How Can I Tell When My Dog Is Anxious or Fearful?

As a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) I work with clients with dogs with a wide variety of anxiety related issues. In some cases, the dog has a minor fear towards a particular type of person, and other times the dog might be terrified. Most people recognize the latter, but many see a dog that is not reacting as being “fine” or “okay” when in fact, these dogs can be very afraid. A dog that is not reacting may be frozen in fear. It is important to understand how your dog expresses their emotions so that you can help them when they are frightened.

Dogs are visual communicators and in most cases do an excellent job of trying to tell one another and us when they are uncomfortable. This starts with subtle body language and can rapidly escalate to vocalizations and actions such as lunging, snapping, and biting. Below you will find several resources that will help you to understand better what your dog is trying to tell you.

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog ( )

Introduction to Canine Communication

Body Language of Fear in Dogs – Dr. Sophia Yin

Canine Body Language – How To Greet A Dog and What to Avoid – Dr. Sophia Yin

Signs of Anxiety and Fear from Dr. Marty Becker

Understanding, Identifying and Coping with Canine Stress

What Should I Do When My Dog Growls

Help! My Dog is Aggressive, Reactive, Fearful, Anxious, etc. – What do I do?



A Kids’ Comprehensive Guide to Speaking Dog! by Niki Tudge – < Read a Review >

On Talking Terms With Dogs: Calming Signals by Turid Rugaas – < Read a Review >

The Other End of the Leash – Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs by Patricia B. McConnell, Ph.D., < Book Review >

Web Sites

iSpeakDog –

Turid Rugaas – Calming Signals—the-art-of-survival.html


Turid Rugaas Calming Signals DVD

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