If Your Dog or Puppy Becomes Frightened

  • Never hug or softly stroke your dog and softly tell him "it's OK"... You are praising his fear!

  • Avoid coddling your puppy. You can be praising his uncertainty without knowing.

  • If you talk softly and with a tentative tone to your voice, your dog will get the idea there is, in fact, something to be afraid or unsure of.

  • Use a silly tone of voice and & "Jolly" him up. Use an ultra-delicious treat to distract him, and even engage him in a game.

  • Never "make" your dog endure a frightening experience. If the predicament is overwhelming to your pup, then remove yourself to a point where you can work to get your pup to relax. End your session on a positive, happy note, but return "to the scene of the crime", and work to build up the dog's confidence a little at a time.

  • This is an excellent time to work with SIT, to help "stuff your dog's brains back into his head"!

  • It is up to you to help your pup become comfortable and confident in any situation.


Examples of situations that can create fear in dogs, and where it is up to you to help your dog be confident and unafraid:

  • Thunderstorms, gunshot, fireworks

  • Veterinary, groomer, kennel visits

  • New exposures to people, dogs, kids

  • Objects that appear "strange" to the dog: garbage cans, umbrellas, wheelbarrows, windsocks/flags, hammering, and MUCH more!

  • People that "look funny": sunglasses, beards, flapping coats, wheelchairs, strollers, walkers, crutches, and MORE!


To help your dog to not be reactive and afraid when encountering new situations, you need to be able to see each situation from your dog's point of view. What is “no big deal” to you could be a VERY big deal for your dog! Also, you need to have a Plan of Action in place, so you quickly know what to do when your dog encounters a new "scary" situation.


Pam Young, LVT
CDBC CPDT  
Dog Gone Good LLC
Dog Behavior Consultant
Personal Dog Trainer