How to Calm a Dog’s Anxiety – How to Calm a Fearful Dog

One of the saddest things is the number of people who misunderstand fearful dogs, and in trying to make things better for their dogs, they actually make it worse. Fearful dogs are nearly always lacking strong pack leaders, and their owners are often the kindest and gentlest people! They want nothing more than to see their dog live the kind of life that all the other dogs are living – happy, fun and free.

how to calm a dogs anxietyHow to Calm a Dog’s Anxiety

We’ll be talking about things you can do to help your fearful dog in this article, but I first want to refer you right away to professional dog trainer, Doggy Dan, and his video-based dog training website, The Online Dog Trainer.  This website contains more than 250 step-by-step videos to help you with any dog behavior issue you could possibly have, and a LOT of Doggy Dan’s time is spent helping you to understand why your dog is anxious or fearful, and what to do about it.  You can read my review of The Online Dog Trainer HERE.  You can hear from Doggy Dan himself regarding fearful dogs in this video:

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How to Calm a Fearful Dog

The best way to help your fearful dog is to recognize that your dog is actually scared because you are giving him the message that he has to be the pack leader. Your dog, like many, is not able to handle the pressure, nor should he be expected to.

scared dogYou’d Be Scared Too!

Consider this scenario: If you are four years old and find yourself in a dark woods with your younger sister, and there is a strange noise or a person coming towards you, then you may very well be afraid. However, if one of your parents is there with you, then everything would be fine. That is because you would not be in charge! This is how it is for your dog when you make him the pack leader. He is terrified and just wants to get home safe and alive.  All the responsibility is on your dog’s shoulders and he is not able to handle it in this human world. There are far too many strange things for him to make decisions about all the time. Eventually he will snap unless you help him.

pack leaderTo Help Your Fearful Dog, You Must First Become the Pack Leader

Establishing yourself as the pack leader is the foundation to any success with fearful dogs. Until you recognize this and put it in place, you will never be in a position to help your dog.

Here Are a Few Things That You Should Remember When Working With a Fearful Dog

Approaching dogThey can change, but will struggle if you try to push it too fast.

Ask your friends to ignore your dog when they first meet him.

People should not approach your dog, but wait until he is calm and then call him over. If he doesn’t come over, then he is too scared and you must leave him alone.

Online Dog Trainer LogoFor More Help

These are just some basic ideas about helping your fearful dog and how to calm a dog’s anxiety. You can get much more detailed information on a website called, The Online Dog Trainer.   It has fantastic videos on establishing yourself as the pack leader and also shows you how to give confidence to fearful dogs.

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6 thoughts on “How to Calm a Dog’s Anxiety – How to Calm a Fearful Dog”

  1. Hi Sherman

    this post of yours reminds me of quite a few encounters I had with dogs. I’m convinced, that they can read my mind when I look at them. So when come into an awkward situation, I’m establishing mentally the attitude: “No worries, I’m doing you no harm… Just relax.”

    Most of the times I can feel the difference, and many dogs like to come near me. In my mind, this is the same thing we hear from horse whisperers. I tried it many times with my cats. One of them was especially sensitive. She came over to me whe I felt sad.

    So dogs and animals in general are good teachers for intuition!

    1. Yes, absolutely. Friends call me “The Dog Whisperer.” haha! I agree with you – I think it’s because I put off “vibes” of being friendly, not a threat – I honestly think animals know I love them. Thanks so much for the comments!

  2. I agree with your post wholeheartedly! I believe that with dogs, its really about an energy thing. Dogs sense us on a deeper level and giving them mixed signals will definitely do more harm than good. People tend to treat dogs and even talk to them like they are humans, dogs cant communicate that way! People need to really understand dog psychology in order for your pet to grow healthy mentally. By taking the dog to a dog park regularly will give the dog better balance… I’ve seen it work wonders for our dog!

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