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Adopting a fearful dog is an experience that very few choose, but it fills the heart with each passing day. Shelters around the world are saturated with dogs with these characteristics and it is important that a future adopter knows them to take the necessary precautions and get off to the best start possible.
It is highly recommended to start working on the education of an adopted dog after treating its possible problems of fear and insecurity, although in milder cases they can be combined, as long as it does not involve a stress or well-being problem. It is important to highlight that can be a long process in some cases and that the patience, affection and tolerance of the tutor will be essential. Discover in Animal Expert some tips for a fearful adopted dog.You may also be interested in: My cat is very fearful Index
- How does an adopted dog behave the first days?
- How can we know if an adopted dog does not adapt?
- The behavior of a fearful dog
- How to treat an adopted dog?
- Why is my dog afraid?
- Is it possible to remove the fear of a dog?
How does an adopted dog behave the first days?
The behavior of a newly adopted dog It will depend directly on the experiences lived, the home of arrival, the stress levels or the symptoms that cause a disease, for example, that is why it is so advisable to carry out a first vet visit before taking the dog home.
Having ruled out any health problem, the dogs will be able to behave completely inhibited (that is, those that do not reveal their own "character ", which will be shown after weeks or months until the adaptation) or, on the contrary, be shown exaggerated, due to the trip, changes in his environment, the loss of his reference figure, etc..
How can we know if an adopted dog does not adapt?
The adaptation of a puppy dog is quite fast compared to that of an adult dog, since they have already passed their socialization process, which ends with the arrival of fears. It is precisely for this reason, having finished the socialization stage, that some dogs do not know how to interact with others or suffer exaggerated fears of going outside. In other cases we can talk about trauma or bad experiences, which directly influence their behavior.
The adaptation period usually lasts between 1 and 6 months, always depending on the specific case. In the more serious cases, some dogs will need to make use of temporary pharmacology (preferably prescribed by a veterinarian with training in ethology) to promote their adaptation and reduce anxiety levels. Some may also have additional behavior problems.
Also, when the dog has shown obvious signs of fear without getting a response, it may mark or bite. When faced with an aggressive adopted dog, we recommend going immediately to a canine trainer or educator specialized in behavior modification. Of course, with the aim of prevention, we will explain how to recognize fearful and insecure dogs.
The behavior of a fearful dog
There are two body postures that everyone knows about fearful dogs: low tail and backward ears. However, there are many more, so to know how to treat an adopted dog correctly you will have to know almost all of them.. ¿Why?
Correctly recognizing your dog's emotions will help you understand your limits, to be more empathetic with his behavior and to learn to relate better to him, all this will strengthen your bond and make him consider you a true figure of reference.
Signs that tell us that a dog is scared:
- Low tail
- Tail between the legs
- Exaggerated tail movement
- Ears back
- Ears attached to the head
- Shrunken body
- Intention to hide
- Look for a "shelter "
- Submission positions
- Yawns continuously
- Turn your head
- Turn your back
- Encloses the eyes
- Crouches down
- Escape attempts
It is important to note that some dogs may be more docile during the adaptation season, as their behavior will be inhibited by changes. On the contrary, some may growl as a warning and even bite if their limits are not respected..
How to treat an adopted dog?
It is imperative that we be reliable and predictable at all times. We will look for positive education methods that we will use when interacting with the dog, such as positive reinforcement. It is important to note that traditional training, which can include punishment or other more hostile methods, can cause the dog to generate rejection towards us and take even longer to adapt.
It is very important to understand that some problems related to fear can persist throughout the dog's life, however, most can be solved with patience and love. Complying with the five freedoms of animal welfare will be essential to start working.
We recommend you start a marked routine of walks (for example 3 a day) as well as food (divide into two doses, to avoid feeling hungry). It can also be interesting to gradually include some stimulating activities, such as visiting the mountains, or practicing some nose games at home. In any case, it will be important that we are patient and act as the dog allows us more zooms. Interpreting their body language and trying to offer them a good living environment, we will probably notice an obvious improvement, even if we need a longer period of time to appreciate it..
Why is my dog afraid?
If you do not know the history of the dog you have adopted it will take a while identify what you are afraid of: to other dogs, people, objects and even the same street. We must be patient and pay close attention to details at this stage to try to understand him..
- Fear of people: fear of people can be due to multiple causes, not just abuse. Socialization, trauma, or a bad experience can cause fear. But if you suspect that your dog may have suffered some kind of abuse, discover the 5 most obvious signs of abused dogs. Especially in this case, we must be very patient trying to gain their trust through snacks, caresses and affectionate words. Never force him to interact with whoever does not feel like it, let him begin to overcome his fear progressively. Instead of trying to force a situation, you can encourage your friends and family to meet with him to offer him small pieces of frankfurter so that he begins to trust people. On the contrary, forcing him to be manipulated can aggravate his fears..
- Fear of other dogs: Fear of other dogs may be due to poor socialization as a puppy or a bad experience in the past. Find out why my dog is afraid of other dogs how to treat and solve it effectively and gradually.
- Fear of various objects: either due to ignorance or lack of socialization, your dog may be afraid of certain objects in which we also include vehicles: bicycles, cars, motorcycles, garbage cans...
- Others: there are many other types of fear in the dog, such as fear of the outside, fear of certain environments, fear of other pets or specific characteristics, such as an umbrella.
Is it possible to remove the fear of a dog?
It is very likely that after a while, you begin to wonder if one day your dog will stop being fearful and will begin to relate like any other dog. There is no single answer, as each case is extremely particular and concrete.
Some dogs do overcome their fears together with their guardians, others will also need exercises proposed by a canine educator or trainer. In the most serious cases, the visit of an ethologist is the one who can best guide us, but the general advice is that before any behavior problem Let's go to a professional and don't try to treat it ourselves.
Some exercises that we can find on the Internet, perfectly valid for a specific case, can generate rejection and even make ours worse. In addition, a specialist will detect details and attitudes that you did not suspect were happening and will recommend specific exercises for your dog that will significantly improve their adaptation.