Your loving, cute, confident, and assured dog suddenly started acting scared of things you can’t even name, and you wonder what might have happened to your pet that caused those anxious, scared behaviors.
Since we do not have a device that can simply translate what dogs feel and aspire to tell us, you fall in a feeling of ambiguity thinking of why all of a sudden, he/she started to hesitate to do things he/she used to do.
Due to the fact that this is a behavioral problem, you might need to dig deeper to be able to understand what is going on with your dog. In this case, you will need to pay attention to your dog’s body language, which is his greatest means of communication for you, to figure out why your dog is anxious and afraid of simple things all of a sudden.
It can be tough for you to see your dog going through a difficult phase like that especially when you don’t know why your pooch acts paranoid out of nowhere. Luckily, there are always things you can do to ease your pet’s anxiety and help him overcome their fears.
Understanding Your Puppy's Body Language
Dogs always use body language in order to communicate with each other. That’s why in the first place we, humans, were able to domesticate them and communicate with them. They see us as a part of their ‘pack’ and interpret our moods and emotions.
Your dog’s facial expressions and body postures might give you a lot of subtle clues about how your puppy feels at a particular moment. Not necessarily when they are anxious or scared, you can also observe those behaviors when they are hungry, happy, seeking attention, or looking for some warm cuddles after your absence all day at home. They will use their mouths, eyes, ears, and tails to communicate, not only with their dog mates but also with us.
If your puppy is confident, brave, or even aggressive, he will try to look bigger and dominant by standing upright and keeping his and tails up. In addition to that, he will push his chest outwards and bring his back and neck hairs to erect condition. They can also growl and shake his tails slowly.
On the other hand, a submissive, scared, or anxious dog will try to look small and act like a few-months-old puppy. It will, therefore, take the form of submission, crouching close to the ground, keeping its tail down, but wagging.
Reasons Why Your Dog Acts Paranoid, Anxious and Scared All of a Sudden
There might be a variety of reasons why your dog now is acting paranoid and scared. The most common of those reasons can be listed as a traumatic experience or an abuse, separation anxiety, illness, phobias, a, something that scares them without you realizing, aging the absence of social life. Thankfully, there are things you can do to improve your pooch’s condition and help him forget his negative memories.
Traumatic Experience or Abuse
Dogs are not as skilled as people in terms of remembering their memories. However, they are very good at remembering their negative and positive experiences. If you adopted your dog, you might be missing on your pet’s past experiences. For instance, your dog might have been hit by a bicycle, or a car and gone through a traumatic period which can give him negative memories about the noise of cars.
Every time they hear that sound, they might act paranoid and scared feeling like it’s about to happen again. The previous owner of your dog might have abused him, either verbally by yelling and shouting or physically by punishing the pooch’s behaviors.
Anytime your pooch has something around that reminds him/her of his past negative experiences, he can freak out. A specific smell, tone of your voice, or even your body language can send him wrong signals.
In these kinds of situations, the most important step to take is to gain the trust of your puppy and try to desensitize it to those triggers.
Traumatic Experience or Abuse
Separation anxiety occurs when the owner of the puppy leaves home for a few hours or all day, and the puppy stays home alone. They can’t stand when their owner is away and the awareness of being alone at home drives them nuts.
If your puppy acts destructively and aggressively when you are away, he might be suffering from separation anxiety. Some dog breeds are inclined to separation anxiety more than others. Do not worry, most of the puppies are predisposed to separation anxiety.
That also means that you have a wonderful bond with your pooch and your absence is unbearable and they miss you! A study that was done by the AVMA Journal discovered that 200 dogs out of 400 in their experiment had separation anxiety.
In order to solve your puppy’s separation anxiety, you need to give your pooch enough mental and physical stimulation and prepare them for being alone ahead of time.
You can also hire a caretaker to spend some time with your dog when you are away. In the long term, they tend to get more comfortable when they are alone as they become more mature.
Exercise them regularly! If your dog receives enough daily exercise, especially before you leave home, they tend to be calmer when you are away. Dogs who have a good physical outlet, they are more likely to chill.
Lack of Socialization
Like we humans, dogs need to socialize too. They can be afraid and paranoid about random things all of a sudden if their social needs are not met. Socializing helps your dog become ‘’okay’’ with various things as they get used to see and experience different moments of life and surroundings.
For example, a crying kid in the park can be stressing your dog. Even someone with glasses on can be freaking your puppy out. However, your puppy will be used to various places, situations, and people if you spend enough time with your dog outside and help your pet socialize, they will, therefore, feel more secure in the new environments.
Understanding your dog and making life easier for him/her will make both of your lives more comfortable. You don’t have to be an expert on dog behaviors or actions but it always comes in handy when you know what some subtle actions or expressions might mean. It will help you be more conscious next time when you want to calm your puppy down, and create even a stronger bond.
Conclusion: Why Is My Dog Scared All of a Sudden?
There is not doubt that living with a dog is a great experience for every pet parent. However, it can change quickly if your dog starts acting nervous and scared all of a sudden.
So, in this article, we talked about the reasons why dogs can get suddenly scared and the things that you can do about it. We hope that our article was helpful to you!