Posted by: Li | 2008-11-27

Dog Scared of a Fly?

Hi there,

My 5 year old jack Russell cross sheep dog is afraid of a fly. She goes into a complete state when one enters the room, she will try finding the smallest spot to squeeze into. Yet, if a Christmas beetle flies around she is fine with it.
We got her from the SPCA as a puppy and I don’ t recall her ever been exposed to something that could make her so terrified.
Is there anything I could do to try minimize the fear or do you perhaps have an explanation as to what this could be?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Li

This is a difficult one. To reduce the fear response on this one is not easy. I would suggest that you find a behaviourist in your area to try to resolve this.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2008-11-27

Couple of tips: do not fuss over her or comfort her when she' s cringing, because that will encourage the behaviour. Ignore it.

Also, try to ' teach'  her about a specific thing that' s huge fun - a particular toy, or treat, say - play with her with this when there are no flies around, until she gets really enthusiastic about it, and then once you' ve got that fixed in her mind, use that toy or treat to distract her if a fly is around, and be as enthusiastic as possible yourself. That way you might ' desensitise'  her to whatever is bothering her about the fly.

As a matter of interest: I used to have a dog that didn' t like flies either, but it was because I' d flail around with a fly-swatter, and she didn' t like that. So when she saw a fly, she' d leave the room, to avoid the swatter. And no, I never whacked her with it! My suggestion to you is related to this - where my dog associated the fly with the swatter, which she didn' t like, you need to teach yours to associate a fly with a toy which she DOES like.

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