Owning a pup that is literally scared of everything is no joke at all, as it can be demanding. Having to reassure your pet every single time can also get tiring.

And sometimes, you just can’t tell why he keeps whining. It could become unbearable and at that point, it needs to be corrected.

Your dog needs help to overcome his fears and in this article, you will learn how you can help in the best possible ways, so read on.

Is It Normal For Puppies To Be Scared Of Everything?

A timid dog might shy away from anything unfamiliar, or worse, respond negatively to avoid a new situation completely.

Rather than greeting the world with a confident walk and a wagging tail.

Fear has its place in nature; it boosts an animal’s chances of survival by keeping it away from danger.

But when your pup acts weird and scared all the time, it becomes stressful for both you and your dog and can take a toll on your furry friend’s health.

Let’s consider why your pup is scared of everything, how to recognize fearful behaviors, which situations trigger fear, and how you can help your dog deal with fear.

What Makes A Dog Scared of Everything?

When your pup is scared of everything, it can either result from nature or nurture. Your dog’s genes, early experiences, and environment can affect his disposition.

  • Non-Socialization 

A lack of positive exposure to new people, animals, and situations within the puppy’s socialization window is a typical cause of fear in dogs.

Between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks, puppies go through a critical developmental stage in which they require a range of pleasant interactions with the surrounding environment.

Puppies that haven’t had a pleasant introduction to the world are more prone to be suspicious of anything new or odd.

This can make puppies afraid of things we wouldn’t normally equate with dread, such as people wearing enormous hats or seeing a skater pass by.

  • Inherent Fear

Some nervous dogs may have a hereditary tendency to fear or shyness. Fearful puppies are more likely to be born to worried mothers.

  • Trauma

A traumatic incident is enough to trigger lifelong fear responses.

For example, if your pup ever gets terrified by cherry bomb crackers on a walk, he may generalize that fear response to any loud noise—such as a car door slamming—and develop a fear of walking anywhere near where it happened.

  • Pain

It’s vital to keep in mind that some behaviors that appear to be fearful may instead be due to discomfort.

Dogs who are afraid of being touched and appear “hand shy” may be suffering from an unknown medical condition.

Your veterinarian is in the best position to determine if your dog is in discomfort or has fear-related disorders.

Do Puppies Outgrow Being Scared?

On their way to adulthood, scientists have reported that puppies go through two stages of fear.

This means that a puppy that becomes afraid and growls out of the blues could simply be “going through a phase.”

However, it’s critical that you respond appropriately to his actions in order to help him mature into a friendly, cheerful dog. Below are the stages:

  • Puppy Fear Stage

You can see your dog interested in new experiences and wagging his tail in a moment, only to find him cowering under your legs and whining some days later.

When this happens, your puppy is most likely in the first stage of fear, which occurs between the ages of 8 and 11 weeks.

You ensure that whatever you introduce within this period is as pleasant as possible. Once he appears to be overwhelmed, take him out.

During this time, he will most likely grow out of his fearfulness and snarling.

  • Adolescent Fear Stage

When your puppy reaches the age of a “teenager,” he is likely to go through a second fear stage.

This stage lasts about three weeks and happens most frequently when a puppy is around five months old.

Your dog may suddenly refuse to approach a person or environment with which he used to be comfortable.

You don’t want to coddle your dog too much during this anxiety stage, but you also don’t want to force him to encounter a scenario that scares him.

He will probably outgrow the fearfulness and growling that happens just as he did during the initial fear stage.

Aggression

Growling is a dog’s method of signaling “get out of here.” If your older puppy is scared and growling, even if he is in the second stage of fear, he is telling you not to push him any further because he might bite.

If your dog and others are secure, the easiest way to deal with your older puppy’s fear is to ignore it.

When your dog is afraid, coddling him may encourage his belief that he has a reason to be afraid.

If you let him investigate the frightening scenario on his own, he will quickly discover that he had no reason to be scared.

However, if your older puppy is growling or snapping at another animal or person, you should firmly urge him or her to stop.

How Long Does The Fear Stage Last In Puppies?

Having discussed the fear stages your pup would encounter on his journey to growth, we’ll proceed with talking about how long those stages last. 

In a puppy’s socialization, there are two significant fear periods. The first occurs within the age of 8-11 weeks old, and the second, between 6-14 months old.

These fear episodes have developed as a protective mechanism for dogs in the wild. 

The first fear period takes about 8 to 11 weeks, which is the same time as the second socialization period, and this happens when puppies move to a new home and are exposed to a completely new environment and set of conditions.

During this time, you must be very cautious and avoid frightening your puppy. Children and other pets in the house should not be permitted to hurt the puppy accidentally.

In their excitement, young children may grasp, chase, or handle the puppy in ways that he will regard as frightening.

Learning is persistent at this age and learned fear behaviors can be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.

Significant traumatic experiences at this age can lead to a lifetime of behavioral difficulties. Between the ages of 6 and 14 months old, the second fear impact period develops.

This key age is usually reached earlier in small dogs and later in larger canines. Fears are more likely to develop in response to situations than in response to individual people. 

Remember that socialization is a lifelong process, not something that can be completed in a single year.

Because your pet’s reaction to stimuli may alter over time, it’s critical to keep reinforcing positive behaviors.

Be mindful that some dogs are naturally apprehensive and afraid, causing additional time and tolerance.

If your puppy does not seem to progress as expected, seek help from your veterinarian or a referral to a behavior specialist.

A little more time and effort now will pay off in good behavior throughout your dog’s life.

How Do You Calm Your Nervous Puppy?

  • Music Therapy

Music therapy has been proven to be helpful.

The power of music can be calm your dog and help him relax wherever you are, whether at home, in the car, or when your pup is all by himself.

Music can also shut off noise sensitivity by blocking the scary noise that bothers your furry friend and creates fear.

According to research, many dogs prefer classical music. Harp music can also be calming. You can try:

  • Noah’s Harp: Surrender by Susan Raimond
  • Through A Dog’s Ear by pianist Lisa Spector and psychoacoustics researcher Joshua Leeds.
  • Exercise Your Dog

Never leave your pup alone when they go through separation anxiety. Rather, use exercise to bond till your pet is tired.

Anxiety can be very energy consuming, but taking your dog out on a long walk or playing ball before you leave will be helpful.

Exercise would relieve your pup of stress by producing beneficial endorphins.

  • Physical Contact

You scared pup would want you to pick him up and rock him in your hands, cuddle, or give him a good long petting session.

Maximum physical contact and speaking to your dog are effective.

  • Time-Out

Anxiety is not outrightly a bad behavior, so you can help by giving your dog some time-out when they’re acting out.

Keep your pet in a protected quiet space to help calm his nerves. You can turn on gentle music with low lights and/or some aromatherapy available. 

Bach Flower Remedy

The back flower remedy is a homeopathic solution of brandy and water, with extremely diluted trace amounts of flower material, supposed to treat emotional and spiritual conditions.

Rescue Remedy is a human homeopathic remedy from the Bach homeopathic line.

Homeopathy has a long history in Europe and England, dating back over 200 years. (There’s even a Royal Homepath for the Queen.)

All cures are founded on the idea of resemblance and use plants and flowers. Rescue Remedy Pet is a stress reliever that comprises five distinct Bach Flower Remedies.

It is absolutely safe for your dog to use. Simply add 2-4 drops into their drinking water. You can also apply a spray on your pet’s bedding and toys.

References:

Nutrena World: Puppy Socialization – Fear Periods

CCSPCA: 7 Proven Ways to Calm Your Anxious Dog

PetMd: Why Is My Dog Scared of Everything 

Cuteness: Will My Puppy Outgrow His Fear

Wiktionary: Bach Flower Remedy