Dogs develop fears throughout their lives. Below are four common phobias dogs face and how to work with them.
1. Separation Anxiety – The milder cases of separation anxiety can be eased by exercising the dog before an owner has to leave. Leave the radio or TV on for company. Some dogs like to hear voices, others calming music whatever is best for the dog. For moderate to severe cases, seek out a qualified and certified dog trainer, one that is experienced in dealing with behavioral issues.
2. Car Rides – The most common link to a car ride phobia is that the destination is unpleasant. If the dog only goes into the car to go to the vet, there will be anxiety of not wanting to get in the car. For a rescue dog, there is the fear that getting in the car will end in being separated from their pack, again. To alleviate this fear, or at least ease it a bit, make car outings a positive experience. Put a soft comfy blanket down to rest, give some treats and make the destination a positive place, like the dog park or someplace the dog likes to be.
3. Children – There are some dogs who just don’t like children, period. But there are certain training methods that can be used to make a dog more tolerant of children. IMPORTANT: trying to turn an ambivalent dog into a happy family dog is not a good idea. This particular issue is one that should be discussed and worked on with an experienced dog trainer.
4. Loud Noises – A thunderstorm rolls in and owners scoop up their dogs trying to soothe them into a calm state. What this actually is doing is encouraging the panic. A dog getting patted and cooed over, is receiving praise for being fearful. Stop this and remain calm and detached, showing no signs of fear or reaction. Try to redirect the dogs fear in a positive manner. Play a new game that will get the dogs mind thinking the loud noises aren’t so bad.
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