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Common Dog Phobias & Fears 33 Common Dog Phobias How to Help Your Dog to Overcome Fear What do Dogs Fear the Most? How do I get rid my Dog's Phobia Do Dogs Have Phobias? Common Dog Fears Why is my Dog Scared of Random Objects My Dog is Scared of Me: 10 steps to follow My Dog is Scared of Everything Best Ways for Dog to Overcome their Fear Dog Fears, Anxiety & Phobias 34 Symptoms of Fearful Dog 28 Symptoms of Separation Anxiety in Dogs 13 Tips for Fearful Fido Walking Fear of People in FIDO What Objects are Dogs Afraid of? 10 Everyday Items Dogs Are Afraid Of Noice Phobias in Senior Dogs How to Deal with Periods of Fear in Dogs First Fear Imprint Period How to Massage an Anxious Dog? How to Help Anxious Nervous Dog Dog Fly Phobia History of Dog Phobias Scared Dogs Science Behind Dog Phobias Dog Car Ride Phobia Dog Children Phobia Thunderstorm Dog Phobia What Animals Are Dogs Scared of? Common Dog Scars: Fly, Car, Motorcycles & Kids Dog Fear vs Phobia What Dogs are Afraid of? Rational & Irrational Dog Fears
The 4 F's of Fear in Dogs:
Freezing Fleeing Fighting Fooling Around
Dogs express fear in several ways. They may shake, pace, whine, bark, cower, hide, or even exhibit signs of fear reactivity, which is often confused with aggression.
Does Your Dog Have Anxiety, Fear or a Phobia? When navigating fear-based behavioral issues in dogs, your veterinarian will work with you to determine the severity and root cause of the behaviors.
While fear is a normal, adaptive response, sometimes a dog's fear response can reach more extreme levels that require intervention. Profound fear and anxiety can lead to unhealthy and potentially dangerous behaviors within dogs. To help you better understand how to help, it is necessary to understand the nuances and signs of anxiety, phobias and fear in dogs.
Fear vs Phobia It is a common problem for dogs to be fearful. Fear is a defense mechanism and is not something we have to eliminate entirely. Wolves and other wild canids rely on fear to keep them alive, but when fearful behavior poses dangers to the dog or other family members, we have to intervene. Dogs express fear in several ways. They may shake, pace, whine, bark, cower, hide, or even exhibit signs of fear reactivity, which is often confused with aggression.
So, how do you know when your dog's fear has become a phobia? Intense and persistent fear that occurs when a dog is confronted with something that might feel threatening, such as a thunderstorm. Some dogs can even anticipate it. As with people who have phobias, this fear goes beyond a rational response.
Phobias are the result of a previous experience. Sometimes they are the result of repeated experiences, but for dogs, it just takes one experience to solidify a fearful response into a phobia. Animals do not understand what thunder is, and we can not explain it to them. Humans, however, can have phobias, even though they understand things. Phobias are irrational and take on a life of their own.
Fear in Dogs Fear is the instinctual feeling of apprehension caused by a situation, person or object that presents an external threat - whether it is real or perceived. The response of the autonomic nervous system prepares the body for the freeze, fight or flight syndrome. It is considered to be a normal behavior that is essential for adaptation and survival. The context of the situation determines whether the fear response is normal or abnormal and inappropriate.
Most abnormal reactions are learned and can be unlearned with gradual exposure counter-conditioning. Profound fear - also called idiopathic fear, has been noted in certain dog breeds, including the Siberian Husky, German Shorthaired Pointer, Greyhound, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees, Border Collie and Standard Poodle, among others.
Phobias in Dogs The persistent and excessive fear of a specific stimulus is called a phobia. It has been suggested that once a phobic event has been experienced, any event associated with it or even the memory of it is sufficient enough to generate a response. The most common phobias in dogs are associated with noises, such as thunderstorms or fireworks.
Anxiety in Dogs Anxiety, meanwhile, is the anticipation of unknown or imagined future dangers. This results in bodily reactions (known as physiologic reactions) that are normally associated with fear. The most common behaviors are elimination like urination or bowel movements), destruction and excessive vocalization like barking, crying. Pet owners may also observe excessive panting or pacing. Separation anxiety is the most common specific anxiety in companion dogs. With separation anxiety, a dog that is left alone for a period of time exhibits anxiety or excessive distress behaviors.
Attention Seeking Behaviours Attention seeking behaviour can take many forms and are exactly what the name says they are – your dog trying to get your attention. What is really interesting about attention seeking behaviours is that often without realising it we teach them to our dogs! Like many behaviour problems however we should not focus on how to stop the dog from doing these behaviours but instead focus on why the dog is doing these behaviours.
How are they feeling that makes them need to get your attention? For a lot of dogs this can be because they are bored, under-stimulated, under-exercised or just do not get enough interaction with you. When you look at it that way, your dog has every right to remind you that you are not doing a good job in the owner department!
The sad fact for many dogs is that the only way they can get their owner's attention at all is by doing something they look on as being "wrong". Most people totally ignore their dog when they are sitting or lying in the corner doing exactly what they want them to do, and the only time they are the focus of their world is when they do something they do not want them to – perhaps they bark at them, jump on them, paw at them, chew things they should not, run off with something valuable... Anything to get their beloved owner to pay them some attention – and dogs are very quick to discover what these things are. To prevent or stop attention seeking behaviours:
1. Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise, stimulation and interaction with you – every single day. For really "busy" dogs, you can use interactive toys in the house to keep them stimulated and give them something to do.
2. Do not ignore your dog when they are being good. Give them your attention when they are doing what you want them to. Reward good behaviour so they are very clear about the positive ways to get your attention. In general, if a dog is seeking your attention at the wrong time, it is because you are not giving them enough of it at the right time.
3. Once you are sure your dog does not have every right to expect more attention from you, if they do something you do not want them to, ignore it - if it is safe to do so, so it is not being rewarded by your attention.
4. Most attention seeking behaviours consist of barking, jumping up, scratching you with a paw, pestering you with toys – in fact doing anything to try and get you to interact. If you ignore these behaviours, they will stop because they are not achieving the desired effect ie getting your attention.
5. When the behaviour stops you have to be very quick to reward its absence. As long as it is safe, reward what you like, ignore what you do not.
6. If the behaviour is not safe to ignore - nipping guests, jumping on children, terrorising visitors, scratching people, using teeth, make use of a training lead to attach them to your chair until they settle and then giving them a stuffed Kong or something to chew may help, or use baby gates to separate the dog from your guests or the situation with minimal interaction from you. Then contact an accredited behaviourist to help you with a behaviour modification programme to address the behaviours.
Our dogs were originally wolves who wondered the plains, bathed in the moonlight, howling to long lost friends. Storms would have come and gone with fear only being realized if a wolf was injured. The domestication of our furry friends has ingrained many human traits - including phobias of weather events and past experiences. As mankind created various breeds of woofers, the wilderness wolf became a distant vision as dogs were manufactured for work purposes and display. With the emphasis on a particular look and human companionship, genetics evolved breeds with nervous dispositions, prone to phobic disorders.
Instead of breeding these unsettling traits out, mankind went on his merry way stylizing the designer dogs with Labradoodles, Yorkipoos and Pomskies, to name a few. Over thousands of years, we have tampered with the DNA and bred versions of the wolf with issues. Dogs are impressionable creatures and watch their human guardians with interest. It is likely if their pet mom jumps at the sound of thunder, so might they. Like kids are heavily influenced by the reactions of their parents, so also, are dogs. We have made them our pet-kids, so if you are pretty Poodle freaks out when the fire alarm goes off, you might want to check out your response and how it affects your pup.
The Tufts University of Massachusetts ran a survey to find out what breed of dogs experience thunder phobia the most. They found dogs bred for herding were at the top of the list. These working mutts are genetically designed to think on their paws, making them super-reactive. The erratic evolution of dogs and close interaction with humans has inspired a world of phobic dogs, which run for the hills at the sound of both nature and human-made sounds. The fearless wolf has become a dog that requires counseling.
Science Behind Dog Phobias We know that stress is a killer, but possibly have never equated this life-stealing condition to our dogs. The reality is, our woofers are exposed to the stresses of human life and take on board the emotions of their guardians. Ironically, we humans seem to get high on fear, watching spooky movies and dressing up for Halloween. Dogs are different. They do not look for fearful situations.
Many dog owners might be surprised to learn the first 7 months of a puppy's life is their learning time and being vulnerable, cuddly balls of fluff, they soak up their environment and reactions to the people in it. Imagine a 6 month old Mastiff being exposed to harsh treatment or loud noises. This is likely to leave an imprint on their brain and form a fearful personality. The world is a scary place, and people yelling and slamming doors are frightening. If done right, the same junior Mastiff will think humans are okay-looking aliens who seem to like him.
Once a puppy leaves its mom and siblings for a new home, it should be reasonably socialized and ready to face life in a human world. Between 6 and 12 months, when puppies are discovering their mojo, a fearful situation could leave a lasting impression. Guardians need to keep their puppies safe in the early months to avoid negative behavior and phobias.
Pet Psychology tells the story of Allie, a Pomeranian with an aversion to kitchen toasters. The clicking sound made when the bread is put in causes her to run and hide. It turns out Allie's pet mom was clicking the toaster one morning when a contractor made a huge racket, dumping construction materials in their driveway. Allie now equates the toaster with a very scary sound.
The first step to implementing a successful plan is to try to determine the root cause for your fearful dog as well as trying to figure out where your dog is on the spectrum of fear. The causes of "fear" on the spectrum vary. The most important take away is that if you have a fearful dog, use patience and understanding. Reach out to your local vets and trainers, their wealth of knowledge is there to help!
1. Genetics A dog's genetic code along with prenatal and post natal experience can affect a dog's disposition. Sometimes this cause is difficult to pinpoint unless you have background information on the parents of the dog. Some breeds are just predisposed to certain behaviors and that is why it is important to research a breed before purchasing one. These types of fears are not easy to overcome and sometimes may never be completely overcome.
2. Lack of Socialization Many dogs that fear people, other dogs or new situations have not had proper socialization as puppies or young dogs. Puppies need to be exposed to other animals, people, different environments and the like early on in life to avoid a fear response when exposed to those very things. The best period for proper socialization begins at four weeks of age and ends at 12 weeks of age. After that point, it becomes more difficult to address those fears.
3. Abuse Some dogs have that are rooted in abusive situations. This type of fear is addressed with behavior modification exercises as well as the development of a bond and trust with the pet parent or owner. Once trust has been established, the behavior is alleviated or eliminated entirely.
4. Traumatic Experience Think post-traumatic stress syndrome. Yes, Dogs can be plagued with this too. A bad grooming experience or being attacked by another dog would both be considered traumatic experiences just as a car accident is for a human or a war experience. These types of fears, albeit intense and often requiring a lengthy behavior modification plan can be alleviated and or eliminated entirely as well.
5. Learned Fears Dogs create associations very quickly. For example, your dog may learn to associate car rides with vet or grooming visits that may have been undesirable so then he may resist car rides and become fearful of them because he associates the car ride with the said vet or grooming visit. Make sense? The key to resolving learned fears is being able to discover the initial cause is. That can be tricky sometimes as the owner may or may not have been present to witness the triggering event.
6. Pain & Illness Some dogs develop fears during a bout with pain or illness. For example, if a dog had a bad ear infection that caused him pain, he may develop a fear of having his ears touched. Now, these fears can sometimes easily be resolved by treating the illness that is causing the pain. However, some illnesses or conditions may be lifelong. Let me explain. If a dog is going blind due to cataracts and surgery is not advisable, this dog may become apprehensive in new environments or with sudden movements due to not being able to see properly. This situation would require making the dog feel as safe as possible, providing comfort and treatment when applicable and keeping the environment predictable.
As you spend more time with your pal, you will observe that they have strong feelings – just like we do. You will notice their favorite treats, and the things that fill them with joy , or those that make them sad. Compared to these temperaments, a dog's fear and anxiety may be harder to observe and are thus often overlooked by the owner. Fear and anxiety can occur at any time, with or without any warning.
While not every dog owner will have to deal with this, it is something that should not be ignored. Although there are many funny stories of dogs being scared of the toaster, microwave oven or the vacuum cleaner, some dogs do experience persistent fear that affects the lives of both the dog and the owner. So, how can you tell if your dog is afraid of something? Keep in mind that some of the symptoms of canine anxiety and fear may be observed in stressed dogs as well.
Although some form of stress is perfectly normal for a dog, excessive or severe cases would certainly require veterinary attention. Symptoms of a dog being scared and anxious range from being mild to severe.
Here is a guideline to help you determine if what your dog is experiencing fear:
Mild Signs Trembling – They may be shaking or seem to have a tremor.
Tail tucking – This is when a dog tucks its tail down in between its hind legs.
Ear pinning– When the ears are pinned back and downwards.
Withdrawal – Your dog may seem to take a step back, and detached from the situation.
Hiding or (passive) escaping behavior– A dog that is scared may hide behind you or something else to try and avoid its fears.
Reduced activity – Dogs may stop suddenly or seem to freeze when in a stressful situation.
Signs of Panic Active escaping behavior – Running away is a clear sign of a dog in panic.
Activity that seems out of context - potentially injurious to himself or others – This can include biting, jumping, etc. This may be potentially dangerous for larger dog breeds.
Signs of Excessive / Unhealthy Stress Diarrhea – Loose stools is something you should take seriously, whether or not your dog is
Vomiting – Throwing up is also a serious sign and all measures should be taken to get your dog in a safe, comfortable environment.
Excessive barking and whining – If it is not the mail man and they do not have to pee, then it might be something more serious.
Panting – Quick and shallow breathing for no reason can be an indication of fear or anxiety.
Digging – They may not be digging necessarily, but more so doing a digging motion.
Chewing – Dogs do like to chew, but chewing too much is not a good thing.
Shedding – Just like humans, dogs can lose hair if they are scared too often.
Leash biting – This could be a way to show you they do not want to go near something they may be afraid of.
Sweaty paws – Again, this is a reaction that humans also get when they are scared or under
Foam drool – You ever notice an aggressive dog with foamy drool? This can be a sign they are actually scared rather than mad.
Red eyes – Because the heart rate increases when scared or stressed, the increased blood flow can make a dog's eyes appear to be red.
Tense muscles – If your dog seems stiff, or even frozen, this can indicate they have tense
Excessive tail wagging – A dog that is wagging his or her tail is not always happy, so be aware of what is going on and determine whether or not your dog is actually happy.
Aggressive behavior – Anywhere from biting, growling, shoving, running, etc. If your dog happens to growl in a particular situation, a dead give-away that it is doing so out of fear is if its stance is with the head lower than the back.
Signs of Anxiety & Fear
Pulling their ears back
Licking their lips or nose
Whale eyeing (wide eyes showing the whites of their eyes)
Dogs have very keen senses, especially hearing and smell. While these gifts help them survive, they can also leave them vulnerable to developing fear associations. Additional causes of phobias in dogs include genetics, lack of proper socialization, and previous negative experiences. Phobias in dogs can be quite serious, leading to aggression, destructive behavior, and a decreased quality of life.
Each phobia has a profound effect on one or more of their senses. If your dog is suffering from a fear of any of these common stimuli, contact a veterinary behaviorist or a professional trainer. All dogs have their own personalities and their own phobias and as a pup parent, it is important to be able to recognize and help your fur baby be as comfortable as possible.
Fears and phobias are relatively common and can affect dogs of all ages and all breeds. But there is a difference between fear and phobia. Fear is a normal response to an actual or perceived threat or situation, while a phobia is an exaggerated fear response that can completely overwhelm a dog. Some dogs are predisposed to certain fears because of poor breeding or by experiencing an event that makes them fearful. Unless it is addressed early, the fear becomes all encompassing and turns into a life-altering phobia.
1. Thunderstorms Astraphobia, fear of thunder, is very common in dogs. There are a few reasons thunderstorms inspire terror in so many dogs. The most obvious is the noise. Dogs' hearing is two to three times more sensitive than our own. For them, the booms of a summer storm are far louder, far closer, and far more jarring. Recent studies have found that the loud cracking sound of thunder is just a small part of what makes storms one of the most common phobias in dogs. Thunderstorms also alter the atmosphere, releasing a large amount of static electricity into the air. Dogs experience this static as a tingling throughout their hair coat and may even receive multiple shocks before the storm lifts.
This is why many dogs flee to grounded areas of the home during thunderstorms. Basements, bathtubs and enclosed spaces tend to have less static electricity. Many veterinarians around the world agree that rubbing your dog's coat with a dryer sheet can be quite effective at minimizing static. However, they recommend doing this infrequently and using an unscented brand to reduce your dog's exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
2. Fireworks Much like thunderstorms, fireworks are one of the most common phobias in dogs. In fact, a 2013 study by the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences found them to be the number one trigger for fearful behavior. Not only are fireworks extremely loud, they also cause frightening odors and visual effects. In addition to the sensory component, some scientists feel there is a genetic aspect to noise phobias in dogs. A 2015 study conducted by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Oslo found a "marked correlation" between breeds and noise-sensitive fearfulness. If your dog suffers from noise phobias, you will be happy to learn that many pet professionals oppose the theory that comforting fearful dogs reinforces their fear.
3. Car Rides Aside from the fact that cars are big, loud, and move way too fast, they can also cause motion sickness in canine passengers. No wonder riding in cars is high on the list of common phobias in dogs! It can be difficult to tell the difference between car sickness and true vehicle anxiety so most experts recommend addressing both.
Desensitization training and anti-anxiety medications are helpful for fearful pups, but motion sickness is a bit more complicated. Protect your dog from nausea in the car by restraining him in a forward-facing carseat, seatbelt or crate. This prevents the dizzying effect of seeing objects whiz past in the wrong direction. It may also help to crack a window in order to equalize the air pressure inside the vehicle.
If you do not wish to medicate your dog, try withholding food for several hours before a drive. To help your dog conquer this fear, offer your pup treats while he is in the car. Start with shorter rides to get your dog accustomed to it. Put a comfy blanket down or bring their favorite toy so they are comfortable. Some dogs would even benefit from crating during car trips. Take them to fun places, instead of just to the vet or groomer. Make the whole experience a positive one.
4. Stairs There are four main reasons dogs may be fearful of stairs. One, a lack of exposure in their younger days has left them with a fear of the unknown. Two, they had a traumatic experience on or near a staircase. Three, they have been restricted from using the stairs in the past, causing a negative association to form. And finally, a medical condition like arthritis or hip dysplasia makes climbing stairs difficult or painful. Whatever the cause of this prevalent dog phobia, a combination of counter-conditioning, desensitization, and plenty of patience can help your pup overcome it.
5. The Vet In humans this phobia is sometimes referred to as "white coat syndrome." Feeling nervous when faced with poking, prodding and potentially scary medical news is normal for us, but this phobia in dogs is more about sensory overload. A veterinary office is full of new and frightening sights, sounds, smells and sensations. In addition to the volume of stimuli coming at them, our intuitive pups can sense the fear and pain of the other animals and perhaps even the grief of the human in the room next door.
If visits to the vet are a source of fear for your dog, try stopping by for non-medical visits. Plan ahead so the staff knows you are coming and ask them to love on your pup, play with him, and offer his favorite treats. A few of these "happy visits," will hopefully teach your dog that the vet staff are not out to get him! Music has a positive effect when played in environments or situations that a dog might find overwhelming such as in a car, boarding facility, shelter, day-care or at the veterinarian.
6. Being Left Alone (Anxiety) Several factors can trigger separation anxiety in dogs including abandonment, death of a previous owner, moving to a new home, or experiencing a drastic change in their schedule or lifestyle. There is also evidence that certain breeds have a genetic predisposition for this type of phobia. You will find that Collies and Shelties and even German Shepherds can be predisposed to suffering very much from fears and anxieties.
It is almost like they are wired in a different way. They are hyper-aware. That is not to say that every Border Collie will have separation anxiety or that non-herding breeds are happy when left alone. Separation anxiety and the destructive behaviors that accompany it can occur in any dog at any time. What matters is how you respond to it.
There are a couple ways you can help your dog with their separation anxiety. One way is to tire them out before you leave the house. Play fetch for 10 minutes or go on a quick walk so that they can knock out when you leave. Another thing you can do is leave the radio or TV on. Staying low key when you leave and return home can help as well.
Do not make it a big deal and your dog won't either. You can also hide your pooch's favorite treats all over the house so that they are totally distracted while you are gone. Music can also help promote relaxation when played at home or calm a dog that suffers from anxiety when left alone.
7. People Our pups are social animals so it is quite rare for them to be frightened of all humans unless they have been severely abused or neglected. However, the fear of specific humans is a prevalent phobia in dogs. While their reactions may seem arbitrary, there is usually a very distinct trigger they are responding to. They may get nervous around men with deep voices, boisterous children, women wearing too much perfume, or any other combination of factors.
For this reason, dog trainers and veterinary professionals recommend socializing your dog early and often. They suggest providing your dog with 100 positive exposures in the first 100 days they are with you. This includes all kinds of people, places and things. Like separation anxiety, nervousness around strangers can be an inherited trait, but research shows proper socialization can overcome genetics. Even adult rescue dogs can become well socialized with a bit of extra effort. Ask your vet if your puppy's immune system is developed enough before heading out in public.
8. Everything Around Desensitization is obviously called for, but desensitization to everything?! And how to expose her to new experiences when we live in on an isolated farm, and she can not be driven to the nearest town without adrenaline bursts when she sees things through the window? Fear is indisputably one of the most problematic issues that dog trainers and behaviorists encounter. Fear runs deep, and it is the main reason why many vets and most trainers now encourage owners to get their puppies out and about at an early age. As Dr. Ian Dunbar repeats at every opportunity, "Socialization, socialization, socialization."
9. Grooming While some dogs thoroughly enjoy a good bath and the way they feel after a haircut, others find grooming terrifying. Like many of the other phobias listed, the fear of grooming likely occurs when a dog is overwhelmed by sensory input. Grooming shops can be chaotic and are packed with the sights, sounds and smells of other excited/nervous dogs. In addition, pups that dislike water or are not comfortable with body handling may struggle during their bath and trim. Pinpointing your dog's individual triggers – separation anxiety, noisy equipment, spending time in a cage, etc. – and customizing your grooming appointment accordingly.
10. Unfamiliar Objects This category covers a broad range of phobias in dogs. From motorcycles to the dreaded vacuum cleaner, dogs often react fearfully to objects that make strange noises or move in ways they do not understand. Many dogs are terrified of umbrellas, balloons, ceiling fans – even animatronic fish! Typically, these phobias stem from a fear of the unknown. Lots of patience and careful exposure therapy helps dogs become a happy, well-adjusted pups!
11. Hats and Sunglasses Have you ever noticed that your dog gets a little weirded out every time you throw on a pair of shades or leave the house in your favorite baseball cap? It is because a lot of dogs have a huge phobia of "disguises." Strange, right? Well, not if you think about it. Dogs love seeing someone's face clearly because they are amazing people decoders. They may feel someone who is in "disguise" in hats, sunglasses, hoodies, even a Halloween costume, is not to be trusted.
If a puppy is not properly socialized with many different situations and people between 4 weeks to 4 months of age, they may easily develop this phobia as they get older. As the owner, you must explain to any person who wants to interact with your dog to take off their "disguise" so your dog can relax. You can also help your dog get over this phobia by wearing hats around them and giving them a ton of treats and love when they do not act up.
12. Vacuum Cleaners A lot of dogs develop a fear of different objects – the vacuum cleaner, garbage bags, a loud toy, etc. Usually, this is due to the noise, vibrations, or odd motion of that object. Remember, dogs have crazy intense senses. Slowly introduce them to the vacuum or any object they are afraid of, in a positive, happy manner. Give your pup a treat each time you vacuum the house and they will start to see it as a good thing instead of something to be feared.
13. Kids Another common and scary phobia is kids. Your furry friend may not be a fan of little boys and girls for a couple of reasons. They may have had a bad experience with a child. Another is a lack of early exposure to children. In other cases, a lot of dogs just simply do not like and do not trust kids for no reason at all.
You may want to crate your pet when they are around kids or put a basket muzzle on them as a safety precaution. This is also a phobia that would be better handled by a professional dog trainer or behaviorist because this can be a dangerous phobia. Sometimes it is better off to accept your dog is better in adults-only situations.
14. Strangers Dogs are pack animals. They want and need the protection of each other and their family to be happy and healthy. That said, while some dogs are perfectly happy accepting strangers around themselves and their home, other dogs become nervous around strangers. This can become frustrating for owners who are struggling with acclimatizing their pups to daily meet and greets of life.
The postman, as a very common example, is a daily occurrence that can create deep anxiety for dogs. Where we see a person doing their job, as part of our routine, your dog sees a threat of an unknown origin. Of course, their nervous behavior can be stressful for others - including the postie, leading to the dog picking up on our stress and becoming more stressed. How stressful!
15. Face Coverings On a similar note to the above, many dogs fear sunglasses and hats. Dogs are so attached to us humans that they naturally try to make eye contact and read our faces, in order to tell whether a person is hostile or friendly. When we cover up these emotions with face coverings, this makes dogs nervous. They can not tell if we sre a friend or foe, so they become anxious. This is especially true with strangers, as dogs have not grown accustomed to the smell of that particular human, so there is another method of recognition out the window!
16. Other Dogs The fear of dogs is another phobia often connected to a pet's level of exposure to social situations. A dog's first lessons in socialization come from its mother and littermates. Puppies separated from their birth families too soon miss out on vital interactions with their own kind at a crucial time in their development. Fear or aggression towards other dogs can also develop as the result of trauma. One bad interaction is often enough to taint all future encounters. Unfortunately, there is no set protocol for overcoming past trauma, but the tips in this post may help.
Fear of their own kind is one of the most difficult phobias in dogs because it is easily reinforced by well-meaning owners. Many pup parents become overly protective in situations that frighten their beloved dogs. They may tense up on the leash, yell, or scoop up their pooch when another dog approaches. Because this phobia can be quite complicated and potentially dangerous, consider seeking the help of a professional trainer. He or she can help rehabilitate your pup and slowly work up to positive interactions with other dogs.
17. Costume Drama (Halloween) Fear of men could happen if your dog has a traumatized past. Same goes for the costume drama. If he had limited exposure to costumes and different styles, Halloween might scare him literally. To treat this phobia, introduce your dog to the costume slowly and gradually. Or opt for a dog trainer.
18. Sounds (Noise Anxiety) Fear of certain sounds is pretty common among dogs, but most dogs recover quickly after their initial startle. Unfortunately, some dogs do not recover as quickly and become incredibly fearful of sounds. Sounds that can be scary to your dog may include: Fireworks, Thunder, Lightning crackles, Sirens, Loud booms, Screaming children, Smoke alarms, Loudly shut doors. Usually, dogs with a noise phobia have underlying anxiety issues, so these issues should be approached from many different directions.
Pairing good things with scary things works extremely well, but only if a dog is kept below threshold kept calm around the stimulus. Giving bits of super yummy food when a dog hears a sound, or playing a fun game while food sizzles in the background, will teach your dog that scary sounds make fun happen. Thanks to years of research, there is solid proof that specially-designed bioacoustic music has a calming effect on dogs that are exposed to it, which also calms fearful dogs in any situation, as well as dogs that have phobias to certain noises.
19. Fast Movement No one likes fast movements, not even humans, so it is understandable why this is a common dog fear. While fast moving objects are unsettling, it is even scarier when fast moving objects are moving toward you. Examples of fast moving objects include: Dogs, People, Bicycles, Joggers, Skateboarders, Loud trucks. Most dogs will ignore, or try to ignore, something moving in the background, but they become really stressed when these things move closer.
Most dogs learn that approaching people will try to touch them, a strange dog will try to sniff them or attack them, and bicycles will get too close during walks in the park. Eventually, dogs will start to bark at these fast moving objects to keep them away. Teaching dogs that fast moving objects are normal parts of the environment is key. When a dog looks at something moving past, click and treat as he is looking at it. She will learn that fast moving things make treats appear.
20. New Situations New situations can be super scary to dogs. People do not like them either. One place most dogs fear is the vet's office. Sitting and waiting in a vet's office can freak most dogs out. When bringing your dog into a new situation, be prepared. Before leaving, pack lots of super yummy treats, fill Kongs with peanut butter and teach your dog the "touch" cue. In the new environment, play "touch" with your dog and reward with yummy treats or a food stuffed Kong to enjoy. Pairing good things with stressful situations works.
21. Blood Injection / Needles Many people have blood injection phobias, commonly referred to as a fear of needles. Some dogs experience a similar phobia when visiting the veterinarian. Dogs do not understand that veterinary visits are in their best interest, and many of the circumstances around these visits, such as feeling sick, pain, car rides, new locations, strangers, and the presence of other stressed animals can compound this fear into a phobia.
22. Baby Crying Just as the cries of a new baby may make a new parent anxious, they often have the same effect on dogs. This can cause anxiety-related behaviors such as chewing, toileting accidents, and sometimes aggressive behavior. There are things you can do, however, to minimize the stress your dog feels when your baby cries.
23. Other Animals Similarly, dogs that are well socialized to other dogs may show fear toward other animals. Second, dogs are impressionable and through the effect of "one trial learning" may take one experience that was intense or traumatic and generalize it to many similar situations. This can occur, for example, with a bad experience with a small child which then makes the dog fearful of all small children, or a fight and subsequent injury from other dogs.
Sometimes a number of unpleasant events "paired" or associated with a person or animal can lead to increasing fear. For example, if a pet is punished - especially with a painful device such as a pinch or shock collar, when it is exposed to a person or other animal, it may begin to pair the stimulus - the person or other animal with the unpleasant consequence - punishment.
24. Lifts Using a lift can be a confusing experience for dogs. Some develop a fear of the confined space and odd motions. The best way to help your dog overcome this fear is through using desensitising techniques.
25. Puppies Puppies tend to be full of energy and very excitable, which can cause older dogs anxiety. Older dogs can sometimes feel threatened by puppies, but this is likely due to a lack of socialisation with other dogs previously.
26. Water If a dog is afraid of water, many experts believe that this is because they have a bad experience as a puppy, or when they were a younger dog. Another reason a dog may be scared of water is because they do not know what it is. Many dogs can eventually be taught to overcome their aversion to water, which is a good thing. Giving your dog the occasional bath helps support a healthy coat and swimming can be a great form of exercise - even for pets who struggle with pain, arthritis or injury.
It is important that a dog is introduced to water very gradually - as bad experiences can cause existing fears to intensify. Following strategies such as shallow wading and teaching a dog how to get in and out of the water are good starting points. Of course, like people, some dogs like water more than others - sometimes it is more down to personality and taste than a phobia.
27. Bathing Dogs can develop a fear or phobia of bathing as well. This may be due to a previously bad experience with water, or simply because they are unfamiliar with it. A good thing to do is start with shallow water and maybe even use treats as bait to get them in the water.
28. Wind Sensivity & Phobia One of these less common but prevalent fears is a fear of wind. This fear can pose a huge problem in Wahroonga because it can get quite windy here. And we are also a very green and leafy suburb, which means there are lots of trees, plants, flowers, wind chimes and other garden items being tossed about in high winds.
30. Confinement What may be taken as a fear of separation, might just be a fear of confinement. Dogs like to have their own little cozy spot to hang out and know it is their own. Something as simple as having several dog blankets and floor mats around your home can help your dog feel more comfortable while you are gone. Another thing that helps is leaving some interesting and engaging dog toys for your dog to play with while you are out and about. Put them away while you are home so they do not become bored of it.
31. Cats This type of phobia can happen if the dog haves bad past experience with cats - like fights or some other activity.
32. Yourself Was it something I said? My breath? If your adopted dog is afraid of you from day one, this is due to past negative experiences. With patience, you can gain your dog's confidence and trust. In general, your body language and stress level affect your dog, so much so that you might be accidentally scaring your dog if you have had a bad day.
A quick strategy? Take a breath, project calm confidence, and your dog might just relax, too. Spend time on the floor - as much on your dog's level as possible, so they do not feel dominated. Slow movements, gentle gestures, and lots of treats can be helpful. This may also be a time to consult a professional canine behaviorist or dog trainer specializing in anxious or reactive dogs. Take video and describe behaviors first.
10 EVERYDAY ITEMS DOGS ARE AFRAID OF This article is proudly presented by WWW.WORLDOFFANGUS.COM and Bianca Roy
When discussing fears, everyones opinions differ on what is rational and what is not. That said, to understand what dogs fear, you almost have to put yourself in the perspective of a small child. Some things, such as garbage trucks, with their scary sounds and enormous stature are totally understandable! While others, such as the ones you will read about below, while common amongst canines, may seem completely absurd to their owners. So without further ado, in no particular order, here are just 10 of the silliest items that are feared by our best friends.
1. Garbage Bags Have you ever pulled a garbage bag out of the cupboard and watched as your dog flew across the kitchen? When surveyed, one of the top items dog owners mentioned their pups were afraid of were black plastic bags. Whether it is the sound they make when you open them up, the shininess of the material that freaks them out, or the sheer size of the bag that could gobble them up, all we know is that this fear boarders on irrational.
2. Empty Water Bottles Though empty water bottles often make some of the best toys for dogs, they are not for everyone. Many toy companies have even taken to recycling water bottles to make brand new toys for purchase at pet stores which we think is fantastic! Their lightweight nature makes it easy for dogs to carry or throw them around, and the sound of the bottle crunching around drives them crazy. But for dogs who have an irrational fear of the water bottle, one crunch and it is over. They are sent running for the hills.
3. Balloons We know what you are asking yourselves. Are not balloons supposed to bring people joy? Well that is just it. They bring people joy, just not dogs. Balloons have a very distinctive sound both when they are rubbed together and when they are popped, that dogs everywhere seem to detest. And even if your dog has not experienced the gut-wrenching trauma of a balloon popping, their ability to just hang out there in the sky, bobbing back and forth is enough to creep anyone out!
4. Aluminum Foil Despite being one of the most useful inventions to ever grace the human species, aluminum foil is by far, one of the most hated household items by pets across the world. A combination of unique texture, thundering sound, and shine makes aluminum foil a triple-threat, forcing cats to jump 5 ft into the air, and dogs to tuck their tails between their legs for hours. True to its purpose however, it can also be useful in keeping pets off of the furniture you wish to keep hair-free.
5. Vacuum Cleaners One of the most known fears to a dog is the household terror, the ever evil; vacuum cleaner. It is been depicted in comics and television for years. Not only does this strange machine sound like pure nonsense, but dogs also hear it much more intensely than any human. A vacuum will also kick up smells that have been sitting in carpet for quite some time, and though these same smells are often the ones made by our dogs themselves, it is still nonetheless, very scary. Apparently.
6. Flags Though flags are much more of a target for skittish dogs, even the bravest of all canines can find themselves fearful from time to time. Their unpredictable sound and movement, combined with the swaying of ropes, the gigantic poles, and these 10 ft monsters are straight out of a horror movie. One loud boom and clap of a flag will often send shivers up even the most macho dogs spines.
7. Statues Statues, am I right? Even some humans are scared of them. Whether it is a statue of a person or an animal matters not. Dogs often fear statues due to the fact that they cannot understand between a face of solid stone or of flesh, and the more realistic the statue, the harder it is to differentiate. With eyes that follow you across the room, lifelike features such as hands that do not want to play fetch or a grizzly mouth full of teeth, it is no wonder our pooches try to put up a fight!
8. Ceiling Fans To a dog, a ceiling fan is a whirlwind of confusion. First of all, sometimes they move slow, sometimes fast, and sometimes they do not move at all! They are unpredictable, can only be controlled by humans, and do not listen when barked at. They also have this strange ability to shoot cold air at unsuspecting pups, and the worst ones have this dangly little chain with a ball at the end of it that our pups can not even chase, no matter how jingly they sound. You could really say that dogs are generally not a fan of... well, fans.
9. Guitars Not all dogs are scared of guitars, but most dogs are scared of at least one string instrument. Whether it is a banjo, a violin, a harp, or a ukulele, dogs are generally bewildered by their ability to make sound for some reason. Have you ever been playing a guitar and had a dog back away every time you strummed a chord? If you are looking for a partner to duet with you, we suggest looking elsewhere than your beloved pooch.
10. Skateboards They move at what appears to be lightening speed (for a dog) and make an extreme rushing sound. It is no surprise that dogs are scared of them! But if you want your walks to be pleasant around skateboards, bikes, or even strollers we suggest desensitizing your dogs to them in a relaxed setting. Anything with wheels will insight a natural chase instinct in your dog, so try sitting in a room with your pup and a stationary board first. It will beat having your arm ripped out of its socket, that is for sure!
BEST WAYS FOR YOUR DOG TO OVERCOME HIS FEARS This article is proudly presented by WWW.IHEARTDOGS.COM and Amber King
We may giggle at a dog who is cowering in the shadow of a harmless vacuum or feel powerless when our pup trembles at the sight of another dog, but it is up to you to help your dog overcome their fear. Regardless of what they are afraid of, their feelings should always be taken seriously. It could be silly and unfounded or the result of a traumatic experience, but fear keeps your pet from living a happy and fulfilled life. As their owner, caregiver, and protector, you can take steps to help your dog feel confident and safe. These training techniques give you somewhere to start.
Fear is a complicated emotion, and the solution is not always simple. The longer it is left untreated, the worse your dog's fear will become. Dogs express fear in a number of ways, and whether your pooch chooses to cower or lash out, being afraid is an obstacle preventing them from living their best life. It is your job to take their feelings seriously and do everything you can to help.
Living with a fearful dog can be stressful and frustrating. Treating phobias takes patience, time, and consistency. This can feel impossible, especially when excessive barking angers neighbors and landlords. Perhaps the most stressful component is the risk of an accidental dog bite from a fearful dog or a dog that may jump or run through a window or into the street.
Luckily, there are steps pet owners can take to help their dogs deal with phobias, beginning with a visit to their veterinarian as soon as possible. Phobias may worsen with time, and they rarely resolve on their own. In some cases, they can even lead to new phobias, so the sooner you take action the better.
Veterinarians and board-certified veterinary behaviorists recommend behavior modification techniques as a first line of defense. These techniques, such as desensitization, help dogs manage their fearful behavior. There are medications available to relieve distress, however, most drug therapies work best in conjunction with behavior modification and are not an instant cure.
If your dog has a phobia to anything – including fear of certain sounds in the environment such as street noises, sirens, babies crying, children playing, fireworks, or thunderstorms – he is feeling a very real emotion and care must be taken when creating a treatment plan. Be very patient, go slowly, and never force your dog into situations that overwhelm him.
1. Positive Reinforcement Positive reinforcement is used to teach basic obedience like "sit" and "stay", and you can also use it to help your pup face their fears. Expose your dog to what he feels threatened by in a controlled environment. Reward confidence with a treat, toy, or praise until the message sinks in. Never punish him for his fear, but do not reward him for it either. As long as they are not endangering themselves or anyone else, it is best to ignore unwanted behavior.
2. Desensitization Try gradually exposing your dog to whatever they are afraid of to help them feel more in control. If they are afraid of other dogs, start by placing them somewhere where they can hear and smell the dog but can not see it. From there, move to an area where they can see the dog, but there is still distance between them. As your dog shows confidence, start bringing them closer. Keep it slow, and remember you may need to take a few steps backward before you can move forward toward your ultimate goal of direct contact with no fear.
3. Habitual Behavior For many dogs, new is scary. They have never seen a vacuum before, and therefore, it is a threat. Or they do not spend time with other dogs very often, and sudden interaction makes them nervous and afraid. In these cases, it is possible for your dog to work past their fear with regular exposure. If your dog is afraid of the vacuum, try vacuuming more often and see if the situation improves. If they show signs of building confidence, stage frequent opportunities for them to work through the fear on their own. The more they interact with the trigger and come out unharmed, the more confident they will be.
4. Adjust Your Behavior Dogs are extremely sensitive to what those around them are feeling. If you are happy, they are happy, but if you are anxious, so are they. Being aware of your dog's fear is important, but you could be feeding their phobia without realizing it. If you find yourself in a situation you know your dog won't like, do everything you can to stay calm. Scooping him up to prevent a fearful reaction or acting generally unnerved will only make your dog feel worse and strengthen his belief that he should be afraid. If you are calm and confident, your dog will follow your lead.
5. Talk to a Professional No one can read your dog's mind, but professional trainers and canine behaviorists are especially experienced in understanding the enigma that is the canine brain. A trainer will evaluate your dog's behavior to find the root cause of the fear. They will work with you to come up with an action-based plan, and they will support both you and your dog as you work through issues.
6. Successful Training Ask your vet for some local, recommended dog training schools. This is great for pups and old dogs alike and it teaches them to socialize with other dogs and humans - all under the watchful eye of a trained professional, who will also be happy to give you some tips!
7. CBD Oil for Dogs As one of the newest entries on the market - despite a few thousand years of use, CBD oil has been a huge hit with owners, as well as for the humans, themselves. Despite some bias towards its origins, CBD oil has been shown to reduce anxiety in dogs, meaning that destructive behavior and fearful behavior is significantly reduced. There are many different ways to administer CBD - be it treats or tinctures. Speak to your vet about the best way to introduce CBD to your dog. It is extremely important that any CBD oil bought for your dogs' consumption does NOT contain THC. THC is what causes the "high" feeling in marijuana, something you definitely do not want your dog to feel!
8. Calming Aid Supplements Using traditional methods such as adding supplements that have added ingredients to your dog's diet can have a huge effect on your dog's wellbeing. Dog Food Insider recommends looking out for supplements that contain chamomile, passion flower, ginger root, and valerian. These are all-natural ingredients that create calming effects and help to reduce anxiety levels in your dog.
9. Dog Bed Having a specific dog bed helps your puppy pal to create a "safe space" that allows them to feel comforted and relaxed. Ideally, your dog's bed should be somewhere relatively warm, and close to the family, but not in the middle of all the action. For example, if your family spends a lot of time in the kitchen, it might be worth popping your dog bed under the breakfast bar, or in the adjacent room. This way your dog can feel secure, with minimal interruptions, while still within earshot of his or her favorite people.
10. Dog Playpen Also commonly referred to as "crate training", this is essentially a larger space than a bed but still an enclosed area that allows your dog to feel secure. Particularly favored by dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, the practice of popping your pup in the playpen is far from cruel. Despite our natural instinct being to allow our best friends free reign of the house, it can sometimes be majorly beneficial for your dog to be crate trained. A lot of vets recommend playpens for the simple reason that we can ensure our pups are safe and happy without holding our attention 100% of the time. Essentially, it stops an anxious dog from harming themselves and allows them to feel safe in the same way as having a dog bed does.
11. Behavior Modification Behavior modification encompasses dog behavior and owner behavior, too. Owners often contribute unintentionally to their dog's phobias, reinforcing undesirable behaviors or even instigating them. Retraining yourself and your dog to new behavior patterns takes time and patience, and is best done with the help of a veterinarian or veterinary specialist. Some dogs even learn to anticipate a stressful situation when they hear words like "it is okay," as they have come to associate those words with a stressful event, like going to the veterinarian. Basic obedience training builds confidence in fearful dogs. It is also a useful tool for redirecting undesirable behavior, like asking a dog to sit, stay, or touch during a potentially triggering situation.
Planning ahead is an essential part of behavior modification. Most phobias are predictable, which means you can treat them as a training opportunity. The Fourth of July, for instance, is the same day every year and should not come as a surprise. Owners of dogs with a fear of thunderstorms should check the weather forecast during warmer months, and dogs with a fear of other animals may be exposed to their fear every time they go for a walk.
12. Dog Massage Massage can help promote relaxation and lower stress levels.
13. Scents & Fermones Certain scents and pheromones can calm fearful dogs.
14. Clicker Training Clicker training is a great way to train your dog with precision. You can do the steps above without a clicker. That said, with some skill and practice, clicker training will make learning faster. You can buy a clicker for just a few dollars online or at most pet stores. Sit in a quiet space with your dog. Start by clicking the clicker and then giving your dog a treat. Repeat this at least 15 times. Your dog should start to look for a treat when he hears the sound of the click. Pick an easy behavior to work on next. Choose something like looking at you or sitting down.
Click and give your dog a treat every time he does this. Use the clicker to help with the plan above by clicking every time your dog notices his trigger. Then give him a treat. This will help the dog link the trigger with a click, which is linked to a treat. You have to give your dog a treat every single time you click. Using a clicker is nice for this reason - it is a unique sound that always means a treat is coming. This makes it a precise way to speed up training.
15. Thunder Jacket A thunder jacket is a tightly fitting jacket that applies pressure to your dog's body. The continuous pressure is believed to calm an anxious dog's nerves.
16. Calming Music Play Calming Music – Music can be extremely effective in calming your anxious dog. While you can simply turn on Pandora and play soothing music, there are playlists specifically designed for calming dog anxiety. For example, the company iCalmPet offers a selection of pet-calming tunes.
These tips will come handy to help you deal with your pampered pooch's fear periods. However, they also work for dogs who are fearful in general. While they are effective, keep in mind that your dog's tendency for being fearful may be the work of genetics rather than a temporary problem resulting from a fear stage.
While behaviorists have studied fear periods for some time, it is important to keep in mind that they may not occur within that exact time frame for each puppy. If your dog is going through a fear period, keep in mind that it is not the end of the world. With guidance, desensitization, and counter conditioning, your puppy or dog should recover nicely with time. Following are some tips to help your puppy or dog get through these frightening fear periods:
Remain as Calm as Possible! You can lie to your boss, but when it comes to dogs, they are masters in reading our emotions and body language. If you are overly concerned or just a bit tense about your dog acting fearfully or defensively, rest assure your dog will perceive it. Do not put tension on the leash, get tense, or talk to you in a worried manner. Stay relaxed and loose.
Pretend It is No Big Deal Your dog feeds on your emotions. Just as a mother dog would take her pups out from the den and guide the puppies through threatening and non-threatening situations, manifest to your dog that the stimuli he fears are not a big deal. Some find that saying in a casual tone "It is just a toddler, silly boy!" helps the dog understand it is not a big deal.
What to do if your dog panics? Panic attacks are a symptom of anxiety disorders which usually occur suddenly and without warning. There are no specific triggers so it is quite unpredictable. A dog panic attack normally lasts about 30 minutes. During this time, the dog is not approachable. All you can do is try to be near him or her and make sure that no one gets hurt by their fearful, and potentially aggressive, behavior.
If you touch a dog during a panic attack, he may snap and bite. Similarly with humans; if a person is drowning, he or she may react by attacking the lifeguard. A leash is a good way to protect your dog so that he or she feels close and secure with you. In case a fearful dog manages to break free, a GPS tracking device for your dog can be a lifesaver.
Counter-Condition If your dog acts fearfully towards certain stimuli, you can try to change your dog's emotional response by using treats or anything the dog finds rewarding. The moment your dog sees the threatening stimulus give treats, the moment the threatening stimulus disappears, take the treats away. The same can be done with sounds the dog finds startling, make the sound become a cue that a tasty treat is coming. What if your dog won't take treats? Most likely, the stimulus is too scary, and the dog is over threshold.
Do not Overwhelm, Desensitize! Work, under the threshold from a distance your dog or puppy does not react fearfully and is able to take treats. If you overwhelm and flood your puppy, you risk sensitizing your puppy, which means you make him more fearful. Do not force your puppy to interact with the feared stimulus - rather allow him to investigate whatever he fears on his own and remember to praise or reward any initiative your puppy or dog takes!
Socialize, Socialize, Socialize! Fear periods are part of a dog's developmental stages. The more your dog is exposed to stimuli and learns there is nothing to be scared about, the more confident he will be in the future when he will encounter anything intimidating. While the window of opportunity for the puppy socialization phase closes at around 14 to 16 weeks, socialization opportunities should virtually never end.
Do not Punish the Fear Last but not least, avoid punishing the fear. It appears that the majority of dog aggressive displays are due to fear - therefore, by punishing the behavior, you will be only exacerbating the fear. Ignore the fear and let your dog build confidence by letting him investigate things on his own when he is ready and praising for the effort. Use force-free behavior modification such as desensitization and counterconditioning.
Remove the trigger It sounds obvious, but it is probably the most important thing you can do - as much as possible, you need to remove your dog's trigger, the thing they are fearful of. This can be more or less difficult depending on the type of fear your dog experiences. For example, if your dog is afraid of the vacuum cleaner, keep them secured in another room while you vacuum. If your dog is afraid of strangers, try your best to reduce encounters with strangers. This can be achieved by not inviting people round the house too often and walking your dog in less frequented places. You will be able to work on reintroducing the trigger calmly at a later date with the support of a qualified dog behaviourist.
Avoid comforting your dog too much! Comforting your dog when they display fearful behaviour can encourage that behaviour, leading them to display the response again in the future to get your attention. If this happens, just ignore it and distract them from their trigger with food, play or training if they are receptive. If you are struggling to distract them from their trigger do your best to safely remove them from the situation. Remember, never punish your dog for fearful behaviour, even if it manifests as aggression. It is also important not to share in your dog's fear. This is especially important if your dog fears other dogs or strangers. Instead of panicking, remain calm, ignore their behaviour and distract them with treats or play.
Establish a close bond Your bond with your dog is always important, but especially so if your dog has fears or anxiety. When you establish a strong bond with your dog, they will become more confident and be more focused on you than the trigger for their fear. One of the best ways to establish a close bond with your pooch is through regular, consistent training and play. Try your best to dedicate time every day to your dog's training, and use fun play sessions as a great reward after you have finished. Do not forget, training is not just about show-off tricks – use training sessions to teach your dog when to be calm and lie on their bed, when to let a groomer or vet touch them to check their paws, teeth, eyes and ears, and much more.
Control exposure to your dog's trigger Once your dog has built confidence with you, it is time to expose them to their trigger in a controlled environment. This is always best done with a qualified dog trainer, to avoid making the problem worse. Arm yourself with a bag of their favourite treats or an enticing toy and start with a very small exposure to their trigger. For example, if your dog is afraid of the vacuum cleaner, you could introduce the vacuum, turned off at first and reward them when they are able to behave calmly around it. Progress to moving the vacuum around, still off and then finally turning the vacuum on. Take it slowly and repeat daily in short bursts so your dog understands that the vacuum poses no threat.
If they are afraid of strangers or other dogs, you will need to go really slow. and is almost always best done with a qualified, experience dog trainer. Start by introducing your dog to their trigger by smell alone at first - such as another the smell of another dog on a sheet, treating calm behaviour. This can be followed by seeing their trigger with a barrier in between for safety, again treating calm behaviour. Do not progress onto the next step until your dog is consistently demonstrating that they are comfortable and non-confrontational around their particular trigger.
FEAR OF THUNDERSTORM: CLEVER TIPS TO HELP YOUR DOG This article is proudly presented by WWW.HSHV.COM
It is not uncommon for dogs to be frightened of thunder, firecrackers or other loud sounds. These types of fears may develop even though your dog has had no traumatic experiences associated with the sound. Many fear-related problems can be successfully resolved. However, if left untreated, your dog's fearful behavior will probably get worse. The most common behavior problems associated with fear of loud noises are destruction and escaping. When your dog becomes frightened, she tries to reduce his fear. She may try to escape to a place where the sounds of thunder or firecrackers are less intense.
If, by leaving the yard or going into a certain room or area of the house, she feels less afraid, then the escape or destructive behavior is reinforced because it successfully lessens his fear. For some dogs, just the activity or physical exertion associated with one of these behaviors may be an outlet for their anxiety. Unfortunately, escape or destructive behavior can be a problem for you and could also result in physical injury to your dog.
Things that are present in the environment whenever your dog ears the startling noise can, from his viewpoint, become associated with the frightening sound. Over a period of time, she may become afraid of other things in the environment that she associates with the noise that frightens him. For example, dogs that are afraid of thunder may later become afraid of the wind, dark clouds and flashes of light that often precede the sound of thunder. Dogs that are afraid of firecrackers may become afraid of the children who have the firecrackers or may become afraid to go in the backyard, if that is where they usually hear the noise. What You Can Do To Help?
Create A Safe Place Try to create a safe place for your dog to go to when she hears the noises that frighten him. But remember, this must be a safe location from his perspective, not yours. Notice where she goes, or tries to go, when he is frightened, and if at all possible, give him access to that place. If he is trying to get inside the house, consider installing a dog door. If he is trying to get under your bed, give him access to your bedroom. You can also create a "hidey-hole" that is dark, small and shielded from the frightening sound as much as possible - a fan or radio playing will help block out the sound.
Encourage him to go there when you are home and the thunder or other noise occurs. Feed him in that location and associate other "good things" happening to him there. She must be able to come and go from this location freely. Confining him in the "hidey-hole" when she does not want to be there will only cause more problems. The "safe place" approach may work with some dogs, but not all. Some dogs are motivated to move and be active when frightened and "hiding out" won't help them feel less fearful.
Distract Your Dog This method works best when your dog is just beginning to get anxious. Encourage him to engage in any activity that captures his attention and distracts him from behaving fearfully. Start when she first alerts you to the noise and is not yet showing a lot of fearful behavior, but is only watchful. Immediately try to interest him in doing something that she really enjoys. Get out the tennis ball and play fetch in an escape-proof area, or practice some commands that she knows.
Give him a lot of praise and treats for paying attention to the game or the commands. As the storm or the noise builds, you may not be able to keep him attention on the activity, but it might delay the start of the fearful behavior for longer and longer each time you do it. If you can not keep his attention and she begins acting afraid, stop the process. If you continue, you may inadvertently reinforce his fearful behavior.
Behavior Modification Behavior modification techniques are often successful in reducing fears and phobias. The appropriate techniques are called "counterconditioning" and "desensitization." This means to condition or teach your dog to respond in non-fearful ways to sounds and other stimuli that previously frightened him. This must be done very gradually. Begin by exposing him to an intensity level of noise that does not frighten her and pair it with something pleasant, like a treat or a fun game. Gradually increase the volume as you continue to offer him something pleasant. Through this process, he will come to associate "good things" with the previously feared sound.
If these techniques are not used correctly, they won't be successful and can even make the problem worse. For some fears, it can be difficult to recreate the fear stimulus. For example, thunder is accompanied by changes in barometric pressure, lightening and rain, and your dog's fearful response may be to the combination of these things and not just the thunder. You may need professional assistance to create and implement this kind of behavior modification program.
Consult Your Veterinarian Medication may be available which can make your dog less anxious for short time periods. Your veterinarian is the only person who is licensed and qualified to prescribe medication for your dog. Do not attempt to give your dog any over-the-counter or prescription medication without consulting your veterinarian. Animals do not respond to drugs the same way people do, and a medication that may be safe for humans could be fatal to your dog. Drug therapy, alone, won't reduce fears and phobias permanently, but in extreme cases, behavior modification and medication used together might be the best approach.
While storms can cause dogs to wreak havoc on your home and themselves, there are several pet relaxation techniques you can use to lessen their anxiety and increase their comfort level. If you have a dog who suffered with storm phobia, what did you do to make her more comfortable?
Be Home With Your Dog For a dog who already fears thunderstorms, being alone will only worsen the anxiety. If bad weather is in the forecast, try to be home or have someone stay with your dog during the storm.
Create Calmness Give your dog the comfort and attention she needs to calm her anxiety. An anxious dog is unable to learn due to being overly stimulated and emotional, which means comforting is not rewarding the fear. Try a calming massage to help your dog relax during the storm.
Provide Distractions If a dog is punished or ignored during a frightening event, it is likely to worsen the anxiety. Instead, offer a positive stimulus, such as gentle petting, to distract and calm your dog. If your dog will still engage, try a game of indoor fetch, tug, or offer a high-value chew.
Offer a Safe Place Place your dog's crate or bed in the most sound-proof room of your home. A crate is a natural, psychological defense for dogs and can have an incredible influence on their comfort level. It’s also helpful to close the blinds to shelter your dog from the visual stimulation of a storm.
Compete With Noise When a completely sound-proof room does not exist, compete with the noise by utilizing a radio or white noise machine. Dog-calming music can also be helpful for the highly nervous dog to muffle the sound of the storm.
Calming Remedies For mild to moderate cases of storm anxiety, natural therapies can be highly effective. A thunder jacket replicates swaddling and may sooth your dog into a calmer state. Bach flower extracts - diffusing lavender oil, and dog pheromones can promote relaxation.
Practice Desensitization Try to desensitize your dog to the sound of storms by utilizing a thunderstorm sound CD. Start by playing the CD at a very low volume while offering your dog plenty of high-value treats and positive interaction. By slowly increasing the volume over several weeks, desensitization will lessen or completely eliminate anxiety during storms.
Visit Your Veterinarian For the highly-anxious dog who does not respond to the above methods, a visit to the veterinarian to discuss medication may be the solution. However, medication should be a last resort when desensitization efforts fail.
Anxiety and fearful behavior are common in canine patients, and often manifest as storm and noise phobias. Depending on presentation, treatment can be straightforward or complex and challenging. The most common examples of noise fear or phobia are thunder and fireworks - an estimated 49% of dogs show a significant fear response to firework noise. More subtle examples include noise from dishwashers, ceiling fans, plastic garbage bags, and home alarms.
Dogs diagnosed with storm phobia can react with anxiety or fear to wind, rain, thunder, lightning, and other associated stimuli, including barometric pressure changes, the "smell of rain," static electricity, and even time of day. One study demonstrated a 207% increase in salivary cortisol levels after exposure to simulated sounds of a thunderstorm. Given the complex nature of storm phobia, however, treatment is challenging and requires intensive follow-up in some dogs. The dog may be responding to impossible to control stimuli, such as changes in barometric pressure, ionization, and lightning, making desensitization difficult.
TREATMENT OF STORM PHOBIA Depending on presentation, treatment of storm phobia may be straightforward. Such solutions include:
Bringing the dog indoors during the storm
Providing background noise (television, radio, fan, or white noise)
Offering a safe place, such as a bathtub, laundry basket, or open closet
If possible, having the owner present.
Treatment of noise phobic dogs is usually a fairly straightforward procedure but does require patience and understanding. It is also a gradual process and is likely to take some weeks or months. This is not a procedure to start on 1st November! The easiest way of effectively desensitising a dog is to use one of the widely available CLIX Noise & Sounds CDs. Start by playing the CD at a low level - you may not be able to hear it at all, whilst the dog is relaxed or engaged in some enjoyable activity. If the dog reacts negatively to the CD, you are playing it too loudly.
Repeat the playing of the CD as frequently as possible - remember the dog needs to perceive this noise as completely normal and commonplace. Gradually start to increase the volume as the dog's tolerance improves. If at any time he shows a negative reaction, go back to the previous acceptable level. Play the CD in as many locations as possible - different rooms, the car, friend's houses or with the use of a portable system on walks. By putting speakers outside of the window, it is possible to go some way towards recreating the effect of real situations, rather than from a predictable source.
It may take several weeks or even months before the dog is completely tolerant of the CD. Consider the quality of the equipment that you are playing the CD on, the better the quality of the CD player, the more realistic and thus more effective the desensitisation process will be.
Classical Conditioning The use of classical conditioning can be extremely effective when dealing with noise phobic pets. Rather than using verbal cues or "commands" to reach the dog's conscious mind, we "associate" pleasant, happy times - which for dogs may be high-value food treats, toys or simply attention, to create a positive emotional response to that particular situation.
Whilst using the CD, try to time the increase in volume with meal or walk times or the arrival home of a family member. Games can be a great way to create a positive association with unusual sounds - bang a ball against walls/doors during playtime - similarly, build towers from plant pots, empty drink tins and tea trays, etc., and crash a ball into them during games. As the dog's tolerance increases, increase the level of noise.
Give the dog a "safe" place to escape to if he is feeling worried. A crate is perfect and draping a blanket over the crate may help him to feel more secure. No one should attempt to force the dog out of his crate - if he chooses to go there, he should be left alone. Similarly, allowing the dog access to an area of the house which is deemed to be "high value" can be beneficial and allow him to gain comfort as well as retreat. Owners' bedrooms often fit this category. Often owners of noise phobic dogs unwittingly fuel their dog's nervous behaviour by comforting or reassuring him. Dogs are unlikely to understand reassurance and are more likely to perceive this as approval of their nervous behaviour.
HOW TO OVERCOME CARS \ TRAFFIC DOG PHOBIA This article is proudly presented by WWW.SWIFTO.COM
It is normal and natural for dogs to fear the city's loud noises, like zooming cars and blaring horns in traffic. In the event that your dog must travel via car or is passing traffic on a walk, its important fido feels safe and is not panicking. So, how can we calm our pups down? We must reinforce and create positive associations in order to reassure your dog that passing vehicles, loud noises, or even strangers won't inflict harm.
The common and classic fear of passing & loud vehicles is shared amongst most dogs. But hey, how can we blame them. An obnoxiously loud horn even catches us off guard sometimes, which is no coincidence why our dogs may negatively react as well. If we show hesitation or signs of fear in the event of a truck passing or after a horn is honked, our dogs will pick up on this anxious energy and create associations with cars. So, it is important to remain calm in these situations in order for your dog to learn the innocuous nature of vehicles. Another way to help your easily scared pup is to avoid flooding. Flooding is a technique used in behavior therapy that fully immerses and exposes an individual (or canine) in their fear.
For example, forcing your dog to fully confront his fear of traffic would be traumatizing and extremely disadvantageous. This technique would most likely instill a greater sense of fear in him. Instead, try using a cheerful and playful tone when crossing the street or passing traffic. Positively reinforce your dog after he has calmed down and shows signs of improvement. Do not negatively reinforce or scold your dog for being scared, as this will only intensify the fear. Slowly and gradually immersing your dog is the most beneficial way to ease his fears. For example, start at home by opening your windows.
Fido will hear the sounds of traffic and pedestrians outside. By doing this during feeding or play time, he will begin to associate the stimuli with positive experiences, which will slowly diminish his fear. Another good idea is to expose your dog to people, cars, and everyday life at distance. Once a day, take your dog on a walk or to a part of your backyard that is far enough for your dog to tolerate yet close enough to hear and see. It is the small victories that count so reward your pup with treats each time a car passes and he remains calm. Increase exposure time after each session in order to improve your dog's progress, but you should wait until he shows no signs of fear or anxiety before moving forward.
It is important to know your dog's first signs of fear and how to relax him. You must know what triggers your dog and when first signs of anxiety manifest in order to properly train him. Fear displays itself in many different ways but the most common signs are shaking or trembling, panting, barking, whining, and drooling. If you see these signs, it is important to be patient and wait until calmness has been restored. Chauffeur your dog around the town to dog parks or exciting places associated with pleasure. Eventually, fido will adjust and look forward to the great outdoors. Looking to book a dog walk?
One of the hard things about our relationships with dogs is that when something is up, they can not easily communicate that to us. That's why, with issues such as anxiety, we need to be aware of the signs so we can help our doggie. If you think your dog might be anxious, there are recognisable symptoms and treatments available to ease their and your worry. But before that, let's take a look at Dog's Separation Anxiety types:
Types of Anxiety in Dogs
Separation Anxiety Separation anxiety, when your dog doesn't like to be separated from you, is the most common form of anxiety. Dogs often associate everything they value in their life: company, play, food, going for walks with when people are around. When they are left alone, it's likely they have none of that good stuff. And if they haven't learnt to be cool with their own company, that's when they can experience separation anxiety. Dogs need to learn to cope with being away from their humans, and the best time for that to happen is when they are young.
Fear of Loud Noises Things like thunderstorms and fireworks can trigger anxiety in dogs. Dogs are naturally fearful of those events because they are loud and scary, so they learn to associate the lower level noise of wind or rain with those events. For that reason, dogs often become anxious even if they sense a storm might be coming.
Changes in Environment & Resource Guarding Less common forms of anxiety can involve changes in environment, such as going to the vet, in the car or moving house. Even things like changes to work hours, the owners travelling - any sudden change to normal routine can prompt anxiety. Resource guarding displays of aggressive behaviour designed to scare other dogs or people off. It can also be an issue if a dog is anxious about a valued item being taken away.
It's important not to dismiss behaviours that we sometimes consider normal!
28 Symptoms of Dog's Separation Anxiety
1. Non-Stop Barking It's fine if your dog barks at something they see outside, or if they react when they hear a suspicious noise. But if yours is barking for no reason, and can't be soothed, it very well may be a sign of anxiety.
2. Howling when owner isn't home This symptom is pretty common. Dog in Anxiety being scared and trying to call for his owner with this howl.
3. Panting and Pacing - even when it's not hot! If your dog paces around the house, they may just be bored. But it can also be a sign of anxiety. We have all caught ourselves pacing when anxious, and dogs do it, too. Some pacing dogs move around in circular patterns, while others walk back and forth in straight lines.
4. Pacing, Shivering, Shaking & Panting Dogs that shake or pant, or act generally nervous may be experiencing anxiety. While panting after exercise is normal, panting during a loud fireworks display is likely not.
5. Running Away and / or Cowering in the Corner of a House Just like a human - when the panic takes control over your dog, he tries to escape it by any ways he can.
6. Digging Same as with previos symptom, Dogs wish to hide themselfs.
7. Escaping the Yard Escaping behaviors are not only a sign of anxiety, but are also dangerous for your dog. You obviously don't want them bolting for the door, or running down the street. So do what you can to ease their anxiety, while also keeping them safe.
8. Destroying Furniture A common symptom of anxiety is destruction of furniture or other objects that they normally do not chew or shred.
9. Self-harm, including Excessive Licking or Chewing Chewing on objects, door frames, or window sills. Digging at doors or doorways or destroying household objects when left alone, are all signs of anxiety. This is your dog's way of getting nervous energy out of her system.
10. Not Eating Anxious Dog's Appetite has been reduced dramatically.
11. Urinating more Frequently When a dog is anxious, they tend to leave trails of pee as they walk. Urine dribbling or defection happens during the fight-or-flight response. Dog's body - just like humans, produces a sympathetic nervous system response, which increases adrenaline, and allows them to get out of there. A by-product of this is relaxing of the bladder and anal sphincter muscles, allowing waste to release.
12. A General Inability to Settle Anxious dogs sometimes display a surge of energy and appear hyperactive.
13. Lip Licking Anxious dogs may compulsively lick or chew at their fur or lips.
14. Chuffing If you ever catch your dog exhaling sharply, or expelling a bit of air along with a small bark, take note. This behavior is known as "chuffing" and it's a form of stress relief.
15. Tail Thumping We humans tend to think of all tail wagging or thumping as a sign of happiness, but no. Tail thumping and a submissive grin together are a classic sign of anxiety and unhappiness in the canine world. Compared to the happy tail wag dogs have when you come home from work, for example, tail thumping can be slower and a bit more "sheepish." When that's the case, it may help to bond with your dog to help them feel more at ease, while also making your house more comfortable.
16. Yawning While it may seem like they are just being cute and sleepy, if your dog is yawning constantly, it may be due to stress. Yawning is a very subtle and non-specific sign of anxiety that is often missed.
17. Shaking & Trembling Some symptoms are easier to spot, as is often the case with shaking and trembling, which is a sign of moderate to severe anxiety. Your dog may also appear visibly worried or concerned. If your pup looks freaked out, that's because they are. Wide eyes, furrowed brow and expressive ears are other signs of anxiety.
18. Hiding Dogs who are anxious will attempt to avoid situations, things, and people that scare them. This may look like leaving the room, pulling away on leash, hiding behind their owner's legs, and so on.
19. Scratching & Drooling Pacing, drooling, constant yawning, lip licking, scratching, and general body tension can all be signs of anxiety. These are collectively known as "calming signals." They are also normal behaviors, but are potential signs of anxiety when they are out of context. If your dog is yawning or scratching when you are out in public, for example, it may mean they are feeling uncomfortable.
20. Seeking Comfort Other anxious dogs will have the opposite reaction, and seek more attention or affection. They may jump in their pet parent's lap or require more attention.
21. Aggression Anxious dogs may become suddenly aggressive, even to their pet parent. Anxious dogs may suddenly snap, growl, or show signs of aggression.
22. Excretion House-trained dogs may suddenly defecate indoors when they are under duress.
23. Panic Attacks Dogs that experience any number of these symptoms may start to have panic attacks. Panic attacks can last from minutes to hours, and can involve any number of the above symptoms.
24. Showing Whites of the Eyes Stressed dogs, like stressed people, may have dilated pupils and blink rapidly. They may open their eyes really wide and show more sclera white than usual, giving them a startled appearance. Ears that are usually relaxed or alert are pinned back against the head.
25. Avoidance & Looking Away When faced with an unwelcome situation, dogs may "escape" by focusing on something else. They may sniff the ground, lick their genitals, or simply turn away. Ignoring someone may not be polite, but it's surely better than being aggressive. If your dog avoids interaction with other dogs or people, do not force the issue. Respect his choice.
26. Changes in Body Posture Dogs normally bear even weight on all four legs. If a healthy dog with no orthopedic problems shifts his weight to his rear legs or cowers, he may be exhibiting stress. When scared, dogs may also tuck their tails or become quite rigid.
27. Shedding Show dogs that become nervous in the show ring often "blow their coat". Dogs also shed a lot when in the veterinary clinic. Although less noticeable in outside settings, such as visiting a new dog park, shedding increases when a dog is anxious.
28. Changes in Bodily Functions Like people, nervous dogs can feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. When your dog urinates shortly after meeting a new canine friend, he may be marking territory and reacting to the strain simultaneously. Refusal of food and loss of bowel function are also stress indicators.
1. First, know your dog's fear triggers. If your pet fears strangers, then walk somewhere that is private or without a lot of traffic or people. If they fear other animals, avoid busy parks or dog parks.
2. Keep your pet close to you, crossing the street if people or animals that would trigger anxiety start to approach.
3. If you can not avoid passing people or other pets, you can give them a wide berth when passing.
4. Routine is comforting to dogs. Choose a route that avoids their triggers as much as possible, then walk the same route every time.
5. Keep walks brief at first. Until your dog feels more comfortable, do not overstress him.
6. Treats are a great distraction, so buy some small treats for positive reinforcement. Choose something that your dog loves since fear can reduce interest in eating.
7. Choose lickable food like peanut butter in a tube or cream cheese since licking is soothing to dogs. The idea is to associate positive, happy feelings about eating a favorite food with walking, and it helps as a distraction.
8. Make sure they are on a sturdy leash or harness, with current identification tags and make sure your dog is microchipped. Some anxious dogs will try to slip their leash.
9. If possible, exercise your dog at home before you go, so they are a little tired when outside. This can help take the edge off of their anxiety.
10. Unless your dog is anxious around other dogs, invite your friends' dogs to go with you, since walking in a "pack" can help reduce your dog's fears.
11. You may want to try products like Thundershirt, flower essences like lavender or chamomile, Adaptil products, and Rescue Remedy which have calming properties.
12. Work with a professional trainer to learn techniques for a positive association with former fears or training a frightened dog to walk on a leash.
13. Work with an animal behaviorist to help your dog reduce anxiety and gain confidence.
Massage is a wonderful tool that will calm an anxious dog. When trying to massage a dog with anxiety, it is important to teach your dog that massage is harmless, and touch is actually relaxing. Breathe deep in through the nose, and slowly exhale out through the mouth.
Goal of Massaging a Dog With Anxiety Massage goals are different when massaging a dog with anxiety. Your main goal is to relax your anxious dog instead of releasing muscle tension or giving your dog an entire body massage. Relaxing massages teach a dog with anxiety that hands make good things happen. Remember to always use slow strokes to promote relaxation and to take deep breaths. It may seem odd, but dogs do respond when pet owners take deep breaths, and they will likely take one shortly after you do.
Introduce Touch First Most dogs with anxiety flinch or step away when someone reaches out to touch them. Anxious dogs are scared, and usually move away from fast movement, which includes hands reaching out to pet them. These dogs have learned that people will try to reach out and touch them even if they do not want to be touched. Think about it this way: If you are scared of spiders and one tries to reach out and touch you, that is scary!
It is important to teach your anxious dog that hands make good things happen. Instead of reaching out to your dog, play a game of "touch." The "touch" game teaches a dog to walk over and touch your hand. Choices are super rewarding for dogs, and "touch" gives dogs choices. If they want a treat, they can walk over and touch a person's hand. If not, that is OK too. Giving dogs with anxiety choices is paramount.
Now, slowly reach toward your dog, but do not touch her yet. As you extend your hand out 1-2 feet from your body, say "yes" and toss him a treat. Continue to practice, slowly increasing the distance between your hand and his body. Once your dog will stand still and actually walk toward your extended hand, it is time to touch him. Start with your fingertips first, and reward him as you are touching him. Say "yes" and give him super yummy treats. Continue practicing until he is comfortable with hands touching and petting him.
Start Where The Dog is Most Comfortable When sitting down in a chair or on the floor, your dog will likely walk over and present her head or butt for petting. This is the area he is most comfortable for a massage. Place both hands on the area and slowly move one hand a couple of inches up and slowly slide along his body. Your other hand should remain in the same spot. If your dog presents his face for petting, then start with slow hand slides along the side of his neck - move over ear, neck, shoulder. For your dog's behind, place your massage, moving, hand on your dog's side - where the ribs end, and on the side of the spine. Move your massage hand toward you - move over midsection, hind legs, rump.
Be Conscious of Your Hand Movement Keep strokes short, slow and gentle. Apply just enough pressure to move your dog's skin, but not muscle. When your dog is comfortable, take longer strokes. When stroking, place your entire hand on your dog with your palm touching him. Keep your fingers together, and stroke with your entire hand. Be conscious of your hand movement and refrain from pushing inward - you will see your dog's body move the opposite way. Take a deep breath in as you stroke him side, and exhale as you lift your massage hand up to continue another stroke. Breathing will create a constant rhythm, which is important for relaxation.
Let Your Dog End the Massage Allow your dog to decide when the massage is over. In the beginning, your anxious dog will walk away after a few seconds or minutes. Slowly, he will learn to enjoy massages and will stick around longer though. Now, if your dog becomes a massage junkie, end the massage once your dog has relaxed. Then, pat yourself on the back for teaching your dog with anxiety that massages are wonderful.
WHEN YOUR DOG IS AFRAID OF OTHER DOGS This article is proudly presented by WWW.DOGINGTONPOST.COM and Lauretta of PawMaw
Dogs are naturally social, with a tendency to be drawn to others. Just as some humans suffer from shyness, some dogs are more timid than their counterparts. The good news is that even if your dog is afraid of other dogs, there are some steps you can take to promote confidence. It won't happen overnight but with time and patience, you can help your canine companion overcome fear.
Why is my dog afraid of other dogs? Understanding why some dogs are afraid of others is the first step in making positive changes. There are a few reasons why dogs fear one another. In many cases, dogs that have had limited exposure to others are fearful.
This type of fear has nothing to do with the behavior of the other dog - it is simply caused by a lack of interaction with other dogs. Some dogs are more fearful by nature than others. These dogs typically have submissive personalities - perhaps because they were lowest in the pecking order in their litter. In some cases, dogs that have been attacked are terrified of others. Fear of being traumatized fuels their sense of uncertainty and any sign of aggression from another dog can lead to panic.
How can I tell when my dog is starting to feel stressed? Your dog can not verbally express fear, so it is important to watch for signs of stress if scary situations have happened in the past. It is also a good idea to read up on how to read a dog's body language. Knowing that your dog is beginning to feel frightened can help you take steps toward preventing a full-blown panic attack.
Your dog starts to yawn in a forced way
Your dog begins to lick their lips in an exaggerated manner
Your dog starts to slow down while walking, perhaps attempting to hide behind you
You notice that your dog is starting to shiver
Your dog starts to whine nervously
These are all signs that your dog is afraid, and they are your cues to step in and prevent another negative experience that could make existing fear worse. If you miss these nonverbal hints - your dog's fear could lead to defensive aggression such as lunging, barking, and snapping at the strange dog they have encountered, particularly if they are walking on a leash and have no option to run away. If this is happening, understand that your dog is not being "bad" instead, they are responding to their fight or flight instinct.
Is there anything I can do to help my dog during a fearful episode? The first step in helping your dog is to exhibit confident, calm, predictable behavior. If you show signs of fear because you are not sure what is going to happen next, your dog will become more frightened. The good news is that it is easy to set your dog up for success with the following hints:
Stay away from dog parks for the time being, particularly those where dogs are allowed to play off-leash. If your dog is overcome by fear while off leash, they could run away to escape strange dogs; if this happens, you will need to create an alert with a local lost pet register.
Watch for other dogs when you are walking and intentionally create a buffer zone between your pet and the oncoming stranger. Cross the street, use a parked car or a park bench as a barrier, or turn up a side street if you can.
If a friendly stranger approaches with their dog and wants to "say hello," firmly say "no." Most people are sympathetic when you quickly but calmly let them know that your dog is afraid of others.
Do not shout at your dog, and do not try to force them to interact. Remain calm. Staying calm physically shows your dog that everything is OK!
How can I help my dog get over fear of other dogs? Most experts who offer dog training tips recommend gradually exposing your dog to non-threatening canine "strangers" as a way to build confidence over time. This is a form of counterconditioning or desensitization that can help your dog get over the behavioral response they have formed.
Desensitization takes time, however, it is a good strategy for most dogs. The process works by gradually boosting your dog's confidence. Eventually, your dog will feel better about meeting and interacting with other dogs. You will find that it helps to have an acquaintance with a calm, friendly dog help you through the following steps. Note that you will want to perform this process over several sessions, gradually closing the distance.
Load your pockets with your dog's favorite treats. If they are large, break them up into nibble-sized pieces. Choose something really high-value that your dog normally can not resist. Liver snaps are a smelly, non-messy option that appeals to most dogs.
Allow your dog to see the other dog from a safe distance. You probably have some idea of your dog's threshold - maybe it is ten feet, or perhaps it is ten yards. As you gradually close the distance, watch your dog for the first signs of nervousness – usually you will see a telltale yawn or some lip licking before other signs of distress turn up. Stop there and do not allow your dog to get any closer until the next step.
Back off and walk around, distracting your dog until they are calm again. Turn back in the direction of your friend and start giving your dog treats one after another as soon as you see the other dog. Continue as you get closer. The idea is to create a mental connection between the appearance of this other dog and the rewards you are giving. Keep on giving the treats and gradually circle away until the other dog is out of your line of sight. Stop giving treats when your dog can not see the other dog.
Repeat the process over and over so that your dog understands that seeing your friend's dog means getting treats.
Between sessions with your friend's dog, take your dog on walks and repeat the treat process each time you see a strange dog approaching, beginning when they come into view and stopping only when they are out of sight. Keep on treating until you and the other dog walker have passed one another.
Gradually decrease the distance between your dog and other dogs as your dog gains confidence. If your original buffer zone was 50 feet, try 25 or 30 feet. If it was ten feet, try eight feet and gradually move closer, giving treats the entire time. You will know that you have gotten too close if signs of stress return. When your pet calmly watches other dogs approach and looks to you for treats, you will know that you are on the right track.
If you do not have a friend with a cooperative dog available, consider working with a behaviorist or a dog trainer who practices positive reinforcement. Interview the professional you are thinking of working with to ensure that their methods align with your preferences.
Dogs are individuals just like us. Some will get over their fear of others completely and might eventually enjoy playing at the dog park. Others will simply gain more confidence while walking on leash, but they won't show signs that they want to play or even interact with other pups. Respect your dog's emotional needs and understand that past experiences, genetics, and other factors shaped their personality.
Enjoy spending time together, aim for gradual progress, and do not force the issue if things do not seem to be working out. By keeping your dog safe and comfortable, you are doing the best you can to ensure that life is happy – and in the end, happiness and your companionship are what your dog truly wants.
Dogs may develop a fear of humans, or a subcategory of humans and may become dangerous if not adequately outfitted or properly reconditioned to accept human presence. Forcing a fearful dog to interact with people before they are ready may create a more fearful animal rather than a more confident one, and enlisting a professional dog trainer or behaviorist is more likely to produce a positive outcome.
Although many fear related issues can be changed through proper exercise, diet, and training, some dogs may need additional help such as medications to control their actions and reach their full potential. Dogs can develop fears to many things including inanimate objects, other dogs, intense weather, and in some cases, people.
Symptoms of Fear of People in Dogs Dogs that are anxious or fearful around people may express it in several ways. Some of the behaviors that you might see include:
Ears held back
Frantic tail chasing
Holding head lower than back
Licking nose or face (with no food present)
Showing the whites of the eye
Submissive rolling over
Tail tucked under
Whites of the eye turning red
Types of People Fear in Dogs Although some dogs are afraid of people, in general, some dogs only experience anxiety when meeting certain groups of people. Some of the most common groups of people that trigger canine anxiety include:
Children Although this fear may be triggered by abusive or careless behavior from a child, it is just as likely to be due to a lack of exposure to children. Children tend to move more quickly and be less predictable than adults and young children, in particular, are also prone to physical displays of affection that may make your canine companion uncomfortable.
Men Dogs who are made anxious by one gender or the other are more often made anxious by men. While abuse by a man is likely to trigger this behavior, it is also common in dogs who were not introduced to enough men during socialization.
Strangers This is also typically caused by a lack of socialization, but the fearful behavior is not restricted to one gender, and instead is directed towards anyone the dog is unfamiliar with. If contact is forced, this fearful behavior can easily change into aggression.
Causes of Fear of People in Dogs The causes of anxiety and other mental imbalances in dogs are a combination of nature and nurture. Some of the possible causes may include:
Developmental Factors - Improper socialization early in life can contribute to many fears related to people.
Environmental Factors - This is particularly relevant for fear reactions that are related to disorders like depression or PTSD; the loss of an owner or a friend, traumatic events, and violent physical attacks can all trigger chronic fear and in some cases may develop into PTSD related reactions to other humans
Genetic Predisposition - Some dogs are genetically predisposed to be anxious and may be more likely to generalize fear of one person to fear of many.
Physical Disorders - Illnesses which cause pain on contact and illnesses that affect the animal's perception may cause the dog to associate this pain with people.
Diagnosis of Fear of People in Dogs When you bring your dog into the veterinarian’s office to address a behavior related problem, such as fear of humans, they will typically request a behavioral history. Information that is likely to be included in a complete behavioral history would include any information regarding the animal’s breed, sex, and age as well as the frequency and circumstances surrounding any fear related incidents. They will also need to get information regarding the intensity of the episodes, how your dog behaved once the person left their area, as well as information about whether the dog is showing fear for all people or just certain groups of people.
To ensure that there is no medical component that is contributing to the animal’s anxiety a physical examination will typically be completed with a particular emphasis on locating any areas of pain. This exam will generally including ordering standard diagnostic tests like a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis, particularly if this is a new behavior for the dog. The veterinarian may also request tests to check the thyroxine concentrations in the blood as thyroid disorders can also cause a dog to act uncharacteristically.
Treatment of Fear of People in Dogs Treatment for dogs who have shown fear related to human interaction should be a cooperative effort between the animal's owners and a professional trainer or behaviorist. It is important not to scold or punish your dog for its fear as this can actually enforce their feelings and increase the chances that fearful behavior will turn into aggressive behavior. One of the treatment methods that is commonly utilized in these situations is known as desensitization, a method in which treats and praise are used in conjunction with the presence of the object of fear, in this case, a person.
Regular obedience training can also mitigate some of the responses caused by the patient’s anxiety, and may be used as a component to counter-conditioning treatment, in which a command behavior or action is used to distract the dog from the object of its fears. In more extreme cases of fear anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications such as diazepam or Prozac may be employed to calm your companion&rsquo's nerves.
Recovery of Fear of People in Dogs Dogs that have experienced fear and anxiety for long periods of time may be harder to treat than dogs who have recently developed the trait, and some dogs may never completely get over their fear. If you have a dog that is fearful of humans, it is crucial not to push the animal before it is ready and that you provide a place where the dog can retreat to be left alone, such as an open crate or a quiet back room or corner away from the activity. If your dog has snapped at or bitten a person due to fear, a professional trainer or behaviorist should be sought at once to correct the behavior.
MY DOG IS SCARED OF ME! 10 STEPS TO FOLLOW... This article is proudly presented by WWW.TOPDOGTIPS.COM and Tiffany Jansen
When your dog is scared of you, it is not only a devastating feeling, but it also becomes increasingly difficult to train, groom and feed the dog. Fortunately, there are methods that owners of frightened dogs can use to help gain or re-gain the trust of a scared dog. Most common reasons dogs may be scared of their owners are:
Dog is "shy" when they come from a shelter or pet store
Previous owner used to hit the dog out of frustration
Owners used to raise their voice, scream or verbally abuse the dog
Owner might have accidentally hurt the dog - step on paw, tail, etc.
There is a history of physical abuse, negative punishment "training"
Dog was around aggressive dogs or other aggressive, intimidating animals
Owner's body language indicates that they themselves are fearful or stressed
To avoid scaring your dog and losing trust, some of things you should NOT do are:
Do not be impatient or frustrated with your dog
Do not withhold love & attention when the dog seeks it
Try not to approach a dog has retreated to their "safe place"
Never force a currently fearful dog to do anything
Avoid yelling or verbally intimidating the dog
Avoid negative punishment or otherwise physically hurting the dog
How do you know if your dog is scared of you? Be on the lookout for the following signs via its body language:
Tail between its legs
No eye contact with you
Raised hair by the back of its neck
Licking its lips
Tracking your movements carefully
Leaving the room when you enter
Not accepting treats
Even when you think you have been doing all things right, some dogs may still be scared of you for a variety of reasons. If you find yourself saying, my dog is scared of me, here is what you can do to fix this problem.
1. Be Patient Every dog is different, and much like humans, each dog will adapt to their environment and learn at their own pace. This could take days, weeks or months of consistent effort and training, depending on the dog's personality and the reason for their fear. With time and effort, majority of dogs will learn to trust their owner(s), and other humans. But it is imperative that you are patient, and never push, force, or become angry with your dog during this adapting process, as doing so will only make matters worse.
2. Let the Dog Be Having their own space and time alone, with less attention and less interaction, is exactly what some dogs need to become comfortable. Just like another human coming on too strong can be intimidating, you coming on too strong at your dog can be intimidating to the dog as well. Sometimes the best way to gain a dog's trust is to let them take the lead in deciding when they want interaction with you. Let the frightened pup come to you for attention instead of you going to them.
3. Follow a Predictable and Reliable Schedule When a dog is frightened and stressed, the hormone cortisol is pumping through their body, making matters worse. One way to help the dog's fear and the stress hormones to subside is by creating and following a predictable and reliable schedule for the dog. When a dog knows they will be fed at certain times, have their own bed to lay on, have play time, and receive training and treats at certain times each day, they feel calmer. Repeated actions, when done in a calm and non-aggressive manner, will increase a dog's trust.
4. Make a Genuine Connection with the Dog Most dogs enjoy humans petting them, and revel in a scratch or rub behind ears or a belly rub. Tragically, some dogs have been physically abused and taught that human touch is a bad and scary thing. If this is the case with your dog, you will have to get creative and make a genuine connection with the dog in another way. Giving a dog treats - turkey, chicken, tuna, during training sessions, when they do what is asked of them, is one of the many ways to connect with your dog. When you cannot physically touch the dog while praising them, use a positive and soothing tone of voice to tell the dog "good job," and other affirmations.
Incorporate a clicker into your training sessions. When your pup does something "brave", like approaches you, make the clicker sound instead of reaching out to touch the frightened dog, and feed the dog a treat immediately alongside the clicker sound, letting them associate this with a positive experience. If your dog has a fear of being near you, encourage them for coming towards you by actually taking a step away, waiting for the approach, then use the clicker to signal a job well done, and reward with a treat.
5. Targeted Training Efforts While clicker training works amazingly well for some dogs, others may require additional, or other forms of training. It is all about trying different methods when working with a fearful dog to find what they are most comfortable with. When a fearful dog does something "bad," instead of punishment, try to ignore them in an obvious manner. Research has proven that positive reinforcement for doing the right things in the form of a clicker sound, treats, verbal praise, and petting - if possible, while ignoring "bad" or incorrect behaviors is the best method of training fearful dogs.
Dogs, like human children, will eventually seek attention. Therefore, if you ignore "bad" behaviors and reward only positive behaviors, the "bad" behaviors will naturally be extinguished in the dog, as he or she realizes that they receive zero attention for “bad” behaviors, and receive positive attention and high-value treats for good behaviors. This method of training has been proven effective time and time again and should be adopted by all parents of dogs, and humans.
6. Classical Conditioning Training This form of training goes way back in time, to a psychological experiment named Pavlov's Dogs that a famous psychologist conducted with a group of dogs, conditioning the dogs to salivate at the mere sound of a ringing bell by giving food to the dogs, every time the bell was rang. Classical conditioning is incredibly effective, especially for dogs that are scared. Because with classical conditioning training, the dog learns to associate one thing with another thing. This often happens naturally, for example when you reach for a dog's food bowl or leash and the dog gets excited because they know that they are about to be fed, or go on a walk, both of which are examples of classical conditioning.
But this method of training can also be used deliberately, in order to train certain behaviors and responses in dogs, and to counter-condition dogs by associating something that makes a dog scared, with something positive. For example, if your dog is scared of the leash and does not want to have it attached to their collar or is afraid of the collar, every time you put on the dog's collar and attach the leash, reward the dog with a high-value treat. Soon, the dog will associate having their collar put on, and the leash being attached with the positive feelings that come along with receiving a high-value treat. This will extinguish the dog's fear of the collar or leash, or anything that you consistently pair with giving the dog a high-value treat.
Another example of using counter-conditioning is one that you can use to make a dog that is scared of you no longer scared of you by dropping high-value treats near the fearful dog every single time that you walk by them. Soon, the dog's fear of you will turn to excitement to see you, because the dog associates the positive experience of receiving a treat to you coming near them. But you must always remember to drop the high-value treat near the dog before the dog is feeling fear of you, because once the dog's fear response has been triggered, they lose the ability to think rationally, and therefore cannot make positive associations between the treats and you.
You will need to learn exactly how close to the scared dog you can get before the dog's fear response is triggered- also known as a dogs "threshold", maintain that distance as you walk by and casually drop the treat for the dog, making sure not to stop or look the dog in their eye, as this is a sign of intimidation that the dog will perceive as threatening. In terms of knowing when your dog's fear response has been triggered, most dogs will show very obvious signs of this such as cowering, growling, barking, showing their teeth, tucking their tail, putting their ears back, and even trembling.
7. Socialization for the Dog If you have a scared dog that sees another dog interacting with you in a playful and positive manner, seeing the other dog play with and trust you, will help the scared dog to see you as a human that they can trust, as well. It is especially helpful if it is another dog that lives in the home with you and the scared dog. But even if you do not have another dog living in your home with you and the fearful dog, this situation can be facilitated by having another, calm, non-fearful, and non-aggressive dog come around you and the fearful dog, to play and interact positively and lovingly with you. Once the fearful dog sees you walking, hanging-out with, and playing with the other dog in a positive manner, the scared dog will often be able to trust, and open up to you, the human that the other dog demonstrated can be trusted.
8. Go Out in the World Together to Explore Going on hikes or walks in public places with your scared dog can be a great bonding experience that teaches the fearful dog to trust you. If your scared dog is too intimidated by the leash or the outside world to go on walks outside of the home or yard at first, that is okay. You can still take this step by actively exploring things inside of your home and all over your yard, with your dog. For instance, say your dog is super interested in a particular plant or bug that catches their eye, wait for the dog to finish exploring this object, then once the dog walks away, immediately go over to the same object that they were looking at, and explore it with interest, yourself, allowing the dog to see that you have common interests.
Repeat this step, following in your dog’s footsteps, exploring the things that your dog is interested in, with your dog, is a great bonding and trust building exercise and positive experience for your fearful pup. After you check out whatever objects the dog was exploring, make your way to another object in your yard or home and look at it with interest, your dog will be likely to follow you to check it out too.
9. Play, Play, Play Playing with a scared dog can be a difficult task, but if you are able to engage a fearful dog in any kind of play, it will be a great bonding and trust building experience. With scared dogs, you do not want to throw a ball or toy towards them, as this could trigger their fear-response and make them reach their threshold in which they will shut down, and are unable to learn anything positive from the experience. Engaging a scared dog in playtime activities by utilizing a ball, or any kind of toy, that is attached to a long rope of some sort.
This way, you can move the ball or toy from a distance, and engage the fearful dog in a game of chase or pounce, without the dog having to get too close to you. This will allow the dog to play without triggering their fear response, which would cause the dog to shut down, and render the play-training useless. Also, allow the dog to catch and keep the toy, frequently, as doing so will ensure that your dog enjoys playtime with you, and learns to trust you.
10. Continue to Build Trust, Moving Forward Just because you see success in helping your scared dog to become less fearful, that does not mean that you can discontinue all of your efforts. Doing so will likely reverse all of the positive results that your hard work with your scared dog, has produced. You will need to continue to be consistent in all of your training, play, and schedule routines. Additionally, make sure to only bring well-trained, well-behaved, and respectful humans and dogs around your scared dog. Never let an aggressive adult, child, or dog around your fearful dog.
When introducing your dog to new situations, experiences, and people, do so very slowly, and make sure that everyone who is around your dog knows to let the dog be, and come to them, instead of the other way around. Give new people treats to drop on the ground, if the dog approaches them at all, and tell them to always avoid eye contact with the dog and to not approach the dog. That being said, having well-trained and well-behaved dogs around your scared dog can do wonders for teaching the dog that they do not have to be fearful, as they watch other dogs confidently and fearlessly interacting with the world, and the humans in it.
However, if your dog starts to show any signs of being scared, or seems to be reaching their threshold, never push or force the dog to do anything, doing so will have a negative impact on the trust that the dog has developed in you. Make sure your dog always has a safe space to retreat to for quiet time, whenever he or she is feeling scared or overwhelmed. Placing a dog kennel in a safe and quiet space, that a dog can retreat to at any given time, is a great way to create a safe space for a scared dog. Make sure that you and anyone else in your home respects the dog's space and quiet time, and completely leaves the dog alone when the dog retreats to their kennel or any place that the dog may go to escape and decompress.
First Fear Imprint Period: 5 Weeks, Then 8 to 10 Weeks Puppies go through their very first "fear period" when they are still in the breeder's care at 5 weeks. Puppies at 5 weeks of age demonstrate a strong fear response toward loud noises and novel stimuli, however, overcome these fears through gradual introductions, and if proven non-harmful, over time, they accept them as normal part of their lives.
Most dog owners will never witness this very first fear period considering that most puppies go to their new homes at 8 weeks, so it is worth noting that when referring to the first fear period, it is the one taking place at 8 to 10 weeks as described below.
This first fear period takes place between the ages of 8 to 10 weeks. During this time, the puppy is very sensitive to traumatic experiences, and a single scary event may be enough to traumatize the puppy and have life-long effects on his future behaviors. The fear can be of a person, dog, or object.
A fear period is therefore a stage during which the puppy or dog may be more apt to perceive certain stimuli threatening. In nature, during this time, puppies are getting out of the den and starting to explore the world around them. This is when puppies would learn under the guidance of their mom, which stimuli are threatening and non-threatening for the purpose of survival. At this stage, once they are fully mobile and outdoors, a lack of caution may cause them to get killed easily.
Coincidentally, in a domestic setting, this fear period coincides with the time most puppies are separated from their litter mates and moms and are sent to new homes. Some breeders feel that their puppies are better off adopted at a later age. This is why some decide to sell puppies at 12 weeks. During the first fear period therefore it is important to avoid exposing the puppy to traumatic experiences.
Shipping the puppy or allowing the puppy to undergo elective surgeries at this time is not recommended. Veterinarian visits and car visits should be made fun and upbeat. Stimuli and experiences puppies may find as frightening include but are not limited to: vaccines, cold examination tables, taking rectal temperatures, placing the puppy on the scale, nail trims, and being handled by strangers.
How to Make Things Better Use food to make positive associations! Have volunteers participate in "mock vet examinations" and use treats. Practice giving "fake vaccinations" with a pen and use treats. Make car rides fun! Have a DAP diffuser plugged in at home when you bring your puppy home for the first time. Make crate-training fun with toys and treats.
Second Fear Period: 6 to 14 Months While the 8 to 12 week puppy fear period is in some cases hardly noticed by puppy owners, the second fear period appears to have a much bigger impact. Rover has grown now, and if he is a large breed, he may even weigh 100 pounds or more! This fear period is believed to be tied to the dog's sexual maturity and growth spurts. This means that in large breeds, it may develop later compared to a smaller dog. Often, this stage is also known as "teenage flakiness,".
In the wild, dogs at this age are allowed to go on hunts with the rest of the pack. At this stage, it is important for them to learn to stick with the pack for safety, but they also need to learn about fear since they need fear for survival purposes. The message to the puppy is to run away if something unfamiliar approaches them. Reactivity levels rise during this stage, causing the dog to act defensively, become protective and more territorial. Owners often report the fear seems to pop out of nowhere. Dogs appear fearful of novel stimuli or stimuli met before, but that did not trigger significant reactions.
As in the first fear period, it is best to avoid traumatic experiences during this time, such as shipping dogs on a plane and any other overwhelming experience. Because at this stage the owner may be dealing with a dog barking and lunging and pulling on the leash, this fear period has a bigger impact, causing the owner to worry about the dog's behavior.
How to Make Things Better Continue socializing as much as possible but without exposing your dog to overwhelming situations. Create positive associations through counter-conditioning. Build confidence through training and confidence building sports and exercises. Avoid traumatic experiences during this delicate phase.
Is There a Third Fear Period? Clarence Pfaffenberger, the author of The New Knowledge Of Dog Behavior, suggests there is a third fear period taking place in early adulthood. During this time, the level of aggression may increase, and the dog may appear more protective and territorial. Episodes of teenage flakiness may still occur. Some believe there may even be a fourth period as the dog reaches early adulthood, but I could not find reliable literature on that.
Noise phobias are a common complaint by dog owners and as we head into the July 4th weekend and the thunderstorm-filled summer months, we wanted to discuss noise phobias in our senior patients. Some senior dogs show improvement in noise phobia as their sense of hearing diminished, but for many senior dogs their anxieties and noise phobias can become worse. A new study published in Frontiers of Veterinary Science found that dogs responding with fear and anxiety to loud noises could be hiding musculoskeletal pain. The underlying and often untreated pain could then be worsened when a startling noise occurred, causing the dog to jump or tense.
These sudden movements could then incur extra pain on joints and areas that are already inflamed and sore. Dogs quickly link the loud noise and the painful response and therefore become even more anxious to avoid a scenario like that again. In this study, when dogs were treated for underlying pain, their fearful behavior was much improved. Many dogs can have an innate fear of loud noises, such as fireworks, thunderstorms, jet planes, gunshots, loud cars, and motorcycles - however, if an older dog begins to develop this fearful behavior as they age it is important to have a veterinarian assess whether or not it may be pain related.
There are also several options for treating noise phobias in dogs with and without a secondary pain reaction. Calming nutraceuticals like Composure, can be helpful, as well as Thundershirts, essential oils, and in severe cases prescription medications like Trazodone or Sileo. The key to all of these treatments, however, is to ensure that the pet is pain-free before trying to calm and to use these tools before the true fear sets in- ideally 60 minutes before any known triggers.
Calming music and treat puzzles and distractions can also help condition pets to adapt to loud noises. If you have tried the over the counter options for treating noise phobias and your dog remains fearful, we recommend discussing this with your veterinarian to see if stronger supplements (Composure Pro) or medications would be indicated.
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