At Mannerly Mutts, a pretty common behavioral problem is fear in dogs and puppies. This is a problem for the dog or puppy, as it can limit their enjoyment of life and all it has to offer. This can also be a problem for the owner when trying to do the things you need to do to take care of your dog or puppy. Vets visits and so on can end up being a very traumatic experience for both the owner and the dog.
Early on health problems and scary vet visits: More often this happens after the puppy has reached their new home. Some health difficulties may fall into the fear period and may also just be traumatizing without any positive vet visits and treatments being part of their experience as yet. Ideally, you want to have your puppy (or dog) have experienced these visits without painful medical and treatment issues attached to them. ***also file this under pain and discomfort
Trauma can take many forms: An assortment things can cause trauma to young growing puppies. A loud surprising and unexpected sound like loud thunder can be the thing that traumatizes your puppy (or even adult dog). Intentional abuse and neglect can cause the type of trauma that may make your new puppy fearful. Unintentional exposure to things that can hurt the puppy, like other adult dogs that don't take kindly to puppy antics, can traumatize your puppy. There are some things that may happen, that you can not control (weather events, family emergency, fire alarms) that may traumatize your puppy or may have traumatized your puppy (before you even got them). Even the environment they came from can make moving to a domestic environment very stressful. Street dogs, who have been rescued from other countries or a feral colony, can have a really hard time acclimating to a domestic environment. This is true even if they were rescued very young. They may not have experienced the best of the environments, human nature, or other animal nature.
Genetics and possibly bad behaviors from their canine parents: Their stressed, lactating, and perhaps health compromised mother may not be able to sufficiently do the best job with them. They may come from parents with behavioral problems that were passed on through genetics or experiences with them. Also pure genetics passed down have been thought to be a cause of some fear behaviors.
Our next blog will be on the does and do nots when working with a fearful puppy or dog in this series. Some patience and time can be your best friend on this journey.