If your dog gets scared when you shout, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog get scared when I shout? Possible reasons why your dog gets scared when you shout are that it finds it threatening, someone mistreated it in the past, it thinks it will be punished, you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior or that it is reacting to your own emotions.
There are many possible reasons why it has been doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.
Why your dog gets scared when you shout
Below are common causes and what would make them more likely.
It finds it threatening
It could be the case that it gets scared because it thinks that you are being threatening. This would be more likely if you show threatening body language by doing things such as standing over it, staring at it and pointing. Instead, it would help to be calm when interacting with it and to train it to behave the way you want with the use of positive reinforcement training.
Mistreatment in the past
The reason might also be that it was mistreated in the past by someone that shouted at it a lot and was aggressive towards it. This would be more likely if you adopted your dog when it was an adult. It would also be more likely if it shows signs of being scared when you do it and if it is not very trusting of other people.
It thinks it will be punished
The reason might also be that it does it because it thinks you are going to punish it. This would be more likely if it gets scared when you are shouting at your dog directly and if it happens after it did something that it shouldn’t have. Instead, it would help to get it to change its behavior with the use of positive reinforcement training when possible.
It has been encouraged
It might also be the case that you have encouraged it to do it by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you give it things such as toys, treats, extra attention or other things it wants, when it gets scared, it will encourage it to do it more.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want it to behave, to stop rewarding it when it does not and to give it lots of positive reinforcement training.
It is reacting to your own emotions
Dogs tend to be highly aware of their owner’s emotions. It could be the case that your dog gets scared when you shout because it is reacting to your own emotions. This would be more likely if you become anxious or very emotional when shouting. Instead, it would help to be calm around your dog since being emotional yourself will likely cause it to become emotional as well.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out why your dog has been becoming scared when you shout.
What else happened when your dog first started barking at you shouting
If it did not always get scared when you shout, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since an event might have caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it might be because you punished it one time causing it to now feel threatened when you shout. It could also be the case that it realized that it gets rewards when it does it.
If it always gets scared when you yell
If it does not always get scared when you shout, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it.
For example, if it only does it when you are shouting at your dog, it would be more likely that it feels threatened by it especially if it you show threatening body language as well.
What to do about your dog barking when you shout
Below are some things you can do about it.
Avoid yelling or shouting at it
If your dog has been getting scared when you raise your voice, it is likely that it causes your dog to feel discomfort in some way. They also tend to be highly aware of their owner’s emotions. As a result, it would help to interact with your dog calmly and to get your dog to behave in a certain way with the use of positive reinforcement training and by not rewarding bad behavior.
Use positive reinforcement training instead
Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging it to behave the way you want it to by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way. Instead of shouting at your dog, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to avoid rewarding it when it does not. It
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things it wants when it is scared. Instead, it would help to avoid doing things that are likely to cause it to become scared, to reward it when it shows signs of not being scared and to stop rewarding it when it starts being scared.
Avoid punishing it
If you punish it, when it becomes scared when you shout, it could actually be encouraging it to get scared more. This is because it might find you threatening when you are shouting or it might actually consider the extra attention as a reward.
This is why it would help to try to ignore it when it gets scared and not to give it attention while it is doing it and to give it rewards when it is not being scared or when it shows signs of not being scared.