Dogs feel mostly what their owners feel but in a simpler way.
This means that dogs sometimes also feel fear. Although it is an unpleasant feeling, it has a fear of its beginnings as a useful evolutionary product. Today, it is known that dogs with people share all basic emotions. Their emotional life is not as complex as ours, but one of the feelings they possess is – fear.
Fear, no matter how unpleasant it is, it essentially contains a very important and useful component – it helps us to survive.
What is it, in fact, fear? By definition, fear is a form of emotional experience that arises under different circumstances. Depending on the nature of these, justly mentioned circumstances, all fears can be divided into
- real fear
- neurotic fear
- moral fear
The real fear
The real fear in a dog occurs when a dog sees the danger of an object (car, for example) or phenomena (shotgun, thunder) that endanger the existence and functioning of the organism.
This type of fear has its own physiological basis and is nothing but a physiologically justified defense reaction and the preservation of the integrity of the biological entity. According to Feddersen-Petersen, the real fear is a positive phenomenon in nature and is instinctively embedded in the genes of all conscious living beings over millions of years of participating in ecological food chains.
Real fear in the dog can occur even when in the surrounding world, those who provide protection and safety, that is, the owners, are missing.
This fact can be very practical in the training of a young dog who has the habit of going away freely from his owner in a free walk.
It is necessary to remove from the look of a dog behind a bush or a tree and then invite a dog. Since the owner is hiding, the dog will be confused and will overcome the sense of real fear that he has lost the “leader of the pack”.
When after 10 seconds you come out behind the shelter, the feeling of fear in the dog will replace the pleasure of being there and you did not leave it. This method is very effective and the dog will learn very quickly that it can not be removed without your permission.
Neurotic fear is, unlike real, pathological fear. There are more theories about the nature of this fear, and they mostly rest on the knowledge of Sechenov and Pavlov. What is common to all theories is to link the neurotic fear of psychiatric disorders that occurred during the development of the individual.
All neuroses are created as a product of collaboration between the person and the environment.
However, like stunning dog intentions, and excessive environmental protection, it will lead to excessive vulnerability of the dog to a completely normal situation in one “dog” – life.
Puppies that did not come in contact with other dogs during the socialization phase will not be able to accept association with your friends’ dogs during a walk and experience this common situation as extremely frustrating.
All this will result in the manifestation of aggression towards a frustrating object, therefore, your friend’s dog. A dog may be frustrated, it will be followed by uncertainty and possibly other psycho-physical outbursts.
A neurotic fear may have a cause for a previous traumatic event. If the dog had a traffic accident, in which it was hit by a car, the dog will show symptoms indicating the survivor’s inconvenience near the road or vehicle.
Trauma can be a much less drastic noise-related event, e.g. strong and sudden noise or sound can also be an initial traumatic experience that leads to the appearance of neuroses in the dog.
Bearing in mind that all neuroses are a form of learned unconfirmed behavior, in 1969, dr. Bandur introduced the model theory to the public.
According to this theory, neurotic fear can be “learned” by staying close to a person who shows such fear. This practically means that a neurotic fear can be transmitted even from the owner to the dog! The reversed situation, that neurotic fear is transferred from a dog to man, has not yet been confirmed in practice, but this does not make it impossible.
The elimination of these psychiatric disorders in adult dogs is not described in the literature, but much is involved in the prevention or prevention of factors that could lead to inappropriate neurotic behavior, primarily in young dogs and puppies.
We still have a moral fear that is essentially a sense of guilt. It is, in principle, attributed to the existence of conscience. Since the ability to link events in time and space to a dog is a question of great significance, this category of fear can be accepted without any reservations.
It is certain that the dog connects certain actions with a reward or punishment, yet it remains to be established whether the dog, who does something after which the sentence is followed, does indeed have a sense of guilt or is an ordinary fear of punishment. Probably the answer also depends on our approach to this issue.
What Are Dogs Scared Of? How to Help Dogs Overcome Their Fears
Fear in urban areas
It’s quite natural to be afraid of some things, but the problem is when fear arises that makes it difficult for us to function. Dogs often do this, especially in the city environment.
Nothing strange – urban surroundings are full of experiences and phenomena that, from a dog’s perspective, may seem daunting. There are loud sounds, huge creatures, a multitude of different people of all ages and looks, fuming interiors and many other things.
It is therefore important to gradually train the dog to anything that can be experienced in the city. There are people, other dogs, and different situations. This process is called socialization and its key part is played in the first months of his life.
It is said that what a dog does not experience during this period for him later can be a problem for a lifetime. In principle, this is how dogs can get used to new phenomena and later. Still, it goes a bit harder.
Dogs do not really have such a wide range of feelings and states as humans, but their emotions control them more than us. Every dog owner who has ever frightened something knows what it is about. If the fear is negligible, our friend may only breathe faster and breathe, or if he is strong, the dog can be totally frustrated, panicked, and then there is no other way than to leave the dog away from the source of that fear.
It is important that you do not try to calm it either by word or touch because this behavior in dogs does not work the same way as in humans and in the long run, can also aggravate dog behavior. Praise him and anoint him as soon as he cares.
Closer to the holidays, during which we rejoice and give each other, but for many dogs, this period represents the worst part of the year. No one is thinking about a piece of chicken or some interesting toy when he shoots and falls for days, and that always surprises our dogs.
Many dogs are frightened by fireworks, but not all. The genetic predisposition is not a negligible factor, and it is possible that the root of this type of fear lies in the fear of lightning, of which it can really hurt in nature.
Fear of hunting dogs
Working, hunting, and official dogs should not be afraid of loud sounds, it’s in the ‘job description’. Anyway, there’s more trouble with the festive shooting.
There are hunting dogs, for example, who are not afraid of shooting a rifle, but in the New Year’s Eve, they lose their sense of fear. It seems that the sound of fireworks has several elements that scare them. It’s loud, scratchy, it’s not possible to clearly determine where it comes from, and some argue that dogs are sensitive enough to even feel his echo on the asphalt.
The real question is, ‘What to do?’ Many dog owners do not celebrate the New Year at various parties but spend their time in the bathrooms and anteroom of their apartments with their pets.
Fear of firecracker can be solved or at least mitigated by gradual acclimatization, but when December arrives, it’s too late for that. Fortunately, there are various tranquilizers that we can help our dogs.
In spite of the advice of some veterinarians, it is better to avoid anxiolytics for people (sedatives). It is better, at least during the loudest days, to give the dog syrups or pills on a plant-based (Valeriana) that calms him but does not make him unconscious.
Also, if your dog feels safer at home, stay longer in her and lessen it with unpleasant experiences.
When the holidays pass and the dust shrinks, you can begin to work on redeeming fear.
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