Dogs experience a wide range of emotions, with fear being a common one. Even the most obedient of dogs will act out if it's scared of a person or situation. Fear is an emotion that some emotionally sensitive breeds are predisposed to. It's also a feeling that dogs learn through confinement, veterinary practices or loud noises [source: Purina]. Take note of your dog's company and surroundings when it's acting aggressive or submissive. Your dog may be experiencing fear. Read the symptoms listed below and learn about how to know if your dog is fearful
- Flight response Fleeing an intimidating situation is a common reaction in scared dogs. If escape is not a viable option, they may attack with growling, baring their teeth, nipping and biting [source: McDonough].
- Submissive behavior Depending on your dog's temperament, it may become aggressive or submissive when in a fearful situation. Submissive dogs may avoid eye contact, urinate or roll over to indicate that they are scared [source: APS].
- Aggressive behavior If your dog feels that it cannot escape a fearful situation, it may do a number of aggressive things to get out of the situation. Striking or biting the person who is trying to calm it down is a common reaction [source: McDonough]. Other aggressive behavior may include growling, snarling, snapping or baring the teeth [source: APS].
It's normal for a dog to show signs of fear every once in awhile. However, if your dog shows excessive symptoms, you may want to consult an animal behavioral specialist or vet [source: APS].