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Question
Posted by: Jean | 2011/06/15

Scared dog

Hi Scotty
We have a 7 year old mixed breed female dog, bit of labrador and lots of others mixed in, so she is quite big and weights about 25kg. She is a lovely dog but a bit neurotic. The problem is that she is petrified if the wind blows and a door or window rattles or bangs. She starts shaking and if we are in bed sleeping she tries to climb on top of our heads or get under the blankets. Her bed is next to ours and she has free reign to go outside as the door is always open, or anywhere else in the house . Most times after this happens she gives of a horrible smell, obviously from being scared. She is not scared of crackers or thunder just a rattling door or window. Is there perhaps something we can give her when she is so scared? We also have 2 huskys and this does not bother them at all. Thanks.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi Jean, how terrifying for a dog to be scared of something so common. this can be helped and i really would suggest that your learn how to do the basic TTouch which will go a long way to helping her cope. what you can do as well is to slowly desensitize her to each thing she is scared of one by one. Until you learn the Ttouch have a look on the friendsofthedog site for an article in Dog Stuff on adopting a shelter dog. There are two basic touches at the end you can start with.
1. The first thing you need to do is to totally ignore her behaviour - if you pay attention to her you are justreinforcing the fear - a hard one as we as humans tend to try and comfort.
2. Give her a safe place to go too when she is scared. At present she is trying under the bedclothes, so use a crate, inside a cupboard, large sized box in your bedroom that she can go inside of. To get her used to this start giving her a bone to shew there, thereby making the association a pleasant one. Dogs are naturally den animals and adapt to hiding places easily.
3. What you need to do is to tape the sound of the wind onto a tape recorder firstly.
4. Have her in the room with you and start to play with her with toys, balls etc. then put the sound of the wind on the tape on very, very softly. Continue to play with her. This will help her start to associate the sound of the wind with a rewarding expereince.
5. Gradually build up the sound of the noise of the wind, until she is happily playing with it going full ball.
The funny thing is a dog will be desensitized to something like this in one room of the house, but will react in another, so do change around the rooms so she is ok in any area of the house.
In addition to the Ttouch i would suggest that you get a Good Behaviour Pheromone Collar from the vet for a few months, especially while you are doing the desensitizing. These collars contain the pheromones a bitch release when giving birth and serve to calm a dog down - they recognize the smell throughout their lives. It also contains some Lavelnder and Chamomile essence which further relaxes the dog.
If the behaviour is very severe, i would also suggest chatting to your vet about her going onto medication such as Clomicalm for a period of time while you are bringing in the changes.
You will work in the above manner for each and every noise she is fearful of. Good luck and do let me know how you go, thanks Scotty

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Our users say:
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011/06/15

Hi Jean, how terrifying for a dog to be scared of something so common. this can be helped and i really would suggest that your learn how to do the basic TTouch which will go a long way to helping her cope. what you can do as well is to slowly desensitize her to each thing she is scared of one by one. Until you learn the Ttouch have a look on the friendsofthedog site for an article in Dog Stuff on adopting a shelter dog. There are two basic touches at the end you can start with.
1. The first thing you need to do is to totally ignore her behaviour - if you pay attention to her you are justreinforcing the fear - a hard one as we as humans tend to try and comfort.
2. Give her a safe place to go too when she is scared. At present she is trying under the bedclothes, so use a crate, inside a cupboard, large sized box in your bedroom that she can go inside of. To get her used to this start giving her a bone to shew there, thereby making the association a pleasant one. Dogs are naturally den animals and adapt to hiding places easily.
3. What you need to do is to tape the sound of the wind onto a tape recorder firstly.
4. Have her in the room with you and start to play with her with toys, balls etc. then put the sound of the wind on the tape on very, very softly. Continue to play with her. This will help her start to associate the sound of the wind with a rewarding expereince.
5. Gradually build up the sound of the noise of the wind, until she is happily playing with it going full ball.
The funny thing is a dog will be desensitized to something like this in one room of the house, but will react in another, so do change around the rooms so she is ok in any area of the house.
In addition to the Ttouch i would suggest that you get a Good Behaviour Pheromone Collar from the vet for a few months, especially while you are doing the desensitizing. These collars contain the pheromones a bitch release when giving birth and serve to calm a dog down - they recognize the smell throughout their lives. It also contains some Lavelnder and Chamomile essence which further relaxes the dog.
If the behaviour is very severe, i would also suggest chatting to your vet about her going onto medication such as Clomicalm for a period of time while you are bringing in the changes.
You will work in the above manner for each and every noise she is fearful of. Good luck and do let me know how you go, thanks Scotty

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