Are you concerned about your puppy getting scared when other dogs bark? In this article, we’ll explore five common causes for this behavior and provide seven actionable tips to help solve the problem, along with other related considerations.
Puppies may be scared of other dogs barking due to a lack of socialization, experiencing a fear period, fear of loud noises, traumatic experiences, or genetic influences. To address this behavior, you can provide proper socialization, use positive reinforcement techniques, employ counter conditioning methods, use thundershirts, or hire a dog trainer.
Since both common and abnormal causes can influence this behavior, it’s crucial to identify the exact reason to address the issue effectively. By understanding the various reasons behind this behavior and implementing the appropriate solutions, you can help your puppy overcome their fear of other dogs barking.
Why is your puppy afraid of dogs barking?
Almost every living thing on this earth planet is more likely to fear at least one thing. There is no much difference with regards canines, especially puppies.
Possible causes for this afraidness could be one or more of the following. Therefore, you gotta be heedful when spotting the exact cause(s) in order to observe which approaches can help you solve the issue down the line.
1. Lack of socialization.
The leading reason why your puppy is afraid of other dogs barking is a lack of socialization with other dogs.
Some dog parents think that their puppies are socialized enough to be comfortable with people, vehicles, cats, other small creatures.
They don’t know that a puppy should be comfortable enough to hang with other dogs even when they’re barking.
On the other hand, puppies that don’t have sufficient positive exposure to the outside world are more inclined to fear almost everything unusual or new.
2. Puppies go through a fear stage.
Usually, most puppies will go through their first fear period around 8-11 weeks, especially when a puppy brings into a new home.
The following fear period is more likely to happen between 6-14 months.
Therefore, manifesting afraid behavior when other dogs barking is pretty normal for a puppy that falls into one of these fear periods. However, this indicates that more socialization and different approaches are needed to alleviate these fears.
3. Puppies scared of loud noises.
Often puppies are extremely sensitive to loud noises, which makes them terrified whenever another dog barks or any other noise.
Think about your puppy’s perspective. When she is walking with you on a leash, she is learning the outside world by sniffing interesting things, poking around, while playing with your legs, suddenly she hears a large dog just thudding the alarm!
So, is it any wonder your puppy is scared?
4. Traumatic experiences.
Not only puppies but also mature dogs can have lifelong fear responses due to a traumatic experience.
For instance, if a door slams while the puppy is asleep, which is enough to frighten her. So, that can be a lifelong traumatic experience for your puppy, which makes her scared of other dogs barking.
Thunderstorms and fireworks are a couple of other examples that can give traumatic experiences.
5. Genetic influences
There are certain circumstances where a puppy can have a genetic predisposition to her affright of loud noises, including barking sounds.
In general, anxious female dogs are inclined to produce a fearful litter. This prompts us to look at another difficult factor when choosing puppies.
What can you do if your puppy is scared of other dogs barking?
It’s so heartbreaking to see a puppy frighten even by natural phenomena. Therefore, I’m gonna give you 7 actionable approaches that are worth considering.
1. Provide proper socialization.
As I mentioned earlier, lack of socialization is the main obstacle to become comfortable with the outside nature. So the early socialization is a must.
Here are some of the methods to properly socialize your puppy.
- Daily walks are a great way to socialize a puppy because it can associate with new people, children, vehicles, noises, unfamiliar dresses, urban environments, and other creatures.
- Kindergarten class is another excellent method for their socialization and build its confidence. It can help them develop social skills and appropriately interact with other canines, especially they can learn to greet other dogs, observing vital social cues like understanding whether another dog needs to play, play gently without using their teeth.
- Go to dog parks. A dog park can assist a puppy with socialization as there are many people, pretty much all breeds of dogs hang in dog parks.
- Go on trips. However, longs walks and hikes won’t appropriate a puppy as their bone structure are still not strong enough to endure such activities.
2. Use positive reinforcement techniques.
If your puppy is scared of other dogs barking, positive reinforcement techniques can assist your loving pooch.
Suppose your puppy is afraid of another dog during regular walking sessions, and you cannot avoid that area whatsoever. In fact, preventing that area is not a proper solution.
If this is the situation, you want to emphasize to your puppy that going to that specific area basically means loads of treats and cuddles. The barking sound is just another noise, and there isn’t anything scary.
However, ensure not to force him to walk across that area if she is too scary. So, You will have to work harder in her socialization.
Coming back to positive reinforcement ensures calm and relaxation because the tenser you are, the more restless she will become.
First, you have to find the edge spot where the other dog cannot see and sit the puppy gently. Offer treats. Pet her. Use verbal encouragement to encourage her. Likewise, stay there for a while. After that, walk away.
Rinse and repeat this for 3-5 days (According to your puppy’s reaction and behavior) and eventually move to the area where other dogs barks and your puppy usually get scared.
After doing this another 3-4 times (don’t worry if she gets scared when passing that particular area), she will be a little bit comfortable; frankly not completely, sit her on the area where other the dog barks, and work on positive reinforcement as we discussed above.
Hopefully, this will work. However, you gotta be extremely patient and consistent with the process.
3. Counter condition it.
If your puppy is scared of other dogs barking, counter conditioning is another excellent method to help her.
The good thing is, You can endeavor this even in your home.
Search on the internet and find an audio or video of dogs barking. Try playing it initially at low volume.
If she is going nuts and get scared when that audio or video is being played, consider following the positive reinforcement techniques that I’ve covered in the earlier approach.
Play the sound for about 30 seconds in the first place. Then, gradually increase the time and the volume depending on her reaction over several days.
Try doing this at least for about two sessions a day.
4. Try moving quickly.
If your puppy gets extremely scared of other dogs barking whenever passing a certain area during the walks, try moving quickly.
What’s wrong with this approach is that she might think escaping is the only option whenever another dog starts to bark.
There is a hair’s breadth between right and wrong here.
If you run with her like you’re scared of that canine, The puppy will take the erroneous example from it. Instead, emphasize to her that you both run full of enthusiasm and as a form of playing.
This will help her disregard that other dogs barking without being scared, focusing only on you. Then try making the second approach we’ve discussed earlier.
5. Use a Thundershirt.
Since Thundershirt is a perfect, vet recommended, medication-free, natural calming method to help dogs, especially puppies, manage their anxiety level, try putting on a Thundershirt during the walks.
I’m sure, you will be amazed at how efficiently this can work. However, this isn’t a long-term solution. So, you gotta try other solutions we’ve discussed in this article.
6. Arrange a doggy date .
If one of your friends has a well-matured dog, invite him for a doggy date. Having a fully interactive walk also will work.
Hopefully, This way, your puppy will get used to the other dog’s barking.
7. Enlist a dog trainer.
If none of the above approaches worked for your puppy, consider enlisting a dog trainer or a dog behaviorist. Believe me, it’s well worth trying as they are the ones who can see what’s going with canines.
Things to be aware of.
It is good that you now know the reasons and approaches to deal with this fear. However, there are certain essential factors you wanna be aware of.
- Being scared of other dogs barking is entirely normal for a young puppy. You know what, There is nothing to be panic or worry about. All you have to do is just identify the cause(s) and work on the appropriate approaches while trusting the process.
- Don’t attempt to pet your puppy when she is frightened. If you do, that’ll emphasize her fact that being terrified is a kind of rewardable thing. So, being fully aware of positive reinforcement techniques is so vital.
- You should be the leader to your young puppy who doesn’t know the outside environment. So, you gotta be calm, confident, positive in pretty much every condition.
- Although allowing her to hang out with other young-large dogs is an appropriate way to socialize her and ease her fearfulness, everything should be done under your supervision. Because young-adult canines are mostly super energetic and prefer rough play. So, a snap of time is enough to injure your puppy.
Many dog parents are curious to know why their puppies are scared of other dogs barking and seeking appropriate solutions to address the issue. So, we’ve identified 5 leading causes for this matter and 7 possible approaches to manage such behavior. Hope you found this helpful.