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Top Ten Most Common Canine Fears

Fear of being left alone:

Does your dog show signs of distress when separated from you, such as whining at the door or exhibiting destructive behavior? If your dog follows you everywhere or protests being left alone in a crate, they could be experiencing separation anxiety, or possibly showing codependency on another dog in the household.

Fear of Thunderstorms: Dogs have a keen sense of impending storms, which can lead to erratic behavior like pacing before the storm arrives. Look out for signs like shaking, drooling, or hiding. Ensure your dog is in a safe space during storms and consider using Thundershirts to provide comfort during anxious moments caused by storms or fireworks, short term medications may also be useful.

Fear of Fireworks: Since fireworks are typically associated with holidays, it can be challenging to desensitize dogs to the noise. If your dog is frightened by fireworks, try being with them during such events. Using dog sensitization videos on platforms like YouTube can help acclimate them to the sounds gradually, while positive reinforcement activities can help change the negative association with the noise.

Fear of the vet or groomer: If your dog is anxious about vet or grooming visits, try visiting the vet office a few times before and after appointments to change their perception. Practice mock vet exams with friends to familiarize them with the process. Consider muzzle training if your dog is fearful, and teach them cooperative care techniques to make vet visits less stressful.

Fear of riding in vehicles: Some dogs may display fear or discomfort when entering vehicles, which can be linked to motion sickness or negative associations with car rides. If your dog exhibits anxiety in the car, gradually introduce them to enjoyable outings to create positive associations and reduce fear related to traveling.

Fear of Men: This fear may stem from an abusive relationship with a man, but often, it arises from a lack of socialization with men. Men are perceived as bigger, taller, louder, and sometimes less nurturing. Clients with PTSD and trauma related to men can unknowingly transfer this fear to their dogs.

Fear of Stairs: Dogs, especially puppies, may struggle with stairs due to not fully understanding how to use their hind legs. Some dogs also fear the gaps in open stairs. Engaging in recalls up and down stairs between two people can build confidence and provide exercise, particularly on rainy days. It's crucial to start slowly and not introduce stairs too early.

Fear of Children: Sensitivity issues, similar to those experienced by some individuals, can lead to fear around children. Children are energetic, fast, and loud, which can overwhelm some dogs. For reactive or aggressive dogs, movement and noise are major triggers. Children's high-pitched sounds and quick movements can be terrifying for dogs with sensitive hearing.

Fear of Strangers: Considering some people's behavior, it's understandable why dogs may fear strangers. Using pattern games like "look at that" can help dogs overcome their fears.

Fear of Objects: Dogs can be scared of various objects, from holiday decorations to grooming tools. Introducing unfamiliar items, like a box from storage, can startle dogs.

Now that you know the most common forms of fear within our beloved canines, make sure to stay tuned to our next post where we will be talking about how to work with these fears and help our pups grow confidence around their triggers.

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