Behavior Tip of the Month
We Have Nothing To Fear But ...
A dog owner recently wrote that his dog was frightened by a hive of bees and now was afraid of the outdoors and flying things. He was wondering what to do. Although the situation is too complicated to go into without a little more knowledge of the particulars, I can tell you how to approach your pet's fears. It's the same way you approach peoples fears.
1. Don't force your pet to face the fearful situation. You can make him much worse that way.
2. Do find out what he's afraid of and lessen the stimulus. For example if he's afraid of the sound of buzzing insects, tape record the sound and play it very softly.
3. Put your dog far enough away from the fearful stimulus until he shows no fear.
4. Pair up with frightening stimulus with something the pet loves---freeze dried liver is good or hot dog baby food smeared onto his tongue. Balls could work for ball crazy dogs; tummy rubs or doggy massage for dogs who ADORE those activities.
5. Pair up the far away scary stimulus with something the dog adores and do this many times daily.
6. Every day, try to increase the scary stimulus by getting the dog closer and making the stimulus gradually louder. Never let the dog get scared. Go slowly enough so that he is always relaxed. In some severe cases, he may need medication.
7. Never reassure your dog when he is frightened by petting him. He will think you like his scared behavior and he will act more scared. If he's scared, you were too close to the scary stimulus and tried to go too quickly. The key is baby steps paired up with something your pet would kill for.
Woofs and Wags,
Best Friend Behavior Counseling and Training
San Diego, Ca.
Do you have a question for Carole? You can reach her at this email address - firstname.lastname@example.org
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The information contained on this site is in no way intended to replace that of proper veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.