The other day I was discussing fears with my husband. I thought long and hard about what I'm afraid of and came up with sharks, bears and alligators. Other than that, there aren't a whole lot of things that would send me running the other way like Fred Flintstone.
Fear - a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil pain, etc.
Our dogs have fears as well. Like us they are all different and what one might fear another will not. Elsa has a very strange fear; although when I dissect it I can figure it out. Nonetheless it is a fear and it is most definitely real to her. Elsa is afraid of feathers, but not just any old feathers. She is afraid of ones that have recently come off of birds that are lying around outside.
Today I tried to capture a video of her when she first sees or scents a feather, but I missed it. Just about a week ago when we were out walking at the harbor, she had the biggest reaction that I have ever seen. The height and distance that she jumped after locating the feather had me laughing, I couldn't help it. She had to jump 3.5 feet in the air and about 7 feet in distance. All in her attempt to get away from the feather.
Once she has seen and labelled it a rogue feather then she is skittish on the rest of her walk. Luke had the same huge recoil when he saw or scented a snake skin which was also something I had not seen before in any of my dogs.
So what can or should you do about a fear? React the way that you want your dog to react. In other words, pretend like it is no big deal at all. Our dogs watch us to see how we respond to things; so if you coddle your dog when they are fearful, the fear grows. If you ignore the fearful trigger then you will be helping them to conquer their fear.
The feather fear of Elsa's is a strange one. I assume it is because it smells like a real creature yet just sits there frozen. Frozen posture is a bad thing. Feathers from a pillow or craft bag do not instill the fear, only fresh from a bird feathers do it. So when it happens I just keep walking as if nothing happened. Although I am probably snickering, which is a good thing as far as vocal feedback.
Show your dog how you want them to react by reacting calmly in response. Even if you have to fake it big time.