Some dogs are scared of the dark, and they may even be frightened if you turn the lights off when they’re in the room. However, you can help your dog conquer its fear of the dark. Here are likely reasons why your dog has been being afraid of the dark and some tips.

So, why is my dog scared of the dark? Possible reasons why your dog is scared of the dark are that it had bad previous experiences in the dark, separation anxiety, or that it is unable to see anything at all.

There are a number of possible reasons why your dog is afraid of the dark and it might 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.

Reasons why your dog is afraid of the dark

Below are possible reasons why your dog is afraid of the dark.

Previous experiences

The reason why your dog does not like the dark might be that it had bad experiences, when it was dark, in the past. This would be more likely if your dog has started being afraid of the dark, suddenly, since a traumatic event that occurred while it was dark.

It can’t see anything

If the room it is in does not have any light coming into it at all, your dog still will not be able to see anything. If the room is completely black, it would be likely that your dog gets afraid because it is unable to see at all. In this case, it would help to let some light enter the room such as by opening a door or curtains.

Separation anxiety

Another possible cause is that your dog has some separation anxiety. This is where your dog does not like being without you and being without you causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if your dog only starts being afraid of the dark when you are leaving it alone.

Encouraging the behavior

It might also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. If you tend to give your dog things such as toys, treats, or extra attention, when it is afraid of the dark, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog has always been afraid of the dark

If your dog was not always afraid of the dark, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started being afraid of the dark.

For example, if it started being afraid of the dark since another pet mistreated it in the dark, the cause could be that your dog is anxious about what could happen when it is dark. Whereas, if your dog started doing it since you stopped letting it sleep with you, the cause could be separation anxiety.

What is different when your dog is not afraid of the dark

If your dog is not always afraid of the dark, it would also help to consider what is different when it is not afraid. For example, if it is not afraid until you leave, the cause would be more likely to be separation anxiety.

What to do about your dog being afraid of the dark

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Limit reasons why it might be anxious

It would help to limit reasons why it might get anxious when you are not around. Ways to do so could include ensuring that the room it stays in has a safe space for it to go to, is not too loud, and that your dog is not forced to stay with other pets that it does not like.

Make the room slightly brighter

If the room it stays in is completely dark, it could also help to let some light into the room. Ways to do so could include by opening a door or some curtains so that light can come in from outside.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.