Fear Period in Dogs: What to do

Fear periods are completely normal and common for dogs but can often spark fear in dog owners. You may be asking tons of questions to yourself like what is a fear period, why and when do they happen, and most importantly, how do you get your dog through them? Giving a Dog a Bone is here to help. Below, you will find answers to these questions

What is a Fear Period?

A fear period is simply a small window where your dog goes through developmental and cognitive changes, usually occurring 1-2 times during the first year of a dog’s life. You’ll know when it’s occurring when your dog’s behavior oddly changes and becomes suspicious of new things. 

These times are usually representative of your dog development, so it’s not something you should be totally afraid of. The dog’s brain is going through massive reorganization and change as your dog prepares to become more independent.

It’s important that your dog develops a pattern of things that are safe and things that should be avoided. It’s your job as a pet owner to make sure that change is pleasant. 

Common Symptoms of a Fear Period

The symptoms that a dog has can vary dog-to-dog, but these are a few common signs to look out for.

Some of the most common signs include a dog that suddenly:

  • Acts afraid of people and unfamiliar objects
  • Startled easily
  • Barks and backs away from new things. This includes pinned ears, tucked tail, and urination
  • Dramatic behavioral changes after one unpleasant event

When Do Fear Periods Happen

Fear periods can strike at random and some dogs may never even experience one. If your dog is going through his first year of life still, the most common age it happens at is between 6 to 14 months of age and can last for 2-3 weeks. 

The 6-14 Month Fear Period

This period can be the most difficult for dog owners as an adolescent dog experiencing fearful or suspicious behavior can be difficult to manage.

Don’t panic if your dog is experiencing this period of time. Supporting your dog through this period is the best thing you can do. As a dog owner, it’s important to realize that this is a period of growth and maturing rather than a decline in obedience. 

Need Help Training Your Dog?

While dog training can be fun as you watch your dog slowly learn new tricks and become more obedient, it can also be time-consuming and a headache. Giving a Dog a Bone is here to help. We offer full-service dog training and have helped dogs all over South Florida become better than ever. If you’re interested in dog training or have any questions, visit our contact page or call us at (617) 272-6710. 

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