Fearful Dogs – Training Tips



Scared Dog
Fearful dogs-training tips

There is a great number of people who misunderstand fearful dogs and when trying to make things better they actually makes things worse. It is really sad because their owners are often the most kind and gentle people who really wants their dogs to be happy and live the life which is best for them. The reason why dogs are fearful is almost always because they are lacking strong pack leaders.

The owners are often unaware of this and the signals they send out to their dogs is that their dog is actually the packleader and not the owner. This puts a lot of pressure on the dog and like many dogs they are not able to handle the pressure and honestly you could not expect them to. After all, domestic dogs live in our world we do not live in theirs.

Imagine a scenario like this. You are 4 years old and you find yourself in a dark forest together with your little sister and you hear a strange noise near you. This might be a person coming towards you are something else. Either way this may very well scare you. If however one of your parents or a trusted adult were there with you though, then everything would be fine. That is because you would not be in charge! This is what it is like for your dog when they consider themselves to be packleader. Your dog is terrified and want to bring you and your family home safely.

To have all this responsibility is a lot for your dog and a dog can not be expected to handle this in the human world. There are many, many strange things happening and they have to make decisions about it all the time. Unless you help them they will finally snap and break down.

If you are to help your dog to find its place with you and your family you first have to become the packleader. You might want to read my post on becoming the PACKLEADER. Becoming the packleader is essential for all dog training and absolutely crucial in making your dog feeling safe and confident. A lot of dog related problems stem from the fact that owner has established her/himself as the packleader. Almost all problems can be solved but first the owner must establish herself as the packleader.

Nervous dogBeing the packleader is of course not the only thing that is needed in order to make a fearful dog calm and confident but it is really the foundation on which a dog’s confidence is built and therefore soo important.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you are training a fearful dog.

  • Fearful dogs will evolve over time but don’t push it to much too fast or you will be struggling. This needs to be done gently and slowly
  • You must be in charge of your dog – its natural leader
    When your dog first meet your friends, ask your friends to ignore her.
  • Do not let people  approach your dog. You should  wait until she is calm and then call her over to you.
  • If she does not come over it is most certainly because she is too scared. In that case, leave her alone for a little while and then try again.

Finally to summarize, fearful dogs are really common issue just like many other problems people have with their dogs. However there is almost always a solution. You should not have to struggle because a fearful dog can be turned into a calm and confident dog. It all really begins with you. When your dog sees you showing strong leadership and being calm and confident then your dog will follow. So establish yourself as the leader and then slowly and gently work with your dog and you will soon turn your scared dog into a dog who is calm, confident and happy.

I hope you enjoyed this post, please leave any comments or questions below.

Comments 8

  • I have a fearful dog but unfortunately he is that way because he was abused. There are so many things that he is scared of still, and he really funny about new people, I think it’s going to take a long time before we see any real progress with him. But it’s ok cause I have all the time in the world. I have bookmarked your site, thanks 🙂 Kerry

    • Yes, you need to be very gentle with him and have patience and things will get better with time. Once a fearful dog gains confidence, he often becomes very affective and close to his owners.

      Good Luck


  • Hello here. Thanks for the article. I think that your article will serve not just knowing dogs but it will help owners too.
    As I understand, dog’s owner must be the strong and reliable person. When the dog feels the hesitation or fear, he does not trust and can not listen for commands.
    Your information in this article gives the message for owners that they must be confident and strong as pack leaders. I wonder how gentle and submissive people can deal with their furry friends? Maybe you can provide some tips for them here, at your website.
    Thanks for great read, all the best, Nemira.

    • Hello and thank you for your input. Yes you are absolutely right. If the owner shows strong and calm leadership then the dog will feel secure and stay calm. It is important that the owner shows the dog how to act. When the owner is calm the dog will be calm as well. Being the packleader is very important for all dog training not only for aggression issues. If you are to make your dog listen he must see you as the packleader. If he don’t then he will consider himself the packleader and you will have trouble.

      Kind and submissive people can vey well be packleaders if you only know how to show your dog who is leading. This can be done very well without being an authoritarian. In fact a soft and gentle approach is the best if even with tough dogs. I have written a post on how to be the packleader, you can find it here: http://dogtrainingeasily.com/how-to-become-the-pac

      You can also check out my review of the Online Dog Trainer: The founder Doggy Dan has an excellent five step program on how to become the packleader. Here is the link to my review:http://dogtrainingeasily.com/the-online-dog-traine

  • Hi,
    What a great information.
    Exactly what I was looking for.
    I have 2 dogs, one is love people and love to play with them, and the other is a fearful dog, and beside me and my wife not approaching anyone.
    I will implement your suggestions right away,
    I will get back to you how it goes.
    Thanks a lot

  • Very interesting article on dog training, I think fearful dogs are much like fearful children. They have anxiety issues and need to gain self-confidence, dogs and people are not so different.

    Very good article and advice for fearful dogs, pushing too much can cause them permanent or long-term damage I am sure.

    • True, you do need to be gentle when training a dog and it is very important to show strong leadership. If the owner is a strong and calm leader this will calm the dog and it will be relaxed and confident.

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