Fear Biting – Is Your Dog Biting Out Of Fear?

A worry-bite may be a bite that occurs out of sheer panic.

It’s to not be confused with dominance-aggression, which is a sign of deep-set personality problems; a fear-biter isn’t necessarily a ‘fierce’ dog. He’s simply scared.

Why does concern-biting happen?

A fear-biter bites because it’s his only means of expressing his extreme concern or panic, and his only means of telling his owner that he can’t handle the situation. Almost all cases of fear-biting are literally caused by well-that means, however sick-suggested, humans: they see what’s clearly a scared dog, and – intending to either comfort the dog or to show him that there’s ‘nothing to be petrified of’ – they approach too shut, and push an already-anxious dog over the edge.

Dogs can’t raise us to please leave them alone. They’ll’t tell us that one thing’s bothering them, or that they need some house: all they will do is sign the message to us through their body-language. It’s simple to inform when a dog’s feeling scared or panicky once you recognize what to seem for.

Fear-biting never just happens ‘inadvertently’: it solely occurs when folks ignore the signs.

Worry-biting: the warning signs Worry-biters are submissive dogs. When faced with a brand new situation or unfamiliar people, they do not react with the customary easy confidence of a well-socialized, well-adjusted dog: instead, they become nervy and on edge.

A scared dog, when faced with the unfamiliar, will assume a distinctively submissive posture, and can show many marked behaviors. The more common of these are listed below.

Posture – Tail tucked (or, if docked, the back legs will bend and therefore the haunches will ‘tuck’)

Hunched, lowered back – Ears flat against the top – Elbows bent in a very slight crouch Behaviors Excessive panting (hyperventilating) Yawning (an try to cut back tension)

Avoidance of eye contact In extreme cases, a dog may conjointly urinate or defecate out of fear.

What makes some dogs into worry-biters?

All dogs undergo what’s known as a worry-imprint stage when they’re regarding eight weeks previous, and another one at about fourteen weeks. During this era of a dog’s formative puppyhood, he’s considerably a lot of at risk of ‘spookiness’: being excessively startled by new experiences and situations.

If a dog features a scare throughout this point that isn’t properly prohibited by the owner (ie, when receiving a scare, he isn’t then taught to not be afraid of that thing), he might develop a life-long phobia towards that object. For instance, if he’s been frightened by a repairman arriving at the door unexpectedly, and isn’t then acclimatized to that person, he might develop a long-standing phobia of men who resemble that repairman (men with beards, men in overalls, men holding toolboxes, etc).

Some dogs are also simply highly-strung and a lot of susceptible to anxiety as a result of of their breeding. Certain breeds – sometimes, the more intelligent ones, and those emotionally passionate about close, regular interaction with humans – have proven themselves more probably to develop phobias and excessive shyness than different, a lot of emotionally stable breeds. Some of these ‘anxious’ breeds include Weimaraners, Nice Danes, and Border Collies.

A history of trauma or abuse is another major cause of fear-biting: many abandoned or abused dogs develop anxiety problems, which, while not proper treatment, may progress into concern-biting.

The difference between shyness and concern-biting It’s quite natural for a few dogs to exhibit signs of shyness towards unfamiliar situations. It doesn’t mean that that dog is a ‘tough dog’, or that he can grow old to be a concern-biter – some shyness is to be expected in nearly all dogs at one purpose or another.

Shyness only becomes a problem when it begins to interfere with the course of lifestyle: when a dog will not be trusted around strangers, as an example, or if his behavior is endangering his own safety (scared dogs typically bolt, generally across busy roads), or when your own life becomes significantly restricted by your dog’s fear.

How to deal with fear-biting

First of all, create sure your own perspective to the matter is realistic. Whereas the behavior of a fearful dog will usually be considerably ameliorated by careful training and acclimatization, on other occasions – and generally, despite your best efforts – a dog will remain fearful to the end of his days. You can not force your dog to beat his fear.

Treatment needs patience, persistence, and consistency:

rough treatment (anger, frustration, shouting, a take-no-prisoners approach) typically worsens the problem, as a result of it increases the dog’s anxiety levels rather than decreasing them.

You can not train a scared dog not to bite: he’s responding to a powerful blend of instinct and sheer panic.

No coaching in the planet will counteract these 2 things – as motivators, they’re simply too strong. What you can do is, firstly, build up your dog’s confidence, to scale back his overall anxiety and tension levels; and, secondly, pay close attention the reason for his concern, and work to desensitize him to it.

Build up his confidence Obedience training may be a great vehicle for distributing praise and rewards: merely dispensing treats at random won’t do any smart, since the issue here is drawing attention to achievement and smart behavior (your dog can tell the difference between an earned and an un-earned reward!).

Begin small, with basic obedience classes, and practice the commands for 5 to ten minutes each day. Keep in mind to line him up for fulfillment : begin off with the easy commands, and create positive he’s thoroughly comfortable with them before progressing to the next level. Always treat and praise liberally for sensible behavior.

Desensitizing him to the concern-object

Desensitizing your dog is all regarding slowly accustoming him to whatever it is that’s eliciting the worry response, at a pace that’s comfortable for him. The stress is on maintaining comfort levels: your aim here is to stay your dog happy and serene (as abundant as possible), thus that he learns through direct experience that the reason for the worry isn’t truly scary after all.

Thus if he’s fearful of, say, the vacuum cleaner, begin integrating it into daily life. Keep in mind to maneuver slowly and to not push him too so much, too quick: start by merely leaving it out in an exceedingly distinguished position, where he’ll have lots of incidental contact with it (for example, in the middle of the lounge carpet).

Allow him masses of chance to sniff it and walk around it, Play with him near it; feed him close to it. Integrate the article or true (whether or not it’s the rubbish truck, strangers approaching the door, small children, driving in the car) into traditional, daily life as much as possible.


Once he’s become desensitized enough to the fear-object that he’s moderately calm around it (thus, he might be exhibiting signs of concern, but isn’t panic-stricken to the purpose of wetting himself or hiding), you can start counterconditioning: teaching him to associate sensible things with the concern-object. You’ll be able to do this by dispensing treats liberally, and allotting lavish praise for any enhancements in his fear-levels.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do: Cue your dog. He takes his emotional and psychological cues from you, therefore create sure you’re a smart role model.

Adopt a straightforward, no-nonsense angle, and persist with it. When he’s frightened, talk to him in a very relaxed, don’t-be-silly manner, keeping your tone matter of truth and direct.

Socialize him frequently and thoroughly. Although the most important socialization period is from eight to sixteen weeks, it should still be an ongoing process throughout your dog’s life. The more opportunity he should accustom himself to the ways in which of the globe, the better it will be for him to determine that, really, there’s not abundant to be scared of.

Twiddling my thumbs and move slowly.

Don’t try to rush your dog, or force him to confront objects, folks, or situations that he’s afraid of – you’re making an attempt to countercondition his learned worry-reflex, and you’re not going to do that by teaching him to associate feelings of hysteria with the worry-object.

Listen to his body language in any respect times.

Some whining and trembling are OK, but if he’s wetting himself, hyperventilating, and showing the whites of his eyes, he most likely needs some space. While a fear-bite isn’t inflicted out of an instantaneous need to cause damage, it’s still a bite, so give him what he needs!

Don’t: Crowd him.

Scared dogs want area, a lot of than anything else – you won’t build things easier for him by coming into his ‘personal bubble’. If he’s extremely scared, go into reverse, and sit up for him to approach you.

If he’s hiding, or strenuously resisting your direction, concentrate to what he’s attempting to inform you: that he’s not comfortable enough to proceed yet. Forcing him outside his comfort zone is when bites happen.

Don’t coddle him or reward his fearful behavior with special attention. It’s nice to praise, pet, and cuddle him for good behavior, increased calmness, and being brave enough to approach/sniff/explore the item of fear – it’s not sensible to reward him for fearful behavior.

Save the special attention for when he deserves it: remember to reward the behavior you want to determine repeated; ignore the behavior you don’t

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