During puppy development, puppies go through fear periods. While I can’t be specific to the exact age that your puppy will go through these fear periods, as all puppies differ, I can tell you that these times of anxiety and distress usually happen approximately at the following ages:
- Between 8-10 weeks
- Between 4 – 6 months
- About 9 months
- Between 14 – 18 months
The fear period is a very important part of puppy development. How you handle this difficult period could determine how well centered your dog will be in the future.
As your puppy enters a fear period, he will suddenly become frightened of something that he used to be okay with or previously ignored. His reaction could be hunched down, shaking, backing away, hiding, running away, or submissively urinating. Your puppy may display more pronounced behaviors such as growling, barking, hackles up, or showing teeth. Either way, once you recognize one of these behaviors at the age ranges mentioned above, it would be wise to address these issues with a trainer. Just like in humans, fear and anxiety is very real, and your puppy needs to be able to trust you.