It is essential to know about dogs’ body language when you want to know what the dogs are trying for communicating with human. Their body language can show you the signs that they are in fear or aggression like shivering, tucking the tail between the legs, cowering, and even averting eyes. Dogs are also able to show their aggression when they are in fear. Well, it is challenging to get the trust from the aggressive dog but it is not impossible to do. If the condition does not support you, the best thing to do is to leave him alone.
You are going to approach a shy, fearful, or aggressive dog and it means you must be extra careful. Your body language and demeanor are crucial as well. If you see any sign that the dog wants to bite you, do not approach. The best thing to do in this situation is to contact the owner or find the local animal authorities. If it is safe, you can use the tactic below to approach the dog.
1. Don’t Loom Over
If the dog is already anxious, his stress level will increase if you stand to face the dog with your body looming above. A fearful dog tends to become more threatened when he met someone, face-to-face, at least double of their size. Therefore, you should concern on your body position when you are about approaching the new dog, especially for the frightened dog.
2. Get Down
The better way to approach the fearful dog is to get down, right on his level. You should not put yourself directly facing him, but you should be less threatening if you are not towering above. For example, sit down close to the dog or squat. For the extremely fearful dogs, it is better to lie down a little bit away to make him more comfortable with your coming.
3. Turn Sideways
Usually, we meet others face-to-face and it is always best to make eye contact. Nevertheless, do not do this to a fearful dog. You should turn slightly so that only your side that faces the dog. You can lean slightly away from him. Doing eye contact with the dog is rude behavior and he may think that you are a real threat.
4. Turn Your Head Slightly To The Side
Humans think that it is normal to have direct eye contact with others. Doing this means doing rude and threatening for aggressive dogs. Therefore, you should less intimidate the aggressive dog by avoiding making eye contact. For example, you can turn your head slightly to the side and make sure your eyes averted.
5. High-Pitched Voice
For a fearful dog, it is daunting to deal with deep and low voice. What they want to is the higher pitched, happy tone. Of course, this is a common problem for all men. You have to speak more quietly but still upbeat. When you speak quietly, the tone of the voice will make the fearful dog is more comfortable.
6. No Punishment
Do not even punish the fearful dog. If you do this, it will only make the dog is more fearful. It also makes yourself in danger since you are increasing his anxiety level. In this condition, the dog tends to bite more. Best of all, you have to use aversives to train the fearful dog to hinder progress and to escalate fear.
7. Don’t Force
Giving an opportunity for the fearful dog to become comfortable is important and approach any object of their fear independently. Do not force any interaction. For instance, your dog is afraid of men. At this point, you should not hold his collar while a man is approaching and pets him. It will only increase the fear level of your dog. You can introduce your dog to the objects he fears slowly. Of course, that is the real challenges, especially for the already frightened dog.
8. Stay Positive
By training, you can create a big difference in your fearful and shy dog, especially for his confidence level. Doing a positive reinforcement in his training will make you able to open the communication with your dog without pushing the dog beyond the comfort level. In addition, you can start training without asking him to do anything. Your dog is able to learn more and he is able to become more confident.
Problems and Behavior
You may think that the tips above can help you dealing with the upset or anxious dog. But you can even help your dog to overcome his specific tears. To start, you must expose your dog to the object or person he fears gently from the safe distance. You are not provoking the fear in your dog. What you should do here is to act that there is no big deal and then slowly inch closer. If your dog shows that he cannot handle his fear anymore, stop it.
Praising your dog is also good to try. Other than that, you can give him treats gently when he did something good for you. For example, perhaps he is able to walk toward the person or object he is afraid of. In this condition, you should give a big reward like a hug, or a nice treat for him. By doing this, you can build a better understanding to him to do what you expect and he can understand that he will get the rewards if he does the same things. Besides, doing this way will help increase the level of confidence in your dog and build that habit.
We understand that it is not easy to deal with the fearful dog, but your support and your patience are the main factors to build his confidence level. At this point, you should do the methods above for every day in 10 minutes. It is fine to do several sessions to see a big difference to your dog, especially if your dog has extreme fear at something. Just be patient and do not give up. Seeing your dog shows his confidence is the best reward after all.