof, move back, hold their tail down, or, urinate.
Stubborn behaviors: once they associate something with a negative trait, they may become uncooperative where that negative thing is involved. For instance, if the hum of an electric kettle scares them, they may refuse to go into the kitchen even after the electric kettle is switched off.
When Do Puppies Experience Fear Periods And For How Long?
Different factors can determine when a dog experiences fear periods, but generally, fear periods start during a dog’s early life, and dogs exhibit symptoms for two to three weeks.
Around 8 –11 weeks old: this period can be particularly stressful to a puppy, as it is the time they are usually moved from the litter to a new place. During this period, they may exhibit various symptoms of a fear period.
Around 6 – 14 months old: this is the adolescence age for dogs, and the symptoms for fear periods can be quite complex. Your dog may exhibit sudden behavior changes.
How To Help Your Furry Friend Overcome Their Fear Periods
For first-time dog owners, fear periods can be distressing. It’s critical to be mentally prepared for this challenging developmental stage of your dog. The following are some helpful tips:
1. Don’t rush training
When you bring your puppy into their new home, let them rest and get used to their new environment before you begin training them. If you try to train them before they are comfortable, it can trigger a fear episode.
2. Leverage positive reinforcement
Your dog might develop ugly feelings toward an object, and they would refuse to enter a room if the object is still there. You can overcome this behavior problem by using positive reinforcement and helping your furry friend to see that the object doesn’t mean any harm.
3. Introduce them to people and other dogs early
One of the symptoms of fear periods is being scared of people and animals. You can minimize the scale of fearing social interaction by introducing them to people and animals early. However, if you shield your puppy from social interaction until it’s late, their fear periods during adolescence can be very pronounced.
4. Avoid fear-Inciting training procedures
If your training methods cause your dog to experience terror, it can worsen their fear periods. Ensure that you use safe training methods so that your dog doesn’t feel threatened.
5. Don’t force interaction
Train your dog patiently, and don’t force them to be in situations they abhor or interact with things they dislike. You can make progress with patient training and positive reinforcement.