Fear Aggression, What You Should Know !

Fear Aggressive Dogs

For you to have a better understanding of exactly what fear aggression is, look at from a phobia point of view. The fear aggressive dog can display one type of phobia or a wide variety of phobias, such as; anthrophobia,  autophobia, brontophobia, cynophobia, iatrophobia , kainotophobia , ligyrophobia, monophobia, ochlophobia, ophthalmophobia.

There’s a lot more phobias I can list here, but I think you get the idea. Where people who are afflicted with what can be a debilitating phobia, rationally and logically, in their mind at least, can say  “I shouldn’t be afraid of these things”. Even though they may have a very difficult time getting past their own phobias, regardless of their logic.

Now, as much as we would like to believe it, our dogs simply do not have the reasoning capabilities, to think “I shouldn’t be afraid of that”. Not that those reasoning capabilities have helped out our dogs human counterparts, that are afraid of things.

By the way, all the phobias listed are human phobias.

  1. anthrophobia- fear of humans
  2. autophobia- fear of solitude
  3. brontophobia- fear of thunder and lightning
  4. cynophobia- fear of dogs
  5. iatrophobia – fear of going to the doctor
  6. kainotophobia – fear of change
  7. ligyrophobia – fear of loud noises
  8. monophobia- fear of being alone
  9. ochlophobia – fear of crowds
  10. ophthalmophobia- fear of being stared at

Fearfulness is not abnormal behavior for your dog, it’s normal.

Hope this helps you understand a little bit better why your dog shows fear aggression in certain situations.

Thanks for visiting

The Spirit Dog

See how once fearful dogs are now happy. https://www.facebook.com/SpiritAnimalSanctuary/photos?ref=page_internal

The Sanctuary http://www.spiritanimal.org/the-sanctuary/



© A.S. Papszycki 2013


Fear Aggression : Why Our Dogs Fear Strangers

Fear Aggression with People

Our dogs can display fearful behaviors, which can lead to growling, lunging and barking ferociously at strangers or distant family members and maybe even biting, mainly  because of us. You would be hard pressed to find anybody that didn’t take their new little puppy around everywhere they went, met tons of people, other animals, exposed to variety of different environments, while that puppy was young between the ages of eight weeks and three or four months old. This is our most comfortable time with our dog. She’s a baby, she’s cute, she’s adorable,  so full of love and everything is hunky-dory in the world.

So how does your dogs fear aggression of strangers or people, really begin. Well, this goes back to us again. At some point in the initial development of our dogs early experiences, we start to become  a little uncertain, a little uncomfortable and maybe somewhat fearful, as to what our dog may do in any given situation. We have become  nervous, we have become scared. This will become a giant hindrance and possibly have dire consequences on the overall sociability of our dog, down the road.

Early Imprinting

Much has been written about the importance of early imprinting on dogs during those first few months of life. While this is still a very important factor in helping many dogs to grow up and be a well socialized and happy member of our family, it’s not the determining factor in having a happy dog. We are the determining factor, in having a well socialized and happy dog.

Adopted Dogs

Much has also been written about how some adopted dogs may have been abused or had a frightening experience with a stranger, while that dog was young.  In some cases this will be the primary reason for a dogs fearfulness and fear aggression directed at strangers. But again, there are many dogs that are mistrustful of strangers that have never been abused or had any bad experience during those early stages of life. It’s just as common for a dog to have a wonderful family and be fearful of strangers as those poor dogs that were abused and or neglected.

Spirit Animal Sanctuary

How do I know so much about fear aggressive dogs? It’s simple. We get two kinds of nervous or scared dogs here at the sanctuary. Those that were horribly mistreated and abused at the early stages of their life and those who came to Spirit, from the most caring and loving of families you will ever find.  Sometimes just exposing our dogs to all the many stimulating things in our world, is just not enough.  Occasionally we have to search inside of ourselves and work on our fears and uncertainties, to help the nervous dog get over his or her fears.

The Spirit Dog

Spirit dog and Bloodhound
Spirit Dog and Bloodhound

Spirit Dog and American Bulldog, yellow and black Labs, Dutch Shepherd

Spirit Dog and American Bulldog, yellow and black Labs, Dutch Shepherd

© 2011 a.s.papszycki


Random Aggressive Behaviors

Many dogs display what I like to call random aggressive behaviors.  What exactly is random aggressive behaviors, you must be wondering.  Well I’ll tell you, random aggressive behaviors is any behavior that can lead to a biting incident or an attempt at biting that can manifest itself randomly in the dogs mind.  This type of behavior in dogs although is not that uncommon, is one of those things that really confuse most people as to why it happens.

To say this behavior is a little confusing, frustrating and emotionally stressful  for those animal lovers that have dogs like this, is  putting it mildly. It is unquestionably, emotionally extremely stressful for the whole family.

OK, so what do these dogs do ? These are the type of dogs that will seek you out for some loving attention, and occasionally stiffen up and either bite you or attempt to bite you. Or they can be quietly laying down near your feet and when you get up to change the TV channel ( oops, showing my age here) the dog growls or snaps at you. There are a couple of other scenarios along the same lines, but I think you get the general idea.

Why does my dog do this ? This part is easy. This is NOT aggression, and this is NOT dominance. This is a FEAR based behavior, regardless of what some dog training professional will tell you. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but it does make sense to your dog. Let me try to explain it this way, many people live part of their lives in fear because of some type of phobia. To someone  not inflicted by an emotionally crippling phobia, it hard for them to understand or even make sense of  how it can affect some people.  After all, isn’t fear just in your mind.

The fear your dogs has, in his mind anyway. Is that he’s going to be attacked, and he’s going to act preemptively to remove his perceived threat.  From a logical and analytical standpoint, WE know that nothings going to hurt him. But the mind is a powerful and sometimes confusing thing,  just ask the millions of people who have phobias.

Thank you for visiting.

The Spirit Dog

Please Visit Spirit Animal Sanctuary’s New Facebook page.

FYI, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_phobias

What is Fear Aggression

Canine fear aggression is normal, it’s a genetically predisposed behavior directly related to an animals survival instinct. And what exactly is survival instinct aside from the obvious task of feeding oneself ? Not getting thyself eaten. It really is that simple…

Assuming of course, that the particular animal in question was not mistreated in any way, shape, or form in the past by a previous owner, or the animal has not gone through some sort of traumatic experience. Traumatic experience being defined as, hit by a car, attacked by other animals, scared, abused, tormented by children, hit by a stranger, etc..

Many dogs perceive all sorts of things as a potential threat to their life, if they haven’t achieved some sort of comfort level through daily routines and / or interaction with those things or people. Failing daily interaction they will be very wary of that object. Whether it’s a human being, garbage can in a new spot or another animal. And if you think about it, we are not all that different. Many of us fear animals we don’t know, and many of us fear other people that we don’t know.

Does your dog realize that there is no real danger in meeting friendly dogs or people that he doesn’t know? Some dogs do and some dogs don’t. But unlike the human mind with the overabundance of phobias that can affect us, people with phobias usually understand logically anyway that their fear is really only in their mind even know they may personally have trouble getting past that fear(s). Dogs on the other hand, do not have the mental capacity nor the intelligence to figure that out for themselves. This is an area where we can help them through their fears with proper behavior modification.

The Spirit Dog

Spirit Animal Sanctuary
2539 East Road
Boonville, New York 13309

Fear Aggression How to Tell if Your Dog’s Got it

So, how do you tell if a dog is displaying fear aggression when he see’s you because he’s afraid? How does the fear aggressive dog tell you that he’s afraid of you ?

Will the fear aggressive dog, bark ferociously at you ? YES

Will a fear aggressive dog, growl at you ? YES

Will the fear aggressive dog, lunge at you while tied or on a leash ? YES

Will the fear aggressive dog, snap at you ? YES

Will the fear aggressive dog, try to bite you ? YES

Will the fear aggressive dog, act like a maniac in a car ? YES

Will the fear aggressive dog, bark and try to chase you ? YES

Many people believe that a dog that reacts in any of the above mentioned scenarios, is an aggressive, bad or dangerous dog. They would be wrong.

Fear aggressive dogs can also display their nervousness by :

Standing or sitting quietly.

Not looking at you or avoiding your eye contact. ( And NO, this has nothing to do with dominance)

In general a nervous or fear aggressive dog can also display their nervousness by NOT acting aggressively. What you want to look for is stiffness in their body and a closed mouth. That’s the easy stuff to notice, what may be a little more difficult to notice is the fear in their eyes.

The Spirit Dog

© copyright 2010 a.s.papszycki

Dog Aggression a Thing of the Past Spirit Animal Sanctuary Boonville New York

Not only do you have to get dogs to be happy, they also have to trust you and trust in you to keep them safe from whatever fears they may have. This is the essence of modifying fear aggressive and aggressive behaviors in dogs. Contrary to what you may have learned and believe, confident dogs which can be described as ‘Alpha Dogs’, rarely respond with physical action while another dog is displaying threat behaviors.

The reason for this is simple, the alpha knows the other dog is a fucking idiot. A true alpha dog, will tolerate a lot of nonsense from others until it’s time for him to teach that other dog, “don’t do that”. Many people think they have an alpha dog because their dog will bark or growl ferociously at other dogs, this is not the case as confident dogs don’t act aggressively or like idiots.

Oh-yea, and puppies are never ever alphas.

The Spirit Dog

Fear Aggression, The Socializing of Smokey

This here is Smokey, or Smoke Stacks. Smokey came to Spirit Animal Sanctuary because of severe fear aggression towards people, that made it impossible for the rescue organization to safely adopt him out.

Some day I will shoot a video to show you exactly how I do this stuff. And the stuff I’m talking about is how I relax a nervous dog and gain their trust.

I shot this video the second day Smokey was with us.

And remember kiddies, this is a no flooding zone. Flooding is a training technique used by individuals that know nothing about animal behavior.

The Spirit Dog

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