Loud noises and storms often startle humans; so, naturally, they can also frighten dogs. Sometimes, the fear will manifest into a phobia until your dog stops eating or socializing. The side effects of phobias are not healthy for your pet, but there are ways to help your pooch confront his fears. Always speak to your veterinarian about any concerns your may have.

The first thing to consider is the severity of your pet’s fears. If he jumps when it thunders but otherwise is unaffected, then the jumping is a natural reaction; there is no need to be concerned. But, if your dog hides at every sound or shows destructive behavior when he is frightened, then you should start a training program to help your dog cope with his fears. Dogs that experience separation anxiety are likely to have phobias.

The most common fears include loud noises, strange people, and other animals. Try to determine what scares your dog. Pinpointing the cause can help you determine how to treat the anxiety. Also, pay attention to how your pooch reacts to his fears. Is there a certain place he likes to hide? Knowing his “safe place” will also help with training.

A simple place to start is by distraction. If a storm is brewing and the thunder has started, then grab your dog’s favorite toy. Play with him and try to keep him occupied. By distracting him from the cause of his fear, you are helping him cope. Remember, he will not be magically cured of fright, but positive association is a good way to help him overcome his problem. Never try to hold, pet, and console your dog when he is frightened. If you are his safe place, then it will be much harder to combat his anxiety. On the other hand, do not get angry or be unkind when your pooch is exhibiting his phobia. He is already stressed enough, and adding stress will only worsen his condition.

Helping your dog relax during frightening situations can also help with his problem. Relaxation does not include petting or consoling him. There is probably one specific area your dog goes when he is frightened. Identify that area and try to make it more comfortable for him. Add a couple of blankets and a toy or two. When he runs to his safe place, he will be calmer while surrounded by familiar things. Crate training is also a way for your pet to become more comfortable with his fears. He knows that the crate will be there and provide protection for him.

Keeping your dog on a normal routine can reduce his anxiety. Once he is on a schedule, then he knows there are constants that will not change. If a thunderstorm arrives in the middle of dinner, he may still run away; but knowing that his food will not leave with the storm can help reduce his anxiety.

If your pooch is exhibiting sever side effects of his fears, then you should talk to your veterinarian immediately. If left untreated, dogs may stop eating, lose weight, hurt themselves by trying to escape their fears, or even show symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. Severe anxiety can call for desensitization or medication. Before you start your pooch on any type of training program, talk to your veterinarian. Your vet will have suggestions that can help keep your pet calm. They can also direct you to relaxation classes or appropriate methods of desensitization. No program should be started without professional guidance!

If you dog runs and hides at every little sound, then he may be experiencing anxiety caused by a phobia. Some phobias can be treated with a toy and safe place, while others require medical attention. It is important to realize that your pet will not be cured overnight. Because of this, you should never get angry with your pet. Instead, show him love and positive reinforcement when he tries to deal with his phobias. Do not console him when he is scared, because this can make things worse. If your dog is not responding to your training techniques, then speak to your veterinarian about desensitization or medication. With a little patience, you can help your dog conquer his fears!

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