What Is Fear Of Dogs?
Fear of dogs is a common canine phobia which affects many breeds of dogs including terriers, huskies, pups, and even some large breed dogs such as Great Danes. There are various reasons why your pet may have a fear of dogs. Some of these reasons include:
The presence of other dogs (or any animal) which could potentially attack them.
A fear of being left alone with another living creature. This could occur if they were to meet someone else’s pets or children. A great example would be when you encounter a stranger while out walking your dog and it suddenly runs away from you. Other times, this fear might arise due to a person approaching your home unexpectedly.
Fear of strangers, especially if they look scary.
Fear of enclosed spaces. For instance, a house where there are multiple rooms and doors. If you live in a small apartment building, then your fear may be heightened because the fear of being trapped inside your own home is greater than that of encountering an unknown predator outside your door.
How Do I Help My Dog Get Over Their Fear?
The first and most important step is to talk to your veterinarian about any possible physical or medical causes of your dog’s fear. It is not uncommon for a shy dog to be suffering from a mild case of separation anxiety or simply feeling overwhelmed by the presence of other dogs, people, or animals in general. In addition, there are various natural remedies and calming treats that can help to alleviate your dog’s fear in specific situations.
If your veterinarian does not find any medical causes for your dog’s behavior, then the next step is to address the root of the problem. While this process can be slightly different for each dog, there are some steps that remain relatively the same. First of all, it is important to bring your dog to a veterinarian in order to rule out any physical or medical causes for their fear.
Once that has been ruled out, it will be necessary to keep them on a leash at all times when in a public setting. This will prevent them from bolting away in fear if they see another dog or person.
It is wise to also keep your dog on a “Nothing In Life Is Free” program so that you are the one providing all of their meals, walks, and attention. By doing this, you are serving as their “Security Blanket” and they will not be as likely to act out due to the fact that they will always be near you.
While you may be tempted to leave your pet at home when you go out, this will only make their fears worse because they will become more and more fearful of being trapped in an area with no escape. When they are left alone, they will most likely begin to destroy your home in order to cope with their fear.
Lastly, it is important to get them over their fear of other people and dogs by exposing them to these things in a safe and positive way. The best way to do this is to have visitors come over on a regular basis or enroll them in a beginner’s dog training class where they can make friends with other dogs as well as be taught basic commands by the instructor. For more tips and information, you can also check out this amazing resource.
How To Help A Dog With Seperation Anxiety
There’s no denying that dogs can experience a wide range of emotions just like humans can. While we don’t always know exactly what they’re thinking, sometimes their body language and certain actions reveal what they’re feeling. One of the most common emotions seen in dogs is fear, as this is an emotion that pretty much everyone around the world can relate to at some point in their life. Even dogs can experience an especially wide range of fears, such as the fear of loud noises, the fear of other people or dogs, or even the fear of something more obscure like the vacuum, balloons, or a random speck of dust.
The most common type of fear in dogs is the fear of other people and dogs. It’s very common for a dog to begin showing timid behavior around others until they eventually develop into full blown paranoia and anxiety when others are around. If you’re seeing signs of fear in your dog when others are around then there are a few things that you can do in order to help them, especially if the fear is leading to aggressive behavior as a result of the fear.
One of the first steps that you should take in order to help your pet is to rule out any physical causes for their anxiety. While it’s normal for dogs to experience some fear towards other people and dogs, if their fear seems to be far beyond what would typically be normal for your pet, then it might be a good idea to take them to the vet in order to see if there is an underlying medical cause for their behavior.
Of course, in many cases it’s not going to be a medical issue causing the problem, it’s most likely going to be a behavioral issue. In these cases it’s important to make sure that your pet is getting the attention that they need from you in order to keep them from feeling abandoned or alone. It’s also important to make sure that they’re getting enough exercise and playtime, especially since both of these things can help relieve stress, which in turn can reduce anxiety. It’s also important to keep in mind that some dogs are going to be more prone to separation anxiety than others, so even if you’re following all of the advice listed above your dog may still be prone to bouts of anxiety.
While there isn’t necessarily a “cure” for separation anxiety in dogs, there are steps that you can take to help prevent or reduce the amount of anxiety that your dog experiences when left alone. The first thing that you can do is leave your dog with a kong filled with treats or peanut butter or some other type of food that your pet loves. This is especially helpful if you know you’re going to be leaving your dog for long periods of time, as it gives them something to do and thus prevents them from getting bored and thinking about attempting to dig their way out of the house or barking incessantly in an attempt to get your attention.
The second thing that you can do is leave a radio or television on for your dog when you leave. Just like the kong, the TV or radio can provide your dog with a slight sense of company and can help to keep them entertained and quiet if the program is keeping them engaged. It also has the added benefit of helping to calm them if the TV or radio is playing something calm and relaxing while you’re away. Of course, whether this is a good idea or not is going to depend greatly on your pet. In some cases a radio or TV can help, in others it might make them more frantic.
If you suspect that the TV or radio is going to end up making your pet more anxious then you probably shouldn’t leave it on when you leave.
The third thing that you can do is leave your dog with a stuffed animal that they’re familiar and comfortable with. This is especially helpful for dogs that tend to get anxious when they’re alone, as it provides them with a sense of comfort and familiarity. It also gives them something to keep them occupied and distracted when you’re away, especially if the animal is stuffed with treats.
The fourth thing that you can do is leave a light on for your dog when you leave. This might sound odd, but many dogs feel more secure in a slightly darkened environment. If you’re going to try this then simply crack the blinds or curtains in your home before you leave, but don’t leave them wide open. Alternatively, you could also leave a flashlight turned on and placed to point towards the wall or ceiling. Once again, whether this is a good idea or not is going to depend greatly on your dog, so you’ll have to use your own judgment.
The fifth thing that you can do is leave your dog with a blanket or bed that they’re familiar and comfortable with. Much like the stuffed animal, this is something that’s going to be especially helpful for dogs that fear being left alone. Dogs are often extremely territorial, so giving them a familiar item to curl up on and lay against when they sleep can help to calm them and make them more secure. It gives them a greater sense of familiarity and safety when they’re in an otherwise unfamiliar place, which in turn can help to alleviate their fear.
One important thing that you should never do is simply leave your dog to bark and whine for extended periods of time while you’re away. Not only is this annoying for you, but it’s also very unsettling for your pet. If they’re barking then they won’t get any sleep, and if they’re not sleeping then there’s a greater chance that they’re going to be developing a lot of pent up energy and start getting anxious. Either way, you won’t be in the best frame of mind when you return home and that isn’t good for either of you.
Instead, you should always plan on sticking to a routine as much as you can. Regardless of what you’re going to be doing, it’s best that you stick to the same general schedule every single day while you’re at home. This will help your dog know what to expect and when to expect it, which will in turn help to alleviate their fear and anxiety over being left alone.
What NOT To Do
One of the worst things that you can do if you’re leaving your dog home alone and they start to develop separation anxiety is to simply ignore it or not pay attention to it.
In many ways this can make the anxiety a lot worse, because now your dog will know that if they bark, whine, howl etc. long enough then you’ll eventually give into them. This will cause them to continue to develop this behavior in the future, and as you probably know, barking, whining and howling isn’t exactly the most pleasant noise to have to listen to all day.
What you should do instead is to try one of the tips listed above if your dog starts to exhibit signs of anxiety. If these aren’t helping or if your dog is extremely persistent in their anxious behavior then you’re going to need to get professional help. Check with your veterinarian to see if they have any recommendations, or look online for animal behaviorists in your area. The sooner you address the problem, the better.
By doing this you’ll not only help save your furniture and home, but more importantly you’ll be helping to ensure the overall health and happiness of your pet.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Canine fears and phobias; a regime for treatment without recourse to drugs (J Rogerson – Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 1997 – Elsevier)
- Canine anxieties and phobias: an update on separation anxiety and noise aversions (BL Sherman, DS Mills – Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal …, 2008 – Elsevier)
- Management of noise fears and phobias in pets (D Mills – In Practice, 2005 – inpractice.bmj.com)
- Treatment of fears and phobias in dogs (DS Tuber, D Hothersall, MF Peters – … Clinics of North America: Small Animal …, 1982 – Elsevier)
- Thunderstorm phobia in dogs: an internet survey of 69 cases (EC McCobb, EA Brown, K Damiani… – Journal of the …, 2001 – meridian.allenpress.com)
- Risk factors and behaviors associated with separation anxiety in dogs (G Flannigan, NH Dodman – Journal of the American Veterinary …, 2001 – Am Vet Med Assoc)
- Fear responses to noises in domestic dogs: Prevalence, risk factors and co-occurrence with other fear related behaviour (EJ Blackwell, JWS Bradshaw, RA Casey – Applied Animal Behaviour …, 2013 – Elsevier)