Just like us, dogs can develop fears and phobias about things that make them worried or uncomfortable. To us, it can seem irrational but to them, it’s very real and scary and can cause them to react with aggression even if this isn’t their usual nature. Socialising your dog early when they’re young and utilizing the help of a professional dog trainer can both help. If you’re getting a dog, here are a few common phobias in dogs to be aware of, and how to prevent them.
Fear of travel and transport
For some dogs, riding in the car is so much fun. But for others, it can be a massive source of stress and anxiety. This can be a problem if you want to take your dog on trips with you, or even when you need to take him to places like the vet. The issue might be when you’re on walks, some dogs can fear things like cars, buses and bikes whizzing past, and others might try to chase them. Taking your pup on lots of car rides and taking him out on public transport when he’s young is the best way to prevent this from happening. Plan for some adventures with your pooch where you get out on public transport so he can get used to the sights and smells and you can teach him how to act appropriately.
While your dog might be fantastic with you and the people in your household, it's quite common for them to be fearful of strangers. This can be particularly problematic if you don't have many visitors if you don’t take your dog around others. Perhaps you work funny shifts so usually walk your dog at night when there are not many people around, or maybe you live in a more remote area. The problem is when they do need to interact with people, fear can easily become aggression. Whether you need to use boarding kennels or a dog walker when you go away or if you need to visit the vet, your dog being aggressive or fearful with others certainly isn’t an idea. Start small, take him on walks where there are other people around until he’s comfortable. Eventually, introduce someone new, have a visitor come to your home. If there are any signs of aggression this will need to be done by a professional dog trainer. You could use a dog muzzle for barking which will help with both barking and preventing biting when there are other people around.
While dogs are pack animals, there are many that plainly don’t like other dogs. In some cases, it might be that they need to be introduced properly which is where a professional comes in. Sometimes, due to things like aggression (even when it’s only occasionally such as food/ resource aggression) or fear, some dogs will need to be kept as only pets. It’s still definitely worth working with a trainer here, even if you won’t be socializing your dog with others ideally they will need to be able to walk past other dogs in the street on walks without too much stress.
What are some fears and phobias that your dog has?