Barking is part of the way that dogs communicate. Even a very well-behaved dog is likely to bark a little from time to time. While a few yaps probably aren't going to get your attention, what will is if your dog suddenly starts repeatedly barking at someone. This behavior can be especially surprising if your dog has seen that person before.
So, what exactly can make a well-behaved and friendly dog suddenly act this way? In many cases, the answer may be a hat. Although that answer sounds surprising at first, it makes a lot of sense once you have the full explanation. Keep reading to learn exactly why this happens, as well as if there's anything you can do to help your dog.
The Link Between Hats and Fear in Dogs
If someone you know usually doesn't wear a baseball cap, it may take you a moment to recognize them if you unexpectedly run into them when they are wearing one. This is the same type of basic experience a dog can have if they encounter someone with any type of hat. However, since dogs have their own way of processing information, there are some important differences to note. The most significant is this accessory can alter the natural human silhouette that dogs are used to seeing.
That's why this reaction can also occur when someone is wearing sunglasses, a backpack or carrying an umbrella. For many dogs, large items like strollers can also trigger this type of fear reaction. So if you've ever wondered why so many different dogs have negative reactions to mailmen, the combination of these factors plays a very big role.
Helping Your Dog to Be Less Fearful of Hats
Now that we've gotten to the bottom of why your dog may have this reaction, you're probably wondering if there's anything you can do about it. The good news is there are steps you can take to help your dog. The key to combating fear is creating a positive association for your dog. So an easy first step is to calmly put on a hat on at home and then give your dog treats to show it that everything is fine.
Once you've laid that foundation, you can enlist help from friends or family members to do the same thing. Through plenty of repetition, you'll begin to notice that your dog stops having such a strong reaction to people wearing a hat. If your dog also reacts to any of the other items we covered, you can use this same strategy to help your pooch.
If you're looking for a safe and engaging environment where your dog can enjoy all kinds of positive socialization, be sure to take a look at our doggy daycare.