Scared Dog Body Language

Learn to recognize when a dog is trying to tell you they’re scared.

Introduction - Read This First!

Being able to recognize a scared dog is very important. After all,  when dogs are scared, sometimes they bite! For that reason it’s very important to recognize, even from far away, when any dog is feeling scared. And if it’s your dog that is scared of people, you can learn how people should politely greet your dog in MEETING NEW DOGS. You can also teach your dog how to get over their fears with our lesson on HOW TO REVERSE FEARS. Working on your dogs fears, especially if they’re afraid of people, is best done with an experienced trainer!

Overview Video

Here are some examples of body language that means your dog is afraid of something. If you catch it early it’s always better, but it’s never too late to help your best friend get over their fears!

Fear Signs 1: Head, Ears, And Tail Down

This sign that a dog is scared is really easy to notice, and you probably have a pretty good idea already of what this looks like! But this is so important that we need to show you in more detail here.

If a dog is scared they will act like they are hiding. That means: 

Here are some examples of dogs that are scared of something and you can tell by their, head, tail, and being lower to the ground. 

Fear Signs 2: Looking Or Walking Away

It’s very easy to miss this one! A scared dog will usually try to move away from something they are unsure about. They may look away, or even hide behind someone they trust.

Fear Signs 3: Licking Lips, Scratching, And Yawning

The following signs are easy to miss. Just keep in mind that you need to see these multiple times, not just once. It’s also very important that you look at the whole situation and not just one yawn or on scratch. Your dog might just be itchy or tired!

It’s All About Context

You have to look at the whole situation to know what’s really going on. 

What Can I Do For My Scared Dog?

Option 1: Retreat - Move Away!

This is the easiest thing to do, and the most obvious. Just go somewhere else where there are no scary things. Your dog will thank you and know that you’re taking care of them.

Option 2: Fear Training!

You can also tach your dog how to overcome their fears! This is covered in the “COUNTER-CONDITIONING” lesson and can be a very fun, relationship-building game!

Option 3: Medication

You would have to ask your vet, but sometimes anxiety medications can be the best way to help your dog with their specific fears if you have no other options.

Still Have Questions?

Still Have Questions?

Ask About Anything Not Covered In This Lesson

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Click here to download the Snoot App for a smoother experience.