Along with human beings, animals also suffer from fears and phobias. There are many fears and phobias that a dog suffers from.
The phobias or fears in dogs can be anything. There is a negative effect of these phobias on the dog. The causes of different types of phobias can be suffering from a lack of socialization early, or it can be a negative experience.
To eliminate the fears and phobias of the dog, the dog owners should understand the signs of phobias and their root cause to help their dogs. Some signs can detect whether the dogs have any phobias or fears.
Signs of phobias or fear in dogs
Some of the signs that dogs can see when they have phobias or fears are destructive behavior, aggression, trembling, barking, and quivering.
1. Destructive behavior
When the dog comes across their triggers of phobias, they demonstrate destructive behavior. The behavior should not be discarded because this is not normal; instead, the trigger should be identified to eliminate it.
When the dog hears the loud noise of fireworks or thunder lightning, they tremble. They ran and tried to hide.
When the dog encounters strangers, they start barking. This is an indication that they fear strangers. Dog owners should try to control their behavior.
If a dog cowers, then there is a possibility that they have phobias that are triggered. This could mean that they are experiencing stress.
Common types of Phobias and Fears in Dogs
1. Fear of thunder
The fear of thunder is called astraphobia, and it is very common in dogs. Every dog that suffers from astraphobia; suffers from it with different degrees than other dogs.
Some dogs can have a mild fear of thunder. If they have a mild fear, then they slightly tremble. You can observe that their ears flatten, and their eyes widen. You can also observe that their tail tucks during a thunderstorm.
Other dogs have severe astraphobia. When they suffer severely, they become destructive; they search for a place to hide and sometimes lose control.
2. Fear of fireworks
The dogs suffer from the fear of fireworks. They tremble when they hear loud, unpredictable sounds. The displays of light in fireworks cause a dog to tremble. They run away and become lost.
You can try to eliminate their fear of fireworks by letting them get used to the sound of the fireworks. If they suffer severely from fear of fireworks, they need to use management techniques. They must be treated with sedatives or anti-anxiety medications.
3. Fear of being left alone
Fear of being left alone is also called separation anxiety. The dog that suffers from the fear of being left alone exhibits destructive behavior when its owners leave the house.
They bark excessively when left alone, and even housebreaking accidents are observed. In such a situation, the dog owner can change their behavior, which will help ease the fear of the dog.
The owner can alleviate the dog’s anxiety by changing their habits while leaving and returning to the house; staying lowkey would help. The other method for eliminating the fear of being left alone in the dog is desensitization.
In this process, the dog is slowly used to being left alone. Medication is needed if the dog suffers from a severe fear of being left alone.
4. Fear of the veterinarian
The dogs become fearful about the trip to the veterinarian. They have this fear as they encounter the strange smells, they are handled differently, they are being restrained, and they are getting vaccinations.
To eliminate the fear of the veterinarian in dogs, take your dog to a veterinarian visit that does not involve an examination. If on the visit, they stay calm, then reward them for their behavior.
5. Fear of riding in the car
Some dogs have a fear of riding in the car. This fear is usually caused when there is less exposure to a car ride in the early stage of their life.
There are other causes for this fear; they might get car sick. They are given a ride so that they can be left in a shelter, or they are riding in the car to visit a veterinarian.
You can eliminate the fear of riding in the car in dogs by luring your dog to get into the car by using treats. You can take them for small car rides to destinations like dog parks.
6. Fear of going up and downstairs
Some dogs fear going up and downstairs; this becomes evident when they stop and approach the stairs. The main cause of this phobia is the lack of early exposure and lack of socialization.
When the dogs were a puppy and if they weren’t encountered with stairs, they developed the fear of stairs later in their lives.
The dogs must be taught to navigate the stairs to eliminate the fear of going up and down. Some dogs have this fear if they have had a bad experience with the stairs.
7. Fear of men
The dogs have a common fear of men. They would develop this fear if a man abused them. The other cause of this fear is the lack of socialization.
The dog may be afraid of men’s larger builds, deeper voice, and facial hair if they do not spend much time around them. Using a non-threatening method, the fear of men in dogs should be desensitized. Because of this fear, some dogs may snap.
Bite or growl. To eliminate the fear of men in dogs, the man should know how to approach the dog and try to make eye contact with them. Over time, the dog will get over the fear of men.
8. Fear of strangers
Some dogs suffer the fear of strangers. They are afraid of anyone whom they do not know. It is one of the difficult phobias to overcome because it is not possible to teach the dog to accept each new people.
You can try to eliminate their fear of strangers by giving them their own time to approach new people. If you force your dog to accept the stranger, the fearful dog will become aggressive.
9. Fear of children
Some dogs suffer from the fear of children. There are many causes of this fear. In the early stage of their lives, they develop this fear if the dog lacks exposure to kids.
Since puppyhood, the dog must be exposed to kids of all ages to eliminate this fear. Some dogs are afraid of children because of the negative experience with the children.
The dog may interpret the nature of the children as a threat. Some dogs may not understand the uncoordinated movements of the children. If a dog suffers from this fear, the homeowner should consult the dog trainer.
10. Fear of specific objects
Some dog suffers from the fear of specific objects. That can be anything like a child’s toy, a vacuum cleaner, or any equipment.
This is not a big fear, as you have the flexibility to move the object from the sight that triggers the phobia of specific objects in the dogs.
It is important to understand the signs of fears and phobias in the dogs to help them feel less pain and get better.
The fear is not a big deal to handle; it can be easily managed using the right techniques and tools. The triggers of each phobia are different, and the way to deal with each trigger is different.
The level of suffering is different for each dog. Some may suffer severely from the trigger, while others may suffer mildly from the same trigger.
The signs should not be avoided; the dog trainers should be consulted. If the dogs need medications, then they should be provided. Eliminating the phobias and fears in the dog is possible, and it will take time.
The dog owners should be patient and considerate of their dogs. The triggers should be eliminated from the sights of the dog, if possible.
The dogs should be properly taken care of. The dog owners should personally try to help their dogs overcome their fears and phobias.