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How To Address Common Dog Fears

We love our dogs, and we never want to see them feeling more anxious and fearful than necessary. Although they’re excellent at supporting us in all our needs, sometimes they need support. So many factors go into the fears that dogs have.

Identifying moments of high fear and anxiety in your dog will aid in alleviating it. Grasping the root cause of the fear only better serves your pup in feeling better quicker. In understanding your dog’s emotions, you’ll better know how to address common dog fears in the future.

Past Experiences

Knowing your dog’s past is always convenient. When you receive your dog as a puppy, you know their history. When you adopt a dog, you don’t ever get the entire backstory; it’s impossible. This could leave many openings for issues and fears to arise that you had no idea existed within your dog.

Several factors can play into a dog’s fear based on past events. Whether someone previously abused your dog can be a trigger. Sometimes the gender of the abuser creates a fear of that gender within the dog. If this is the case, tread lightly with your dog to make interactions more comfortable with different people.

If your dog is sensitive to men, for example, based on an experience with one, don’t push the connections. Your dog needs to feel as though they’re in a safe space, and that level of comfort with certain people may come with time or never at all. Be emotionally supportive and understand the previous trauma your pup may have faced. Showing your dog they have a choice on who can touch and be close to them.

Some fears from the past will keep your dog safer. Perhaps there was an incident with a car that resulted in serious injury. This kind of past trauma may deter your dog from going anywhere near the road. Knowing as much about your dog’s past trauma as possible will allow you to be a better support system.

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Assistive Gear

Some dogs have simple fears that can easily be fixed. You may think there’s a deep, underlying issue that can only be diagnosed as an anxiety disorder, when it may be as simple as a fear of the unknown. Perhaps your dog isn’t a climber, and his apprehension of getting in the car could be as simple as an inability to understand how to get in.

Pay attention to what’s ailing your dog. Pain can look like fear when your dog shakes, whimpers, or cowers. Notice the activity you’re engaging in with them pup at these times. Walkin’ Pets offers many handicapped pet products available to ease pain and effort for your dog. Quickly detecting when your dog is exhibiting fear, or whether something else is physically wrong, can assist in the progression of finding solutions.

Storms and Fireworks

Some dogs can be triggered by inclement weather. Depending on how anxious your dog gets, a storm can be terrifying. As the sky darkens and heavy rain begins, consider the most unaffected space in your home for your dog to be during a storm. The loud sounds of rain, hail, and thunder can be enough to leave an anxious canine panicked and trembling in a corner. You also have the option of investing in a ThunderShirt type of jacket. This will leave your dog feeling swaddled and calm in high anxiety situations such as a bad storm.

Bigger Animals/People

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Smaller dogs tend to be the most nervous and, therefore, the loudest. They continuously attempt to prove themselves by their bark, and even their bite, to ward off larger animals. Proper training and socialization can go along with small dogs. It’s crucial they feel comfortable around larger animals and people.

Socializing your small dog at a park that other dogs frequent may help ease the high fear and stress they feel. Though children are great for small dogs because they aren’t too intimidating, they tend to get small dogs riled up. Be aware of the social settings you create for your little dog as they work on behavior and decreasing anxiety.

Proper training is essential as well. The key is for your small dog to regularly feel the least amount of fear and anxiety so that extreme barking occurs only in serious situations. Though your dog should not feel stifled to bark, he or she should be more selective based on the level of comfortability.  

Being Alone

Everyone knows dogs hate being alone. Dogs lack a sense of object permanence, and for them, each time you leave the house, they worry. This fear can manifest in several ways. Some dogs who don’t have emotional hindrances will sit and wait calmly and quietly for their master’s return. If you have a dog with fear and anxiety disorders, the scenarios could be very different.

Manifestations of this fear and anxiety can result in chewed and damaged property, going to the bathroom in the house, constant howling, and more. Understanding your dog’s trigger better helps you manage the time you’re out of the house. For property-damaging tendencies and incontinence, you’ll need to designate an area for your dog to be unattended while you’re away from home. Pick an area of your home that has cleanable floors and cannot be easily damaged.

It may be hard to section off the area your dog can roam while you’re gone, but it’s easier and safer than the alternative. There’s a lot of assistive technology on the market for communication purposes throughout the day. Leaving a television or radio on may ease your dog’s anxiety when it comes to missing you. There are many products made specifically for communicating with your dog when you’re away. The Alexa home assistant offers a feature to call in from your phone to the home base.

Every dog is different, as are people. Only through trials and tribulations will you find how to address common dog fears in your dog. Working toward a solution with your pup will help you and him or her feel less stressed and more complete. Addressing the issues you have with your dog will take time, but in the long run, you’ll both be happier and more secure.

How To Address Common Dog Fears

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