Tips to Calm a Scared Dog
14 October, 2013
Each dog of ours has a different temperament, look and personality. Some dogs are very calm while some dogs can become scared of many different things. Thunderstorms, fireworks and very loud sounds are common causes that can scare our dogs. Or maybe your dog is frightened when he or she meets strangers, is away from you and/or finds unfamiliar objects or animals. And with Halloween around the corner, this is a time when some dogs get frightened.
There are different physical signs that are usually exhibited when your dog is scared ranging from suddenly taking off to other physical signs such as shaking, whining and urination.
Below are some tips to help you calm your dog
Try to identify the source of what scared your dog
Identify what has frightened your dog. While some dogs have anxious personalities, your dog is not likely to be scared for no reason at all. If you can, try to remove the cause of the fright or remove your dog from its vicinity. Once the source of the fear is gone, you can calm your dog more easily.
Find a place that will become a safe haven for your dog
Find and/or create a safe haven for your dog. Fear triggers a dog’s fight-or-flight reflex and any dog will run away if he or she is scared enough. Give your dog a place where he can feel safe and can calm himself when he is anxious or frightened. Cover a dog crate with a large blanket, and place soft blankets and familiar chew toys inside. You can also make a comfortable bed at the bottom of a closet or in a corner of a quiet bedroom. Teach your dog to retreat to this safe place when he’s scared, and let him calm down on his own.
Your dog is sensitive to your emotions; if you are upset, aggravated or annoyed with him, you won’t be able to help his emotional state. It is important to understand that your dog’s fear is a completely involuntary reaction; the dog is not trying to upset you. Make sure that you speak to your pup quietly and calmly in a voice that will reassure your dog; he or she is extremely vulnerable in this state.
Pet and/or stroke your dog to calm him or her down
Make sure to pet and/or stroke your dog to help calm him down. Your touch can encourage a calming feeling. Petting your pup gently or wrapping a towel around him can help calm him. This constant hug-like pressure helps calm him and promotes relaxation.
Try to have your dog become less vulnerable to his fears
One way to encourage your dog to calm down is to try to face the thing or sounds he fears most. By heading the fear head on, your dog with become a little more immune and each time, it will get easier for your pup. For example, if your dog’s afraid of thunderstorms, the next time he or she hears one, make sure you try the above and reassure him that he is OK with love, affection, calmness and a safe place to retreat. Or you can even turn up on a CD to drown it out and eventually lower the volume to assure your pup that the sound is really not that scary.
If none of the above helps your pup and you can’t identify the source of his or her sudden fear, it might indicate a medical problem. If this is the case, make sure to take your dog to your veterinarian for a complete checkup. Good luck!
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