Pets have fears, but that doesn't, necessarily, make them a fearful pet. By: Liz Serda Schneider
Let's get right to it. As humans, most of us are afraid of maybe a handful of things like spiders, the dark or of flying; but that doesn't make us pantophobic. If we have a specific phobia, we might feel intense anxiety, but with pantophobia, we would feel extreme anxiety and fearful of many things. [https://www.healthline.com/health/pantophobia#definition]
Some pets are afraid of thunder; some pets are afraid of fireworks and some of motorcycles; and some pets seem to be afraid of nothing at all. A true fearful pet generally has a vaster range of things that they are afraid of unfortunately. By vast I mean, numerous and here a just a few:
If your pet has one or two, he is not considered a "fearful" pet. BUT definitely respect their fear. You may not understand their fear, but their fear must be handled with care, and it is real to them. Speak calmly, reassure them it is okay and if they want to hide, let them hide and even provide them with a safe space that is all their own.
If your pet has all or most of what I have listed above, then, yes, consider them a fearful pet. The absolute first thing that you want to do is let your trusted Veterinarian evaluate the dog and assure that your pet is not ill, injured or in pain in any way. When pets are ill or feel pain, they will hide and their behavior often mimics a fearful pet because they don't want to be bothered or touched, they may not want to eat either. Once you rule out, by your Vet, that he is healthy, then you can take steps to help his fear(s).
There are several signs that a pet may be experiencing fear or anxiety; here are the most common ones:
An excerpt from the AKC on Fears vs Phobias:
Dealing with a Fearful Dog
“Living with a fearful dog can be stressful and frustrating. Treating phobias takes patience, time, and consistency. This can feel impossible, especially when excessive barking angers neighbors and landlords. Perhaps the most stressful component is the risk of an accidental dog bite from a fearful dog or a dog that may jump or run through a window or into the street.
Luckily, there are steps pet owners can take to help their dogs deal with phobias, beginning with a visit to their veterinarian as soon as possible. According to Dr. Klein, phobias may worsen with time, and they rarely resolve on their own. In some cases, they can even lead to new phobias, so the sooner you take action the better.
Veterinarians and board-certified veterinary behaviorists recommend behavior modification techniques as a first line of defense. These techniques, such as desensitization, help dogs manage their fearful behavior. There are medications available to relieve distress, however, most drug therapies work best in conjunction with behavior modification and are not an instant cure.”
I, personally, just completed a course on dog behavior from the Victoria Stilwell Academy and there are so many alternatives to help your pet; from medications to behavior modification and always love and lots of patience. But it takes your veterinarian to rule out illness or pain. He may prescribe Prozac or some similar type of medication to help your dog feel more confident so that he can be able to discern, in his own mind, what he believes that he can handle, not us.
Behavior modification offers many types of treatment, on their level, to help with certain fears. Talk to a behaviorist that can come to your house and observe and evaluate. We can offer Freework exercises that help with so many different fears. Freework is an enjoyable and stimulating activity for dogs that provides them with opportunities to build confidence around new or unusual objects, expend energy, and receive mental stimulation. By engaging in Freework, dogs can develop calmness, positivity, and a sense of security. Freework is done in many different forms to address different types of fear,
But above all, if you only get one piece of information out of this article, I hope it is RESPECT YOUR PET'S FEARS; your pet respects yours, doesn't he?
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