4 ways your dog shows fear


When dogs are scared, they show it in their own way. Dog owners can learn the language and read the signs to help four-legged friends to relax. Photo: dpa

When dogs are stressed, they react in different ways. But you will always be able to tell, according animal behavioural experts.

In total, there are four different ways for them to show you that they are scared, the German pet industry association IVH say: Flight, freeze, fight and fiddle.

It’s important owners can interpret these signs correctly to be able to calm the situation in time.


Once your dog switches into flight mode and tries to get away, it is trying to escape from a situation that is unsettling for the pet. This doesn’t necessarily mean your dog will be running off, however. According to the IVH, they sometimes also retreat slowly.


Other times, you will see your pet freezing suddenly. This means it’s in a state of conflict – undecided how best to react. This state can last a few seconds, but also longer.

In such a situation, owners can make things even worse if they are tense themselves, which will cause the animal to stress out even more.

In order to ease the situation, it’s best to handle your pet gently and carefully by facing the dog and using positive body language.


It’s probably most obvious that your dog’s feeling scared when it suddenly becomes aggressive. If the animal has had the experience that this is the only way to cope with stress, it will repeat this behaviour, according to the IVH.


Finally, dogs also sometimes express their insecurity in a playful manner, by lowering their front body or jumping around. Yawning or licking can also be signs of fiddling. This way, the animal wants to convey that it is not interested in a fight. If your pet continues to behave in this manner, you had better get it away from the situation. – dpa

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