Fear and Fear Aggression in Dogs
If your young dog is fearful, PLEASE do not dismiss this behavior. Timidness or being afraid has the potential of developing into fear aggression once the dog matures. Often it is still fear, but as dogs get older, it starts to look like aggressive behaviors. Instead of hiding, the dog is more confident and overt in showing that fear. Fear aggressive behaviors can be expressed as barking, growling and lunging, especially when they are consistently directed at particular things, such as other dogs, bicycles, or strange people. When barking at a scary thing and the scary thing moves away, such as a human backing away from a barking dog, this is reinforcing that barking works and the dog continues to do bark and lunge. Not to be cliché but that barking dog is likely more afraid of you than you are of the dog.
If your dog is at the point of barking and lunging it is still very treatable. However, it may take more effort to help the dog become more comfortable especially if your dog has practiced this behavior. Whether your dog is shy-fearful or acting in a fear aggressive way, we can assist with these behaviors in our Fearful Fido class or in private sessions.