What Is the Fear Stage In Puppies?

To understand a puppy fear period, you need to imagine what life is like for your dog’s wolf ancestors. In the wild, you don’t often get too many chances to escape a dangerous situation. Learning to avoid something potentially dangerous can be a lifesaver. Fear in those moments can be a good thing. Young wolves, and puppies, are therefore heavily imprinted by their early social experiences.

When Do Puppies Go Through Fear Periods?

According to Nancy Frensley, behavior and training manager at the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society in California, fear periods in puppies generally occur during these ages: seven to nine weeks; four to six months; at about one year; 14 to 18 months.

What Happens During a Puppy Fear Stage?

“During these periods, puppies may show fear of items, situations, or people they formerly felt safe,” says Frensley. Submissive urination, crouching, shaking, and other related behaviors might be evident.  For example, during the second fear period (four to six months), it is common for puppies to start barking at the trash can if it’s moved to a new place.

Frensley advises that you remain patient during these times and keep to a familiar routine. Avoid reprimanding your dog and abruptly introducing it to new situations. If you do, you could be establishing a more permanent level of fear that could turn into aggression as the dog grows older.

A better approach is to praise your puppy for good behavior. Verbal praise, favorite food treats, and gentle petting will encourage your dog to act appropriately again. New introductions to people, places, and things should happen gradually instead of suddenly. As part of your pack, your puppy is also very watchful of you during these “fear period” times. If you act confident and calm, your pet will watch and learn, hopefully mirroring your reactions.

Article written by Author: The Dog Daily Expert

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