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Signs Of Fear And Anxiety



  • Fearful dog 1

Fearful and anxious dogs may show some or all of these signs at different times during their ordeal:


  • Tense face
  • Ears drawn back – causes mouth to  be wide and may cause wrinkles at sides of mouth and on forehead
  • Lip licking
  • Tongue flicking in and out
  • Yawning
  • Turning away
  • Turning head away
  • Walking slowly
  • Panting (rapid, shallow breaths)
  • Increase heart and respiration rate
  • Dribbling
  • Sweating through paws
  • Refusing food
  • Snatching at food (hurting your fingers in the process)
  • Taking food but then dropping it on the floor
  • Not able to focus on training or paying attention to cues
  • Focusing solely on the thing they are scared of and nothing else
  • Stillness (usually in the early stages)
  • Hyper vigilant and very alert
  • Increased activity (usually in the later stages)
  • Pacing or other stereotypic behaviour
  • Shaking (due to adrenalin if stress is prolonged)
  • Dilated pupils (eyes appear red as due to the blood vessels at the back of the eye becoming more visible)
  • Eyelids drawn back to reveal whites of eyes
  • Ears held back
  • Raised hackles
  • May urinate/defecate more frequently than normal if stress is prolonged
  • Displacement behaviour, e.g. sniffing the ground, scratching the neck
  • Shedding hair, appearance of dandruff
  • Weight on back legs ready to run (sloping forepaws)
  • Tail down – may be under body, tip may be wagging or still
  • Head up, ready to bite
  • Eyes fixed on part of body most threatening, e.g. hands, feet, face


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