Are You Reinforcing Your Pet’s Fears?

Reinforcement, whether intentional or not, can exacerbate a dog’s fears. Instinctually, the fear response is fight or flight. A fearful animal in a certain situation may consider the flight response, that is, to run and to hide as the better option. And if successful in fleeing, that certain situation is then learned as something to be feared.

Aggression, the fight response, a frightened animal could learn that attacking instead can help mitigate the terrifying situation if its action is successful in removing that situation.

Dog owners may reinforce this behavior unwittingly, even if the owner’s response is well-meaning. Comforting the animal, or providing additional food, which, in the owner’s eyes, is aimed to make the pet feel at ease, can express a distorted message to the terrified pet – that is, exhibiting the above fight or flight responses is acceptable. This, however, can just support the dog’s fear of the situation, which is not good.

Any concerns you may have about your pet’s behavior should warrant a visit to your vet hospital Lewisville, TX. 


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