Puppy Fear Periods: Help For Socializing Puppies Or Rescue Dogs Scared Of People #199 #podcast

Welcome to our latest blog post where we will be discussing Puppy Fear Periods and how to help socialize puppies or rescue dogs who are scared of people. In this post, we will share valuable tips and insights about how to address fear periods appropriately to ensure that puppies grow into well-adjusted and confident dogs. Additionally, we will be featuring our latest podcast episode, so you can enjoy listening to experts in the field, discussing how to mitigate fear and anxiety in dogs. Whether you are a seasoned dog owner or nurturing a new furry friend, this post is a must-read for anyone looking to cultivate positive socialization experiences for their dogs. So, let’s dive in!

Puppy Fear Periods: Help For Socializing Puppies Or Rescue Dogs Scared Of People

As a new puppy owner or a foster parent to a rescue dog, you might have noticed some changes in your puppy’s behavior. Maybe they have been tense, shying away or barking when they see strangers, or displaying destructive behavior when left alone. These changes can be attributed to the fear periods that puppies, just like humans, go through as they grow and explore the world around them.

In this article, we will discuss puppy fear periods – what they are, why they happen, and how you can help your puppy overcome any fears or anxieties they may have towards people or other animals. We will also discuss the dangers of “flooding” frightened dogs, and the importance of cues, games, and environmental changes in building puppy and dog confidence.

Introduction to Puppy Fear Periods

Puppy fear periods are times in a puppy’s life when they are more prone to experiencing fear and anxiety towards new people, objects, or situations. These periods typically occur during the ages of 8-11 weeks, 4-6 months, and occasionally at 14-18 months. During these periods, puppies may display increased signs of stress or anxiety, such as excessive barking, trembling, hiding or destruction of property.

The 3E’s Of Puppy Socializing And Overcoming Fears

To help puppies overcome fears and build confidence, puppy owners and foster caregivers can use the 3E’s: Environment, Education, and Empowerment. By creating an appropriate environment for a puppy, education can be facilitated, which leads to empowerment. The following are the steps that can be taken to ensure a comfortable environment:


Provide a safe, calm, and distraction-free environment for your puppy. This helps them to feel secure and comfortable in their surroundings.


Coach your puppy using cues and games to increase their confidence and provide them with a structure to feel safe. Use positive reinforcement techniques to reward good behavior.


Give your puppy a sense of control, and let them make choices. You can do this by involving them in decision-making regarding their training or by giving them control over their environment.

Dangers Of Flooding Frightened Dogs

Flooding is forcing a scared dog to face its fears head-on without any choice. This method of training can lead to the opposite effect of what was intended, and instead make the dog’s fears worse. It is essential to allow the dog choice and gradual exposure to its fears. This helps the dog to gain confidence and feel empowered to deal with its fears.

Three Things to Never Do With Fearful Puppies And Dogs

When dealing with a fearful puppy or dog, there are three things you should avoid doing. They include:

  1. Scolding: Scolding your dog for experiencing fears not only worsens the problem, but it can also lead to more concerns like aggression.

  2. Comforting: Offering comfort to your dog when they show signs of fear can reinforce that behavior. Dogs will soon recognize they will receive attention when they are scared.

  3. Ignoring: Ignoring the dog can lead to anxiety to spiral out of control. Dogs feel the need to have a connection with humans, and ignoring them can intensify their fears.

Ways to Refocus Dog’s Attention with a Unique Noise

When dogs are distracted or show signs of fear, you can use a unique noise to break their focus and refocus their attention. It is important that the noise is consistent and louder than any distracting sounds. It will also benefit if the sound is amusing to your dog.

Change The Environment By Changing Your Appearance

Dogs can be fearful of people with different appearances, such as people wearing hats or glasses. You can help your dog overcome this by changing the way you look regularly. This helps build trust.

Create “Training Dens” at Home to Begin Confidence Building

Creating training dens gives your puppy a specific location to develop their sense of control, which will build their confidence. A six-sided baby gate can be used to create a small area in a room where your puppy can retreat for comfort.

Signs your puppy is confident and joyful

If your puppy is wagging its tail or excited to greet you, this means they are happy and confident. When they are comfortable, they will approach new people and environments with enthusiasm.

Testing your dog’s confidence in new environments

When bringing your puppy to a new environment or scenario, it is essential to start with a low-stimulation environment to gauge their reactions. Gradually increase the stimuli, and monitor the puppy’s reaction.

How to handle houseguests when your puppy may fear them

If your puppy is fearful of houseguests, you can make a safe place for your puppy or introduce your puppy to your guests in a form that feels secure for the puppy. This helps build trust in a new situation.

Shaped by Dog Episode 200 Online Celebration Event

Susan Garrett is a renowned dog trainer, breeder, and international speaker in the field of animal training. In episode 200 of “Shaped by Dog,” she speaks on how to help puppies overcome fear periods constructively.

Susan Garrett’s experience and background

Susan Garrett has enjoyed competitive success in both training dogs and coaching handlers in several canine sports over the last 30 years. She and her team have won over 130 National and International Titles, including seven short-listed berths to World Team Competitions. Susan is also the author of “Shaping Success” and “Say Yes to Your Dog.”


Puppy fear periods are a natural part of life and vital for a puppy’s growth. The 3E’s, including Environment, Education, and Empowerment, can help puppies overcome their fears and build their confidence. It is essential to give puppies a sense of control while gradually exposing them to new scenarios to avoid escalating fear. Remember, it’s crucial to avoid scolding, comforting, or ignoring a fearful puppy. Use unique noises to refocus their attention and change your appearance to help them trust you. By following these tips, you can help your puppy develop into a joyful, confident companion.