Australian Shepherd Is Scared Of Everything. What To Do?

You have noticed that your Australian Shepherd is very curious and cheerful with you, but he can also be scared by some things? All dogs are different – some are timid by nature and some are more prone to be intimidated. A cowardly dog can be of any age, size or breed. This is certainly not exactly a feature or one or another breed, this is more an individual thing. Fear can range from mild discomfort in certain situations to panic or even trying to bite.

Perhaps you have seen many times a person, walking with the dog in his hands, who trembles with fear, but still growl and bark on every passenger-by? In this article we will talk what could be the reasons for fear and how it could be fixed.

Dog Fear Signs

Every dog will always respond to a situation where they feel insecure. Most dog‘s choose to escape, but if there is no escape, the animal can choose to attack without seeing another way out. The frightened Aussie tries to look as small as possible. Often his body looks squatting, his tail wrinkled under his hind legs, ears folded back, and all body muscles are tense.

Dog may lean on the ground, urinate under himself, while looking at the source of fear, and his pupils will be dilated. For some dogs, fear never escalates into aggression, while others may try to defend themselves if there is no way to escape. Fear turns into aggression usually when dog is older, over 1-2 years of age.

If the dog feels trapped, he brushes his teeth and may bite. And if he will bite – he will do so in a flash and will run away as soon as possible from the threat. If a dog is pushed into a corner, it is better to leave him the way to escape to avoid the „bite“. However, a dog that gets scared easily and of almost everything, can still live a normal life. Of course, it is not always possible to get rid of fears completely, but fear and anxiety can almost always be reduced more or less.

9 Characteristic Features That Dog Is Scared:

  1. Not responding to your commands
  2. Salivation
  3. Yawning
  4. Restlessness
  5. Urinary incontinence (rare case)
  6. Lack of appetite
  7. Hiding
  8. Jumping
  9. Anxious running

The most common problem is weak socialization during the critical growth between 3 and 20 weeks. Dogs need to learn at this time who people are, who dogs are, and everything about the environment he is in. If they don‘t learn it, they become more sensitive. Unfortunately, most of the dogs not only in the shelter, but also our pets have not experienced it.

How Cowardly Dogs Appear?

Dogs are social creatures, so you‘ve probably noticed that your dog likes to spend most of his time with you. being alone, some dogs feel unhappy and, left alone, can feel stressed at home. The most common cause of this stress is that dog has not learned to be alone and is too dependent on your presence. That is why you should teach him to be independent from an early age, so separation will seem completely normal to your animal.

More about how to teach Australian Shepherd to stay alone here

Some people think that the cowardly dog was somehow tortured. However, this is not necessarily true, as often even offended dogs may not be in fear, and it seems that proper breeding and upbringing still misbehaves. Dogs often becomes cowardly due to improper socialization during the first months of a puppy‘s life, especially if there was unpleasant experiences in the so-called fear periods (when dog is 2-4 months of age).

Fear also can have a genetic basis, as in some cases it can be inherited, especially if dogs with poor temperament and some mental problems are mated. In addition, puppies can learn misbehavior from a cowardly mother. That is why owners should work with them in an early age, as puppies should be introduced to such things as unexpected sounds, otherwise in the future he may run away in he hear something like fireworks. However, owners should not encourage dog to be afraid. Owners should not cuddle him or praise any other way after dog shows fear, as the animal feels that the cowardly behavior is good.

A dog can become more scared due to certain physical ailments. For example, epilepsy usually contributes to fear aggression, and thyroid dysfunction affects a dog‘s mood. If your Australian Shepherd has problems with a vision or hearing, it may be afraid of what they cannot see or hear. A pet with an ear infection can become unusually sensitive to sounds, and dogs suffering from chronic pain, such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, are sometimes capricious and intolerant of some things.

How To Deal With Dog Fears?

  1. If you already decided to buy an Australian Shepherd, make your research about the breeders, and only buy a dog from a reputable breeder. Some breeders can avoid the fact that their dog is not ready to mate, and puppies can inherit or learn from their mother a lot of things. A cowardly or overly aggressive pet should not be bred and some even say that it is better to castrate or sterilize it.
  2. If you have a dog for some time and noticed that he has this problem – find out when you dog feels fear. Dog language is the language of the body, dogs interact with other animals and humans by showing their bodies. However, often the owners do not know about this problem existence, so they do not even pay attention to such signs. Fear, anxiety, and stress seem similar to withdrawal. Of course, this does not mean that the dog will always run back when stressed, but that‘s one possible sign. Dog can also turn his head, step back, squat and so on.

What To Avoid?

  1. Avoid situations that cause fear in the dog. One possible way to solve or reduce this problem is to remove the animal from a worrying situation, as well as to avoid certain problematic situations. For example, if the dog is afraid of lightning or thunder, close the window and turn on the radio to make a new sound to calm the dog.
  2. Combine a bad feeling with a good one to create new pleasant associations. For example, if your Aussie is afraid of a particular guest at home, do not allow guests to cuddle or pat the dog. Would be better if they slowly build the relationship. Give them treats and let them feed the dog. Over time, the dog will associate that new person with a pleasant association.
  3. It is better to avoid hugging or praising a frightened puppy – although it is natural behavior for the owners. It may develop a fearful behavior for the dog, as it will seem to him good behavior, as he is always praised for the cowardly reaction. Punishing a dog is also not possible – it will only cause even more stress, plus don‘t force him to do anything through power.

What To Do If You Got An Older Dog Who Is Scared Of Almost Everything?

For cowardly dogs it is better to attend training schools that use positive methods. If you purchased an adult dog that has the problem of fear, postpone the classes for the first weeks, wait until dog gets used to you at first. Dogs are often nervous because they have nowhere to pour energy and this can be solved if you play with him more often. Take your dog for a walk more often, run or do some sports.

Desensitization can help problematic dogs

It is a gradual exercise of the dog in certain situations until he begins to feel safe in them. It‘s important to start with the little things and not rush anywhere. Gentle, positive techniques are needed to improve a dog‘s confidence, reduce anxiety and fear. Always watch the dog‘s body language – if he starts to show signs of fear – return to the place where he will be relaxed in the training process.

If you noticed that your Australian Shepherd gets scared of people, especially if the fear turns into aggression, – desensitization should start with small things. First, place the dog in a quiet place, where dog can sit and watch the world around him. Good example would be a quiet park. If you see that the dog is afraid, increase the distance between him and the stressful objects. Let him see the people or other things, but from far away, so he is not that afraid. If your Aussie shows signs of fear – do not curse or smile at him, talk with him in a normal voice to reduce the cause of anxiety. Dog should not receive any different reaction from owner comforting him that fear is the right response. This stage should last at least a week, and you should visit as many of these quiet places as possible.

Once you are absolutely sure that the dog is relaxed, you can get slowly closer to other people. When you reach a point where people are walking pretty close and the dog is not experiencing negative emotions, give him a treat for every calm reaction.

The next step

The next step is to ask strangers to look at the dog or give it a treat while passing by. When the dog takes the treat, ignore this action, but repeat the exercise several times. Also, you can try to stop for some time to talk with someone, but this person should not try to touch or say anything to the dog. After a while, bystanders will associate the dog with pleasant things. A dog probably won‘t get rid of strangers, but that‘s not an attempt to make him the best friend of all. Desensitization will help to relax among strangers and associate them with good things.

If your Aussie is afraid of other dogs, try to avoid meetings with very active dogs. It would be better to start meeting more calm dogs, and when he gets used to other companions, it is possible to „infuse“ more active dogs into the company. This process also can take several weeks.

However, if your dog has a friend that is confident and he feels good with him, it can reduce anxiety as well. If your dog has a relaxed, confident friend, try to lead them and spend more time together.

Also your dog should have a safe place in the house, for example his own room or a cage. This is especially important for a cowardly or anxiety-suffering animal, but even a very confident and stable dog may want to retreat to a private place for some reason.

Quality food can also help

Cheaper food main ingredients are cereal products, which usually have lower quality of nutrients. Malnutrition can lead to serotonin deficiency, and too little is associated with anxiety and aggression. Anxious dogs that receive too much poor quality protein or carbohydrates may have a slightly higher level of anxiety. It is advisable to choose a food that is free of any chemical additives, which can also have some effect on behavior.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *