Most Common Dog Fears

Like humans, dogs have fears too. We've delved into the top dog fears and where they begin.

It’s very common for dogs to have the fears or phobias that we encounter day to day. Sadly as we’re unable to talk to our dogs and help explain the phobias it’s understandable that they’re to be scared of things that we may find ordinary or exciting. These phobias can stem from a variety of ways. It can come from a lack of early social experiences, a negative past experience or never having experienced/ lack of understanding of something.

Although not all dogs experience the same levels of fear if at all, many of these phobias can be helped and treated to ease your dog’s anxiety and stress. However it first takes the ability to recognise and understand when dogs are scared or frightened; common signs of this include cowering, barking, destructive behaviour, trembling and in cases uncharacteristic aggression.

Thunder and Lightning

One of the most well-known fears for our pooches is astraphobia, the fear of thunder. The thunderous loud noises can have various effects on dogs and the type of reaction to these sounds differs. However there are some common responses that you can look out for, many dogs will be scared and look for cover when they hear these trembling noises. They’ll try to find their safe place and hide whilst the storm continues. In other cases, thunder follows lightning but barking can then follow thunder. It is believed that dogs with astraphobia are in fact afraid of loud noises and not thunder itself, this is easy.

One of the best ways to make a cosy and secure safe place is with a comfy bed for them to sleep on. If you’re looking for a comfy bed for your dog then why not check out our amazing range of dog beds

You can help your dog by keeping them inside and distracted during the storm. Having music playing or the TV on whilst the storm is happening is a good way to drown out the thunder, playing with them and giving them attention is also a great way to keep their mind off the loud noises. If they are still frightened by the thunder or it is too close to drowning out then it is helpful to make their safe place as cosy and comfortable for them as possible giving them a place where they can feel secure.

clouds with thunder digital wallpaper

Car Rides

For some car journeys can be an amazing and exciting adventure, happily sitting in their seat and watching the world go by. For others, however, this can be a very traumatising experience. Reasons range from the constant motion and rocking from the ride itself causing discomfort for your dog, or it’s the sounds that come with car travel.

Sadly it can also be triggered by bad memories that come from when they’re inside of a car. This may be due to past experiences such as a bad trip to the vets when they were taken away from their litter, or even if they’re adopted from the shelter this could trigger their memories of going to the shelter.

It’s important to gradually introduce them to car journeys, giving them positive reinforcement to back it up. It’s important to only bring them into the car when they are calm and relaxed as by forcing them into the car when nervous can do the opposite and amplify their fears. By allowing them to get into the car at their own pace with positive reinforcement such as treats and rewards can help in a big way. This process, however, can take a while for your dog to get used to being patient.

Separation Anxiety

As humans, we are known to get the fear of missing out. We fear that friends are up to something without us and can make us uneasy. Dogs have a similar phobia, as dogs are natural pack animals. When you leave them in the house by themselves this can lead to your dog suffering separation anxiety. This behaviour generally leads to your dog barking, howling, whining and being destructive to the environment around them.

To help ease separation anxiety the best solution is to train your dog to be confident by themselves. The best time to do this is when they are a puppy so the behaviour can become natural from an early age. If this doesn’t seem to be working then there are aromas and smells that you can buy that help ease your dog’s stress. These aren’t a permanent solution and should be used to help ease the training and transition to being able to be by themselves.

Objects

Dogs can develop fears over specific objects, although the most commonly known one is the vacuum cleaner due to it producing loud noises it doesn’t necessarily have to be something that causes disruption.

 It can be in fact any object or product in the house. This may be because of past experience with a said object or it could be totally self-made. This can become an issue as they might be unable to walk past the specific object causing anxiety. The best way for you to tackle this fear is to gently introduce these objects to your dog in a positive and happy manner.

Fireworks

Similarly to thunder, the loud sounds of fireworks can often frighten and cause anxiety for dogs. The unpredictability of these loud bangs and screams can also multiply their fright as they become confused about where these sounds come from.

To help reduce this stress and anxiety we suggest taking the same actions as with thunder. Having a safe place for your dog to go into and take cover is a great way to help your dog feel safe. It is also good practice to have music or videos playing to drown out the loud bangs.

The Vets

Just how many of us don’t like going to the dentist many dogs are frightened or become stressed at the vets. The unfamiliar environment can throw off your dog’s confidence. With bright lights, loud sounds from other animals and the thought of injections and operations could put off the most confident of animals.

A great way for your dog to become calm at the vets is to bring them to the vet when they don’t require a check-up. If you bring them to see their vet and spend time together then they will have a positive attitude to the place and the vets that will be taking care of them.

We hope you find this guide useful and it’s helped you to understand some of your pets most common fears. If you need any more advice you can either use our contact form or email us on hello@raisedbyhumans.co.uk.

By Raised By Humans