Causes of Fear in Dogs

Causes of Fear in Dogs

What is fear in dogs

Fear in dogs is a natural response to a perceived or real threat. Animals, including dogs, avoid things that scare them and will take steps to protect themselves if they feel like they are in danger. Whether this response is to run away or become aggressive.

When your dog becomes afraid of something it can be for any number of reasons: past experiences, unresolved conflicts with other animals, too much change at one time or the presence of some other animal on his territory. What may start out as “normal” fear can become an anxiety disorder if not dealt with correctly. Fear can also escalate into aggression towards people and other dogs when it becomes severe.

Importance of Finding the Cause of a Dog’s Fear

Finding and dealing with the cause of a dog’s fear can help solve the problem because it is one thing that dogs can control. Usually, once a dog feels safe again, he will not be afraid of other things in his life. A change in environment such as moving into a new home, having a new baby, or changing to another food can often cause anxiety in any creature.

What Causes Fear in Dogs?

Dogs do not always react the same way to something that scares them. Some may run and hide; some may bark out of fear and some may growl or even snap at you. Many dogs will often be afraid of new things at first because they don’t know what it means to them. Sometimes learning is going to take more time or different techniques to help them get past their fears and learn that things are not scary.

Past experiences

Often dogs will be afraid of something because they have been hurt or hurt someone else. They may have felt danger from a jealous dog, been shot at by a hunter or had a person abuse them while they were off their leash. No matter the reason for it, this fear can be resolved and dealt with in a positive way if you begin the process as soon as possible.


Dogs who are new to your home or new to your area and everything that comes with it can be scary for them. They do not have the feeling that they know what is going on and that can be very hard for a dog to cope with. Even moving into a new house can turn out to be a big change for them. If you have implemented changes in their environment or moved in from another place, make sure you spend some extra time with them at first so they can become accustomed to everything around them.


Dogs, like humans, are often bored with the same old things and will try to find something new to do. This can be a very big problem for dogs if you happen to be one of the things, they get bored with. Your dog may beg you for attention by following you everywhere while others may whine constantly. While other breeds of dogs who become bored will often get into trouble, dig holes in your yard or chew up a lot of things they shouldn’t or simply become destructive. Try to get creative with their training and find some fun ways to help them learn new things and keep their minds busy.


Anxiety in dogs is a serious medical issue that can cause a various range of behaviour issues. Anxious dogs can become afraid when there is too much change going on at one time. If you have moved to a new place, gotten a new dog, or even changed vets for their care, they may be worried about what is going on around them. A lot of dogs don’t like change, especially when they have to go through it for long periods of time. An example would be if you have to relocate for a job and do not yet know where you will be living. The dog may become afraid because they are afraid that you are going to leave them or because there is too much uncertainty on what he has to look forward to.

Fear Aggression

Dogs who have been trained properly can learn how to cope with becoming afraid from situations. However, a fearful dog quite easily become a dog suffering from fear aggression. Fear aggression is considered a type of dominance aggression; however, unlike other types of dominance aggression, fear aggression is only aggressive if there is an external factor present. Dogs can be fearful and aggressive toward other animals, drivers, strangers, and even human beings are not necessarily dominant in nature

Genetic Factors

It is not unusual to find some degree of fear in every dog, especially if they were raised in a home that didn’t allow them to become comfortable around non-family members. There are certain genetic factors involved in both hereditary and environmental inheritance that can cause some dogs to be more likely to develop fear and anxiety.

Inherited tendencies

This is something you can’t change, but your dog’s behaviour or temperament can be affected by it. Genetics is what determines a dog’s physical evolution and is also responsible for your dog’s temperament as well. Temperament has been proven to be an inherited marker in several studies.


Environment will often affect behaviour more than genetics. Environmental factors can play a major role in the development of fear and anxiety in your dog. For example, if you have moved to a new home or area, your dog may react fearfully at first because they have not been around these things before and do not understand what they are. They may also become afraid because they are not familiar with the places or people that surround them.

How can I help my dog overcome fear?

Dealing with a dog who has become afraid of certain things around him or her is going to take time and patience. It is also going to take a lot of research on your part, so that you know how to help them the most.

While most dogs will not simply outgrow the fear, they develop while others may need extra care when dealing with everything around them. It is normal for a dog to show some fear in unfamiliar situations; however, it may also become very serious and lead to aggression if it is not handled or trained correctly.

If you’re inexperienced with fearful dogs, it’s best to work with a professional dog trainer or behaviourist who has experience working with these types of animals. After all, just like any dog training, it doesn’t all just depend on your dog, you will have to commit to help your dog as well.

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