It's often said that people fear things they don't understand. The same is true for dogs.

While some very young puppies have curious, "no fear" attitudes, all dogs eventually question the unfamiliar things that show up in their world. This applies to new people and other dogs as well as things they've never seen before.

When a dog hears a hair dryer, steps on a sidewalk grate, sees another dog running towards him, or sees a man with an umbrella, you can just imagine what the dog is thinking: Will this hurt me? Is this dangerous? Is this something I can eat? Is this something that will give me pets?

The key to making sure your pup has an appropriate reaction to unfamiliar things is to make the unfamiliar familiar. And not only that, but to make sure their reactions with the unfamiliar are positive.

This is socialization, and it's an important area to work on, especially early on in your puppy's life. It's easier to teach a young dog not to be scared of people than it is to overcome a dog who is already fearful because of a bad experience.

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