Things That Scare Dogs

Updated on February 9, 2016

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.

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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.

Here goes...

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.

Flattened ears

Tail tucked between the hind legs

Cowering

Lip licking

Yawning

Raised hair on the back of the neck

Some dogs exhibit specific behaviours when they are anxious or afraid:

Whining

Submissive urination

Growling

Biting

Pacing

Destructiveness

Clinginess to owner

Drooling

Panting

Trembling

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

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

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Tell me what you think!

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    • profile image

      Hannah 

      3 months ago from Texas

      My Yorkie goes into a panic mode when anyone’s text notification goes off. When you send out or receive a text he runs into anyone’s room that has an open door and hides under a bed or any crevasse he can stuff himself into. It’s possible the frequency might hurt his ears, but we just keep our phones on vibrate now.

    • profile image

      Larry Pyatt 

      3 months ago

      I just got a 4 month old mix. She is a rescue, she adopted me and my lab and terrier. She is very smart and loving. After had her 2 weeks she started to stare at the ceiling and walls in fear and hiding under the bed. I sit with her and reassure her everything is all right.

    • profile image

      Niko 

      8 months ago

      This has helped me a little bit I see some symptoms that you have explained but this is different it's 12 o'clock in the afternoon the house is not familiar to dog and I've never seen him in 6 years is 4 years old I have never seen him act this way it's almost like a kiote I or Wolf came by in left their cent add I'm not sure if that's enough to scare a dog because they are a dog family if anything my dog would attack that smell because hes a killer hes already killed rabbits possums squirrels racoons but today is very weird it's raining right now but actually it's drizzling Snover raining is barely raining and hes just all over me like like there something that happened as different it's very strange

    • profile image

      Jack Hansen 

      23 months ago

      Yesterday my dog was out early in the morning. We heard him do his alarm bark a few times, and then we called him in. He has been spooked since, not wanting to leave the rooms upstairs and trying to hide in closets and under beds... it was not yet light and we don't know what happened to him. The weather was normal. We live in Texas so we suspect it could've been a large animal or something but he has been terrified since.

    • profile image

      Buddy's mom 

      2 years ago

      I am always finding my little Pomeranian under my bed, she is always shaking when I take her out, she immediately goes back under the bed. I have had my house smudged. Should I try the lavender or a priest.

    • profile image

      Em 

      2 years ago

      my dog is freaked out because we have these big springs in our house (my dad makes springs) and they moved while we were playing fetch so now he won't go anywhere near them

    • profile image

      rose merry 

      2 years ago

      my dog is acting werird she is whining not going near the hall way and tail bhinde her legs we have looked out side nothing i think she saw a ghost......

    • profile image

      caol 

      2 years ago

      I have

      9 month old boston terrier she always sleeping she don't like sound of thunder and lighting lately she always shaking she don't like the cold air

      or there something else that scare her so let her sleep in the bed with me

      I have a doggie bed right beside Saturday I took to the park they have for dogs she like there

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I Live For Hunting Season! But We Have A Basset Hound, " Lucy ". She Is Terrified Whenever She Sees Me Dressed In All Camo Clothing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      When I cup my hands around my mouth and fake bark my dog runs around looking for the other dog

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      How on earth can you say there are documented cases of dogs "sensing an unwelcome presence" when there are not even any documented facts or evidence about paranormal activity in the first place. Psychic and spiritual "energy" is just a name some people made up. As far as we know this so called "energy" has nothing to do with the fundamental forces of the physics which is what we normally refer to when saying things like energy can not be destroyed. Please if you have real evidence of "psychic energy" being linked to one of the four fundamental forces of universe or evidence of ghosts, afterlife, etc let the rest of us know because you are in possession of the greatest scientific breakthrough of the century.

      Otherwise you are offering nothing to help answer these questions.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I have an 8 year old toy poodle.I started noticing he didn't want to be near the living room or my room. He always acts scared around the same time everyday which is at around 5-10. Do you have any advice on what I should do?

    • profile image

      sandypron 

      6 years ago

      I adopted a cocker spaniel .3 weeks ago.She is not spayed and 6 yrs. old. She's the best dog in the house.and listens ..she knows some basics ..Well...I noticed she hates to go outside...first it was at night now its pretty often...I have lights out there..I sit out there and she just face the screen door forever...I've left her out for an hour and she just sits there..no barking or whining NOTHING she is worse on a leash..OMG she seems to zone out or something..she pulls soo hard she broke the clasp and a ring off her collar..I've been trying "Ceaser" advice about me becoming pack leader ...She was pulling so hard that she was on her hind legs and choking her self ...and going after anything!!! She tried to get out my car window ..4" it was open and I'm driving 55 and I looked and she had her shoulder out the window..her back feet on the armrest...She's nuts...any advice??? Do you want her lol Sandy

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I stumbled across this article when I noticed my dog was acting weird outside on our walks. I live in a condo complex and he is fixated and terrified of a few of the cars in the parking lot. This is just happening today and I am a true believer in the paranormal and dogs seeing/knowing things people don't. These cars are not new and he has never had a problem with them before. I thought maybe coyotes were in the woods because they are near each other but it wasn't the woods, as we walked through them with a flashlight and leash in one hand, and a hunting knife in the other. Once we got back out and next to the cars, eyes got big, tail between the legs, and pulling me away. I almost want to call the cops but don't want to be the crazy guy who thinks his dog knows something

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      We have 2 70 pound Labs. Both react the same to the tiny little timer ding on my toaster.. Total fear. hide behind my legs and tremple for as much as 15 minutes. I pet and reassure them that all is well, but they can't stop for up to 15 minutes.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      For some reason whenever I sing woooooooooo(slightly ghostly)he freaks out badly. i sing all the time(and it's not harshly) and he's never freaked out like this before-he even bit me once when i was holding him when i sing it

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      My dog is scared of me.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      My dog is afraid of the sound of springs in the couch. If I pull on the spring he gets really freaked out.

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      My dog has got a bite from a bigger dog and now he's always aggressive to other dogs. Is that because he's afraid and wants to defend himself? What can i do to it?

      I'm sorry for the english but i don't speak it

    • Sugar Rush1973 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sugar Rush1973 

      8 years ago

      @anonymous: Hi Steph, could it be that your dog picked up on your nervous energy from watching scary movies? Our pets are extremely sensitive to our state of mind, so try to keep calm when your dog is near to soothe him. Oh- you're a girl after my own heart since I love scary movies!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      8 years ago

      I have been watching scary movies for a few hours. I think my dog is scared of them. He was fine through the first movie but now he is clingy, shakey. I know he gets scared when the wind slams the screen door but I think the movie scared him which made the screen door that much more frightening to him.

    • profile image

      grannysage 

      8 years ago

      My cat was in the kitchen last night and ran out in a hurry. Since she usually waddles, we knew there was something that scared here. We do have trouble with pesky fairies at times. I wonder if the aromatherapy would work for my Wileykat who is afraid of everything. I might give it a try (well he is addicted to catnip). Some very good information here.

    • Sugar Rush1973 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sugar Rush1973 

      8 years ago

      @PNWtravels: Hope they work for your dog- the aromatherapy was especially calming for my dog.

    • Sugar Rush1973 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sugar Rush1973 

      8 years ago

      @WeirdStuff: You're right! My terrier breaks her her neck barking out the car window barking at ppl on bicycles AND motorbikes.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 

      8 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      One of my border collies is very skittish and fearful of loud noises - I'll have to try some of these ideas to see if they help.

    • profile image

      WeirdStuff 

      8 years ago

      This is funny lens! :) My experience is that dogs hate bicycles!

    • Sugar Rush1973 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sugar Rush1973 

      8 years ago

      @SofiaMann: Great! Let me know how it works for you and your dog.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 

      8 years ago

      I'll try aromatherapy with my dog. Thanks for the advice.

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