Things That Scare Dogs
Weird things that Scare Your Dog
Anyone who has a dog knows that they can get freaked out sometimes. This article will hopefully shed some light on the things that terrify your furry friend and help you to help your dog deal with his/her fears in a caring responsible way.
What Weird Things Scare Your Dog?
I love dogs. They make great companions and each dog has his own unique personality and idiosyncrasies (just like us!) From my own experience, and with a little research from family, friends and the internet,I have compiled a list of weird things that scare your dog.
Energy- spiritual, that is. Ghosts, spectres, the undead, whatever you call them. There have been documented cases of dogs sensing an unwelcome presence in their owners' homes and by their actions, alerting the owners. Can dogs actually "see" what we humans can't? Do they really have a sixth sense? Dogs show psychic abilities in several ways. One of these is knowing when a loved one is in danger or dying. They have also shown signs of mourning. I have seen my 3 dogs looking up at the ceiling, whining and barking. They were scared witless which in turn scared me because I didn't see anything up there. Was it a ghostly presence? I don't know for sure but I trust my dogs' senses. Energy can't be destroyed, it just changes form. Psychic energy and spiritual energy are all a part this phenomenon, and so animals might have as much of a connection to the unseen world as we do.
Fireworks- fear of fireworks is a common phobia for dogs. They often find the loud, unpredictable noise and bright displays of light truly frightening. Even a seemingly confident dog can tremble and drool at the unfamiliar sounds.
Thunderstorms- Dogs may develop astraphobia, or a fear of thunder/lightening.This can range from mild to severe from dog to dog. Dogs may also be able to sense a thunderstorm coming well before you are able to detect it. This is the reason so many dog owners report seeing their dogs exhibit signs of fear several minutes or longer before the storm actually hits.
Fear of the Vet- Also quite common in dogs. I have seen Layla, my Rott, cower in fear at the vet's office before we even went in! Going to the vet is a traumatic experience for dogs;there are strange smells and sounds,maybe a memory of getting shots. Sometimes all this takes place when your dog is already not feeling well. Quite understandable in my book.
Beards, jackets, hats- many of us have heard and subscribe to the belief that dogs are a great judge of character. If your dog shows fear or aggression when he is introduced to someone we automatically think second thoughts about that person because something undefined has spooked the dog. It could be as simple as the person has a beard, or is wearing a hat and the dog finds this scary because the dog wasn't adequately socialized (not exposed to varied people/places/things) during puppyhood. I wouldn't rule out the "great judge of character" thing totally though.
Other dogs- Dogs are pack animals. That means they form stable social units and protect territory from other dogs. A dog that is afraid of other dogs may have developed the problem as the effects of bad puppyhood experiences with other (bigger) dogs. If your puppy gets frightened by another dog, even without injury, you have the start of a problem. With a few more incidents like that, you get a permanent fear built for the future unless you take immediate corrective action.
How to Tell When Your Dog is Afraid
Dogs communicate using their bodies. Keep the following signs of fear in mind so you can easily catch on to even the slightest hint that your dog is anxious and stressed about something in his environment.
Tail tucked between the hind legs
Raised hair on the back of the neck
Some dogs exhibit specific behaviours when they are anxious or afraid:
Clinginess to owner
Dilated pupils or seeing the whites of a dog's eyes
Loss of control over bowels or bladder
If you notice your dog exhibiting one or more of these signals try to identify the source of your dog's fear. Most important- keep calm! Your body language can tell a dog that there is a reason to be afraid. Your dog will sense anxiety and nervouness and respond accordingly. You can desensitize your dog from mild fears and phobias fairly easily on your own but I would recommend a vet or a dog behaviour specialist for severe cases to protect you and your dog as a frightened dog can become aggressive.
Is your dog freaked out by something weird? Let me know!
"Aromatherapy is a caring, hands-on therapy which seeks to induce relaxation, to increase energy, to reduce the effects of stress and to restore lost balance to mind, body and soul." Robert Tisserand
Aromatherapy- the use of selected fragrances and lotions and inhalants in an effort to affect mood and promote health (Wikipedia)
Many folks(myself included) today are familiar with and actively use aromatherapy in our homes ,cars, and offices with scented candles, oils, gels and sprays. We know the immediate effect that certain scents have on our emotional state, and how a particular scent triggers memories in our minds -positive or negative.
Essential oils are liquids that are distilled from the leaves, stems, bark, roots or a combination of these parts of a plant. Essential oils contain the real "essence" of the plant from which it was distilled, in other words-a highly concentrated liquid
These essential oils provide valuable psychological and physical benefits not only to us humans but to our best friends, dogs.
The thoughtful use of essential oils is an excellent NATURAL way to help calm your dog, whether hyperactive, fearful, anxious or agitated. Many common tranquilizers for dogs (such as Valium) can leave your dog drugged or disoriented. Herbal tablets which are ingested by the dog take time to digest and be absorbed into its bloodstream- essential oils are inhaled and affect your dog almost immediately. That's good news for you and your dog since it is estimated that a dog's sense of smell is 100,000 times better than a human beings! The moist leathery surface of your dog's snout is the source of it's super senstive sense of smell.
Noteworthy- Do NOT use pure or undiluted essential oils on your dog or yourself! Please consult a qualified aromatherapist for information on massaging your pet using essential oils. Different oils can cause allergic reactions in humans and dogs!
How it Works
When I first heard about aromatherapy for dogs, I had (weird) visions of lighted candles and incense sticks surrounding my poor dog Gizmo while he cowered in fear during a thunderstorm. Thankfully it's NOTHING like that- a fragrance blend is usually misted around the room at regular intervals to soothe and calm your dog. I can testify as the owner of a very timid little dog that it really does work.
You can train your dog to respond in a particular way to a certain stimulus, including a particular smell. If your dog is scared of thunderstorms for example, you can frequently use calming oils/ fragrances WHEN YOUR DOG IS CALM so that he begins to associate the particular scent you use with a calm state of mind. This method can be used in conjunction with treats or affection so that your dog associates the scent with positive, happy experiences.The scent becomes a trigger for your dog's postitive experience.When you notice your dog becoming agitated by an approaching thunderstorm, you can reduce his or her anxiety level by misting the area with the particular fragrance you have trained your dog to associate with "I'm calm". The effect of the aromatherapy can last anywhere from 30-60 minutes. This goes a long way toward helping your pet keep its fear level down. You may then consider giving your pet a herbal calming remedy if the storm is particularly severe or if you can't stay home with your dog.
Different Scents Do Different Things
Here's a quick guide to some essential oils and what they help-
To alleviate anxiety- bergamot, cedarwood, frankincense, lavender, patchouli, rose,sandalwood
To boost confidence- bergamot, cypress, jasmine, rosemary,grapefruit
To alleviate fear- bergamot, cedarwood, grapefruit, jasmine, lemon, rosemary, patchouli, sandalwood, orange
For panic/panic attacks- frankincense, lavender, rose
For insecurity- bergamot, cedarwood, frankincense, jasmine, sandalwood
A Paws-itive link!
Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy Using Essential Oils, A Dog Owner's Manual by Tracey Peapell