Have you ever thought that that dog passing you on the street barking and lunging-may be scared?
Fear in dogs is highly misunderstood. Their guardians are begging for space.
Picture this: You’re walking down the street when all of a sudden a 6 foot snake comes slithering right for you!
Most of us would run; completely ruled by fear.
Anything to escape.
What if someone put you in cement shoes-so escape is impossible.
Now there’s likely to be some yelling and screaming-attempts would be made to frighten off the approaching snake. The closer it gets, the more desperate your reactions.
That is life for a fearful dog. It could be people in general, the dog, or something as simple as a ball cap.
These dogs thresholds are often pushed. This is the line where being okay, and things getting scary is drawn. That snake isn’t a big scary threat to me at 10 ft-but at 6ft I’m in total meltdown mode. Each time we move a dog over threshold-we do damage.
Thresholds play a part in trigger stacking: when enough is enough and you blow.
Imagine you wake up late for work, run out of hot water during your shower, get in the car to realize your out of gas. Those are little pokes that end up to an eventual release. Typically an over reaction to what would normally not warrant such an explosion.
What can we do to help them?
-Give them space, and carry on
-Learn about dog body language
-Don’t try to be helpful-that snake is not going to console you.
And Guardians-please advocate for your dog. Many people express their feeling of guilt for not letting strangers pet their nervous dog.
Stop. You are their Guardian and their voice
Not all dogs communicate this clearly. How many signs of fear can you spot on the dog in this picture?
(Photo taken inside a dog friendly store with taxidermy animals. Thank you Bass Pro Shops for the hospitality and warm welcome)