dog behind fenceFear is a difficult thing to overcome. It is built-in in all of us to keep us from danger. It is not only present in humans, but in animals as well.

Your dog inherited its temperament from the dogs that make up its family tree. However, this doesn’t mean that confident parents will produce a confident offspring. Your dog from might have inherited its temperament from a predecessor a few generations back. And of this fear is hardwired into the brain, it would be nearly impossible to overcome it.

Techniques that can help your dog overcome fear

Experts recommend gentle exposure to stimuli that causes the fear. In fact, experts believe that dogs should be exposed to all stimuli in can come in contact with, throughout its life.

To treat fear in dogs, you should expose it to that which causes the fear,briefly and frequently. This exercise should not add to the fear that is already present. Frequent but brief exposures is the best way to achieve this. Some experts believe in frequent but brief exposures but in increasingly large "doses" coupled with a distraction.

For example you are trying to overcome your dogs fear in firecrackers or loud noises. Play the firecracker sound (if you happen to have a recording) to your dog at a very low volume while it is eating. Repeat this in exercise and steadily increase the volume each time until fear becomes more manageable. If at anytime in during this program, your dog suddenly displays fear again. Stop the exercise for the day. On the next session try lowering the volume at a level lower than the last, then continue as before.

Some experts on the other hand, believe in gentle exposure to the source of the dogs fear plus offering a treat. For example, a dog who is afraid of a certain object is told to sit several feet away from the object then is offered a treat. The object then, is placed nearer and the nearer until the dog learns to ignore it. Experts believe that the dog will think that even though the frightening object is nearby, something pleasant can happen.

Owners attitude

An owner’s behavior or attitude towards his/her dog is very important in overcoming fear. When your dog is frightened about something, do not "baby" your dog. It will think that it has done something good and will continue being afraid. On the other had, do not punish or scold your dog when it is afraid. It might only help escalate the fear and might even develop a fear of their owner.

Medication

Fear is not an ailment, therefore drugs are not really necessary. Fear is self-escalating, meaning once your dog is afraid, the fear will keep building until the owner has difficulty handling the dog when it is confronted by the source of its fear.

In cases like this, medication are recommended to help the dog relax, so the owner can start fear treatment exercises. Note that medication should only be given (along with the treatment exercises) under a veterinarian’s supervision. The medication can be decreased over period of time until it is no longer needed.