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Top 10 Common Dog Fears And Phobias


What do dogs fear the most in life? Of course it varies from dog to dog, but dog fears do exist!

You may have noticed your dog getting a little shaky when you arrive at the vet. You may found your dog hiding in a narrow, dark place when there are fireworks outside! Their loud huffs, barks, and howls may sound brave, but your dog is probably barking in fear!

We’ve listed the most common dog phobias and dog fears!


#10 Fear of veterinarians

Top 10 Common Dog Fears And Phobias (5)This is a pretty common fear for dogs.

Let’s face it, bad things happen at the vet! Your poor dog’s at the vet because of sickness or injury, or for a checkup and vaccinations! Dogs are smart and all it takes is one visit for the association to set in.

The strange smell of antiseptics and bleach may be an additional factors. Also, the unfamiliar environment and different people handling your dog is quite intimidating.

But it’s probably the sting of the syringe, when they receive their immunizations that is the scariest for dogs. Not to mention an unfamiliar person sticking a thermometer in their rear end!


#9 Fear of objects

Top 10 Common Dog Fears And Phobias (4)Noisy and strange-smelling objects are fearful for many dogs.

Vacuums,blowers, lawn-mowers, and similar noisy man-made machines send many dogs off running.

A dog’s hearing is far, far more acute than hours. What sounds like a slight rumble to us, is a crashing noise for them.

Some dogs will become aggressive, while others will simply curl in their tails and leave. Either way, fear is the motivating factor.

Some dogs fear strange or strong-smelling objects such as candles, liniment bottles, and more.


#8 Fear of strangers

Top 10 Common Dog Fears And Phobias (7)Just like us, dogs are far more comfortable with the familiar!

Dogs who are not used to the company of many people may have this phobia, and fear strangers.

Dogs who fear unfamiliar people are probably used to being alone with their humans, or have not been properly socialized.

This fear is also prevalent in dogs who may have had a bad past. For these dogs, human beings are unpredictable, and therefore fearful! Only love and gentle encouragement can overcome this.


#7 Fear of men

Top 10 Common Dog Fears And Phobias (6)The fear of men is not common in well-balanced, well-loved dogs, but sadly it is quite prevalent in formerly-abused dogs.

Dogs who have this fear should be slowly introduced to men. This should be done carefully since scared dogs have a tendency to be aggressive when they perceive they are being provoked.


#6 Fear of cars

Top 10 Common Dog Fears And Phobias (2)While most dogs are always up for a car ride, some dogs fear riding in them or being anywhere near them.

Some rescued dogs may have acquired the fear from getting hit by a car. Some dogs are phobic about cars either because of a lack of exposure or getting car sick.

It is possible to overcome this fear using treats and praise while luring them in or near cars. Also make sure that your dog’s first car ride is lots of fun!


#5 Fear of stairs

Labrador Is Afraid Of The Stairs! Funny Lab Video!

Some dogs are afraid of stairs.

There could be a number of reasons for this. Your dog may have had a bad experience, like falling down the stairs. Perhaps your dog has never been exposed to stairs before. Unfamiliar things are scary for some dogs. It could also be a physical problem. Reluctance to go up or down stairs could indicate that it is painful for your pooch to do so.

To overcome this fear, you can try rewarding your dog with a treat every time they take a step, or put a treat on each step so your dog can pick them up as they go!


#4  Fear of being left alone

Top 10 Common Dog Fears And Phobias (1)Experts say that a dog’s biggest fear is that you will leave them and not return. This is true of all dogs. Most dogs thrive in the company of their humans. Laid-back, well-balanced dogs cope when left alone, but many dogs suffer from separation anxiety- the fear of being left alone.

Dogs with this fear tend to become destructive. They may also bark excessively when left alone.

Learn how to help your pup overcome separation here.  The question whether placebo can treat dog separation anxiety has also been raised.


#3 Fear of water

Labrador Retriever Has Fun In The CreekLabradors are definitely water lovers but it is a mistake to assume that all dogs love water! Some dogs absolutely hate it and many are so afraid that they won’t go anywhere near it!

A dog who is afraid of water, may have a bad experience when they were younger, or may simply not know what it is.

Gentle encouragement is required to overcome this dog phobia!


#2 Fear of rain and thunderstorms

Top 10 Common Dog Fears And Phobias (3)The sound of raindrops hitting the ground is strange and scary for some dogs, and the accumulative noise of raindrops falling around a dog is even worse.

If dogs find the sound of the rain frightening, thunder is absolutely terrifying! Astraphobia is very common in dogs though the degree varies from dog to dog. A dog’s hearing is so acute that the loud strikes and crashes can be almost deafening.

Some dogs are only mildly afraid while others shiver and tremble in absolute fear.


#1 Fear of fireworks

The fear of fireworks tops the list – this is probably the most prevalent fear in dogs!

Like thunder, rain, and noisy objects, the loud and unpredictable noises that fireworks make, leave most dogs trembling in fear.

During fireworks, make sure to keep your dogs in a room where they will feel safer. Dogs with severe firework phobia may need anti-anxiety medications or a sedative.


Image sources: Army MedicineEmery Way, Connie MaTom RoseIndi Samarajiva/Flickr