Does Your Canine Display Signs Of Phobias?
A lot of dogs display fears without seeming to have a reason. Similar to the way in which some people react when they observe a spider, many canines react suddenly to a host of stimuli. The reasons vary and can range from a negative episode experienced early in life to a lack of proper training and socialization. Whatever the cause, canines can – and do – suffer from phobias that influence their behaviors.
For owners, these phobias can become deeply frustrating since they may prevent them from enjoying their canines’ company. In severe cases, many owners give up, abandoning their pets to shelters. This article will briefly describe several phobias that affect millions of dogs.
Fear Of Being Separated From You
Separation anxiety is a heartbreaking disorder to observe in canines. When left alone, they become distraught, barking, whining, drooling, and pacing the ground, waiting for their owners to return. Sometimes, the fear motivates them to escape in an attempt to rejoin their owners.
This is one of the most difficult fears to address. It involves desensitizing the dog to his owner’s absence, a process that requires substantial time and patience.
Anxiety Over Thunder
A lot of dogs are easily frightened by sudden, loud noises, such as gun shots and car backfires. Distress over thunder is slightly different. Experts believe that canines can sense a change in atmospheric pressure, causing them to be more on edge than normal. When claps of thunder occur, the animals become frightened. In response, they might hide or display destructive behavior.
Distress About Car Rides
Many pets become anxious when riding in vehicles. Some will refuse to even enter a car, backing away from it or barking when their owners attempt to force them in. This might stem from an early experience during which the animal was taken to a place he disliked. Or, the rumble of the engine and sensation beneath his paws while on the road may have seemed unpleasant to him.
Apprehension Around Kids
Young kids can scare dogs, creating a phobia in them that lasts for years. This can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, a child may pull on a dog’s tail or ears, causing him pain. Or, a child may not realize that approaching a canine suddenly may be misinterpreted by the animal as an act of aggression. Or, the pet may have had little to no exposure to young people early in his life, and is thus unfamiliar with them.
It is important to always supervise the interaction between a dog and child. Otherwise, the animal’s fear could prompt a reaction that results in the child’s injury.
For dogs, a veterinary clinic is rarely a pleasant place to visit for the first time. Not only is everything unfamiliar, but the animals are usually subjected to poking, prodding, and on occasion, vaccination shots. It’s common for canines to develop an aversion, often to the point of recognizing the roads taken to the vet’s office. With time, however, this phobia tends to dissipate as dogs become more familiar with their veterinarians.
Fear Of Unfamiliar People
A lot of canines become tense whenever strangers are nearby. Sometimes, their stress is mild, causing them to remain alert. Other times, the stress is severe, prompting the animal to bark and growl at the person.
This problem often develops in dogs that receive little to no exposure to new people. It may also develop as the result of mistreatment by strangers in the past.
Most canine phobias can be treated successfully with desensitization training. Although the process is long and sometimes exasperating, owners are rewarded with less anxious companions.