With Dog Vacay’s weekly ‘dog of the week’ stories featuring fearless dogs who save lives and protect their family, one would think dogs aren’t afraid of anything. However, dog phobias are very common and can exist in even the biggest of dogs. Stemming from a variety of causes such as aging, fear from a traumatic experience, limited socialization, and separation anxiety, dog phobias can cause mild fear on one end or extreme anxiety on the other. Is your pooch exhibiting odd behavior? Check out the following list of common dog phobias to see if he fits under any of them.
1. Fear of vacuum cleaners. Dogs clean the floor by licking whatever is on it, so the concept of a vacuum may be foreign to him, prompting him to be afraid of its loud noise and weird motion. To treat this fear: give your dog treats when it’s vacuum time.
2. Fear of men, Halloween costumes, and children. Though many people associate a dog’s fear of men with a dog being abused by a man in the past, it may just be that your pooch has had limited experiences with men. Same goes with Halloween costumes and children: dogs who haven’t had exposure to a particular “style” of person before may be afraid of them. To treat this fear: invest in a dog trainer or expose your pup to the person little by little.
3. Fear of being left alone. Often referred to as separation anxiety, dogs who experience anxiety when their owners leave them alone can engage in destructive behavior and excessive barking. To treat this fear: don’t make a big deal when you leave or return to the house or, if you are constantly on the go or always traveling, utilizing a home dog boarding service like DogVacay can ensure that your dog will stay in a loving home while you’re away.
4. Fear of riding in a car. If your furry friend has had a negative experience with riding in a car, such as getting car sick, riding to an animal shelter, getting into a car accident, or riding to the vet, he may be afraid to get into the four-wheeled contraption. To treat this fear: lure your dog into the car with treats and start off with taking your pup on short car rides until he’s comfortable going on longer ones.
5. Fear of thunder (astraphobia). Like humans, dogs can have a fear of thunder. Some pups may be more scared of thunder than others, but no matter the degree of fear, dogs may be able to detect when a thunderstorm is coming before you can. Pooches who have a mild case of astraphobia may shake slightly whereas those who are extremely afraid of thunder may hide, exhibit aggressive behavior, or urinate. To treat this fear: distract your dog with toys and treats when a thunderstorm approaches or play a CD with thunderstorm sounds and give your dog positive stimuli to desensitize him.
6. Fear of fireworks. The bright lights and loud noise fireworks produce can cause dogs to be afraid of them. Remember, dogs can hear higher pitches than humans, so the loud noises coming from fireworks are amplified for dogs, potentially causing them to be scared. To treat this fear: some dogs may just need time to get used to the sound whereas others may need anti-anxiety medication.
7. Fear of going to the vet. Just as many humans are afraid of the dentist, dogs may be afraid of going to the vet, especially if it’s their first visit. First-time visit involve being restrained, getting vaccinations, and unfamiliar smells, so it’s no surprise that dogs may be afraid. To treat this fear: take your dog to the vet for social visits instead of only vaccination visits.
If your dog has been exhibiting any signs of having these phobias, it is important to console him and take the proper precautions to make sure they get over their fear. After all, your pup is your best friend and what are friends for if they aren’t protecting you? Let us know what your dog is afraid of in the comments!