Why Is My Dog Suddenly Scared?! The Problem With Fear Periods in Dog Training

Recently I heard Katie McGuire who I Follow on social referencing a podcast She was listening to with Dr Jessica Heckman and Sarah strumming talking About fear periods went and I listened To that podcast and I have some thoughts On it too this is a great topic I'll Have the relevant links below as we Continue to advance our understanding of Dog behavior we have to have a better Understanding of a lot of the things That we talk about myself included Pretty routinely without maybe enough Explanation so what do we mean when We're talking about fear periods well There might be points in a dog's life When they're extra sensitive to things Around them and there's a lot of debate Around whether or not those Sensitivities are around known or Unknown stimuli by the way I'm Zach George I train dogs like and follow Particularly if we're a dog trainer we Should approach this topic very Cautiously and with some skepticism and That's because there isn't a ton of Scientific research on this with dogs Anyway therefore a lot of the evidence That is presented is often anecdotal so In general it's widely accepted in our Field and this is why we're questioning It right now that there are two main Fear periods that dogs go through one When there are between 8 and 10 weeks of

Age puppies might display heightened Reactions to new people environments Animals things like that for example Maybe a puppy becomes a little fearful When they encounter an unfamiliar person Whereas before when they encountered Unfamiliar people they were fine Similarly during the juvenile period Between 6 and 14 months of age some Adolescent dogs might show increased Anxiety or sensitivity around noises Objects or situations that didn't bother Them before by developmental sensitivity We're referring to periods in an Animal's life during which an animal Might be particularly susceptible to Certain experiences in dogs some Trainers and behaviorists propose the Existence of two of these major periods As we mentioned earlier however it's Important to remember that alternative Explanations such as normal brain Developments as well as individual Variability could account for the Observations we're making so what about These developmental sensitivities can we Learn by looking at other species where The evidence is more Young songbirds for example have a Well-established critical period during Which they're particularly sensitive to Auditory stimuli which allows them to Learn their species-specific songs for Instance zebra finches must be exposed

To songs of adult males during a Specific developmental window to learn And reproduce the correct song patterns Rats and mice separated from their Mothers during a critical period of Early development exhibit long-lasting Changes in their stress response social Behavior and cognitive abilities this Can be seen in the form of increased Anxiety-like behavior and impaired Learning in adult rodents that Experience early life stress rhesus Monkeys raised an isolation display Abnormal social behaviors if not exposed To social interactions during a critical Period of their developments for example Monkeys reared without peers May exhibit Inappropriate social and aggressive Behaviors when introduced to other Monkeys later in life while these Examples do provide insights into the Existence of these critical Developmental peer variants and other Species it's still important to note That with dogs these fear periods remain Less certain as we continue to learn More about dog behavior and the Existence of these sensitive periods It's really important for dog Professionals to keep up with the latest Research on topics like this and others And not to form too many conclusions Based on this and be flexible and Willing to change your perspective in

Light of new information because there Is limited research on this and in the Meantime looking to other animal species Might give us some insight and some Clues but we have to remember that dogs Are a different species than these other Animals I think it's really great that We're having more people question things Like fear periods because I've been very Foggy on these my entire dog training Career if I'm being honest I can give You a personal anecdote and I typically Will raise dogs from puppies with my dog Inertia who we're most familiar with Fewer periods seem most apparent with Her versus other dogs she really seemed To fit the fear period to a T Particularly her adolescent fear period Where there were some ups and downs Particularly when we would go in public And she would be a little bit more Fearful or more likely to act out with Things that she hadn't previously acted Out towards when exposed to them the More we train the more we worked I don't Really see that type of behavior too Often now that she's a full-grown dog And in a nurse's case one thing that has Made a massive difference is training Really often in places that were Gradually more challenging for her and It's so much easier to train when there Are awesome currencies right at hand we Get a new BarkBox in the super tour box

Each month super tours for dogs who need Really tough toys and bark boxes for Your everyday dog who just loves to play And eat quality treats bark is giving Everyone a free box who signs up at Barkbox.com dog training and Superchewer.com dog training whether You're a dog professional or not what Are your thoughts on this did you notice Temporary unusual behavior from your Young puppy or your adolescent dog did It seem to pass on its own or did you do A lot of increased exposure work around Things that cause them to feel anxious Tell me below I'm really curious to know What the broad experience is all right Like and follow for more we'll see you Next time

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