The dogs also have emotions like us, and fear is one of them, like joy, sadness or nervousness. They can not choose to feel them, they are involuntary and that is why we can neither reinforce nor punish them. But we can increase or decrease the intensity of that emotion.
Dogs are often afraid of loud noises, such as a storm or fireworks. And when they get scared, they all show the same reaction and it is through their body posture. They tend to stay hunched, with a deviated look or dilated pupils, frown, moan, tremble or shiver, etc.
When you have such a situation, in which your dog is scared and you do not know what to do, here we leave some tricks to combat it.
- The best we can do is to act calmly. Do not shout or quarrel, because the only thing you’re going to get is to make the situation worse. Our dog takes us as a reference, and that is why we can teach him that things do not scare him, but without forcing him to do anything.
- Try to avoid caressing him. This is what we usually do as a reaction, but it only produces the opposite effect in our dog. He thinks that the noise he hears is dangerous, and that’s why we protect him. It increases your fear and that is why it is better to stroke him when he has relaxed.
- If you can avoid getting closer to the place where the noise comes from, the better. At home, you will feel more secure. We want it to overcome fear, not increase emotion. Dogs do not understand “shock therapies”, and the most important thing is to normalize that situation without forcing them to reduce their fear.
- Close windows, curtains or blinds. The lights of the fireworks or the rays of the storm that frightens you do not help you to calm down. Also, lowering the blinds will reduce the noise that scares you.
- Enable a place that is your refuge where you feel safe. Choose a place where there is less noise, take your things there (your blanket, your toys), and you will feel sheltered.
- If you are looking for a hiding place to feel safe, leave it there. Let it hide where you want and do not move it by force. If you see calm and your behavior is usual, it is easier to calm down and decide to leave your lair.
- Do not lock him up or leave him alone. Dogs are social animals and if you lock them up it does not help reduce their stress, but the effect is the opposite. You must accompany him and keep him entertained, with games or with some food.
- Listen to classical music. In some dog shelters, they play classical music at low volume to reassure these animals in times of fear. This helps your pet relax because overstimulation is counterproductive. Hyperactivity leads to stress, and a stressed dog is more sensitive to everything.
All of these tips may help calm your pet, but fear persists. If this is the case and we see it as a more serious problem, we should always consult with a veterinarian or animal behavior specialist. To look for the reassuring effect of mothers on their puppies, the use of pheromones is recommended but always controlled by the veterinarian. Sometimes, the prescription of some medication helps to reduce that fear, but you should never medicate your pet on your own since you can expose it to irreversible damage.
Sometimes, the treatment is extended over time, but hope should not be lost. With patience and persistence, you will be able to help your pet overcome its fears. Before what you expect you will get your pet is free of fears.