Dogs are social animals and will almost always encounter other dogs when they go out somewhere. Whether it be at the park, on a walk or visiting a friend, there will almost always be another dog nearby. However, this doesn’t mean that all dogs are comfortable around other dogs. Some may feel fearful or anxious around them instead, which can make interacting with them very difficult. To find ways to stop my dog being afraid of other dogs you need to understand why they might feel uneasy in the first place.
It is not uncommon for certain breeds of dog to feel afraid of others because they have been bred to see them as threats or rivals in some way. In addition to this, there are numerous smaller factors that can contribute towards making your dog wary of other dogs as well. Regardless of why your dog feels anxious about meeting others, however, there are several things you can do to help them get more comfortable with them again sooner rather than later. Firstly lets look at common reasons why your dog feels threatened.
Common reasons Why Dogs Feel Threatened By Others
You may find that there are several reasons why they are feeling on edge, including:
- Genetics. Certain breeds of dog have been bred over the years to be more territorial or aggressive when they meet other dogs. This means that, while they are likely to feel perfectly at ease with other animals, they may feel uncomfortable around other dogs.
- Dogs tend to mark their territory by either urinating or defecating nearby as a way of letting others know that the space is taken. If another dog has done this near your dog and they were close enough to smell it, they may feel anxious or threatened by the smell.
- Your dog was mistreated by other dogs in the past. If your dog was abused or mistreated by other dogs in the past, they may be fearful of other types of canines. If your dog has a fear of certain types of dogs, then you should continue to work with them to overcome their anxieties. Unfortunately, some dogs have had bad experiences with certain types of dogs and have developed a phobia of them.
- Being put in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar situation. If your dog is not in a good environment or is pushed out of their comfort zone and into a situation where they feel threatened, they may feel anxious and unsure of themselves. If another dog is nearby, they may mistake them for a threat, making them feel uncomfortable.
How to Stop Your Dog from Being afraid of Other Dogs
The best way to help your dog get over their fears of meeting new dogs is to slowly expose them to dogs that they are likely to encounter and help them get used to them. Each of the following steps can help to ease your dog’s anxiety around other dogs, helping them to feel more comfortable and at ease once again:
Pick the right location to meet other dogs. If your dog is particularly nervous around other dogs, it may be best to find a location with few dogs around. You can find out if there are any places in your area where dogs are allowed to meet. Alternatively, you can look for parks that have a fenced-in area where dogs can safely play together without getting too close to each other.
Pick the Right Dogs to Meet
If you are able to meet other dogs with your own, you can ask the owner if they would be willing to let your dog get to know theirs. If you need to meet dogs that are not yours, try to find dogs that your dog is likely to be comfortable with. For example, if you have a large dog that feels threatened by smaller dogs, it may be best to look for larger dogs until they are more used to meeting others.
Wait for the other dogs to approach yours. If your dog is shy or nervous around other dogs, encourage the other dogs to come over to them. This will help to put your dog at ease in the situation and with the other dogs more quickly.
Bring a clicker and treats with you. If one of the other dogs is friendly and your dog does not feel intimidated by them, try to get them to sit down. Once they are sitting, click the clicker and give them a treat as a reward. This will help to calm your dog down, making them feel less anxious.
The Area You’re in Makes Your Dog Feel Uncomfortable and Anxious
Sometimes the area in which you’re walking your dog may make them feel uncomfortable and anxious. This may be especially true if you live in a busy city and there are lots of unfamiliar dogs roaming around. In this case, your pooch may be more inclined to act defensively towards other dogs.
You can try to make your dog feel more comfortable and confident by taking them to a more secluded area with fewer dogs. This could include a park with less traffic or a dog beach. You can also try to take your dog out later in the evening or at a time when there are fewer people and dogs around. This will make your dog feel less anxious and will be less likely to act aggressively towards other canines.
Make Sure Dogs Are on Leashes
Make sure that all the dogs in the controlled environment are on leashes at first. If your dogs are leashed, this will make it easier for you to control them if they become aggressive towards each other. If the other dogs are leashed, it will make them feel more comfortable, too.
The Other Dog is Larger and Appears Threatening or Aggressive
If the other dog is larger than your pooch and appears aggressive, they may act defensively towards your smaller dog. If they are much larger than your dog, they may even intimidate your pooch to the point of them running away. This could be because your dog knows that they aren’t large enough to defend themselves from a larger opponent. This is why it’s important not to allow aggressive dogs to roam the streets. If your dog is the smaller type, you may want to keep them away from larger, aggressive dogs. This can help keep your dog safe from harm. You should also keep your dog on a leash when out in public and try to avoid areas where aggressive dogs may roam.
Stay Close by Your Nervous Dog
If one of the dogs begins to act aggressively towards your dog, be ready to step in and break them up as soon as possible. Try to separate them in a way that is not threatening to either of them and keep them at arm’s length until they calm down.
Walk With a Treat in Your Pocket
Most dogs will react positively to the smell of food and will often sit down when they smell it. This can help to calm your dog down if they are feeling aggressive or agitated while they are around others as the smell will help to cover up the scent of other dogs, helping to reduce your dog’s anxiety. You can also try to put your dog in a sit-stay position when they are around other dogs, making them feel more comfortable and safe.
Don’t push your dog too far too soon If your dog shows that they are getting stressed or anxious while they are around other dogs, try to bring the session to an end sooner rather than later. Allow them to come away from the experience feeling good about meeting others, rather than bad.
If your dog was particularly abused by other dogs in the past and can’t seem to live comfortably around dogs despite your best efforts it may be best to seek the advice of a professional dog trainer or vet. They may be able to help you find ways to help your dog overcome their fears and anxieties. This may involve desensitization or other forms of therapy.
If your dog cannot defend itself from an aggressive larger breed its important to defend it and keep it on a leash. Conversely if you’re the owner of a large dog which shows signs of aggressive behavior please keep it away from more venerable dogs. If your dog has a severe phobia related to dogs, it may be best to avoid areas where there are lots of canines.
It’s important to keep in mind that you can’t force your dog to become friends with another canine that they don’t want to be friends with. You can, however, help your dog feel more comfortable and confident around other dogs by taking them to a less busy area and keeping them away from aggressive dogs.
- You may like: Common Reasons Why Dogs Like to Dig
- Read: How Do I Know My Dog is Pining For Somebody?
- Try: 17 Surprising Foods You Can Give Your Dog
- Read about exercise: Benefits of a Jog With Your Dog
- Thinking of getting a dog? Ways Owning a Dog Will Change Your Life