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What Does A Scared Dog Look Like

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How do I tell if a dog is scared when meeting a new dog?

When a dog is scared, she will usually lick her lips a lot, stand still and won’t move around too much. The tail is either completely straight and not moving, or tucked under her. Some dogs will wag their tail when scared, but it will be a really slow wag and the tail is still very straight. The ears are usually back flat and the eyes are looking around. Learn to recognize these signs from your dog and retreat from the meeting until your dog is relaxed and ready to try again.


What are some signs of a scared dog?

  • Excessive vocalization: your dog might be barking or whining to let you know that they are afraid. Not all barking means that your dog is being misbehaving, look for other signs that might tell you that the dog is actually afraid.
  • Running around and pacing: when I am anxious about something, I tend to walk around and pace. Dogs do the same thing! They are looking for a spot that can be comforting to them or a spot that they can get away from what is causing them fear.
  • Panting and licking: if your dog is not hot, then these two can signify that your dog is anxious or afraid.
  • Body language: ears pressed against the head, yawning nervously. tail tucked between the legs and whale eyes.
  • Body position: crouching and slinking away or even flinching can all be signs of fear. if your dog is trying to avoid you, then they are afraid of what you might do to them. Try to reassure them in a calm voice that you are not upset.
  • Clinginess: when a dog is afraid or unsure they are more likely to stay by your side because they feel safe and think you will protect them.

Some dogs will show a lot of aggression when they are afraid. They can be labeled as “dominant” by people who do not know any better. Treatment for said “dominance” can cause even more fear in your dog and will be more detrimental than good. It is important to work with a positive trainer to help identify if aggression is stemmed from fear and anxiety and plan a treatment around that.

Here are some registries of behaviorist and dog trainers in your area: