Soothing Your Dog’s Fears

Some dogs become panicked in certain situations. This can be their personality or be triggered from a situation in their past.

Anxious Dog

Whatever the reason, you need to do what you can to calm your dog’s fears as much as possible. When your dog starts to pant, you’ll know he is anxious and feeling fear. Here are a few things that might stress your dog, what you can do about them.


More dogs run away on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. The loud noises are more than they can bear and they bolt in fear.

  • The best thing you can do is keep your dog inside as much as possible during the week of Independence Day and the same for New Year’s.
  • Let him out to do his business, but don’t let him stay in the backyard. Dogs can jump a fence if they are scared enough.
  • If your dog uses a crate, be sure they have access to it. My dog runs for the safety of his crate when the fireworks get loud.


Loud thunder, heavy rain and lightning scares many dogs. They might run under furniture to hide or run through the house in a panic.

  • Put your dog in his kennel until the worst of the storm is over.
  • You might want to try a thunder jacket. Many dog owners swear that these vests calm their dogs during storms.

Dog Afraid of the Storm

Separation Anxiety

This is hard to deal with because it happens when you’re not home. Your neighbors may complain that your dog barks the entire time you’re gone. Dogs are social animals and they don’t like being home alone for long period of time.

  • Try to spend as much time with your dog as possible.
  • Take him for long walks so he can get some vigorous exercise.
  • Consider taking your pet to doggy day care so he won’t be alone during the day.
  • Pay a retired neighbor or teenager to come spend some time with your dog while you’re gone.
  • Hire a pet walker to take your dog out during the day.
  • Confine your dog to one small room when he’s home alone and leave on a television or radio for noise.

You can even buy a dog monitor that will allow you to talk to your dog from your telephone while you’re at work, so you can try to calm him down when he’s anxious.

Other Dogs

Some dogs simply hate other dogs. They are probably feeling fear and therefore act aggressively. This is often the case with small dogs. They’ll yap incessantly while a large dog just looks at them with confusion, as if to say, “What are you barking at”.

  • Try to slowly socialize your dog with other dogs. You might start with just visiting a friend or neighbor who has a dog.
  • Never leave your dog unattended with another dog. Hold your dog at first until he calms down. Then try to put him on the floor but keep him on a leash.
  • Take your dog to obedience class. He’ll be exposed to other dogs and the teacher may be able to give you suggestions on training him to accept other dogs.
  • Visit a dog park where he’ll be around other dogs. Always keep him near you and on a leash.

Remember, that some dogs will always have a fear of other dogs. You can try to improve the situation but you might not be able to remove the fear completely.


Small children seem threatening to some dogs. They are not used to these little humans who are on the same level and can look them in the eye.

Unhappy Puppy

This fear is often justified. Small children like to grab at dogs and hug them too hard, or pull their tails. If you have children you need to train them how to treat the dog.

  • When your children are toddlers it’s best to keep them away from the dog unless you’re nearby.
  • Teach your children not to bother the dog’s food or try to take away the dog’s toys. A dog will snap if he thinks he’s being harmed or if his territory is being invaded.
  • If young children are visiting your home, and you know your dog is scared of children, it’s a good idea to keep your dog safely in another room where he won’t be teased or loved too much.

Even though there are hundreds of videos on Facebook showing dogs playing with children and letting the children pull their fur, this is not always the case. Never take for granted that your new dog won’t snap at a child if he’s scared.

Last Resort

If your dog shows extreme signs of anxiety and nothing you do seems to calm his fears; you should talk to your vet.

Medications are now given to dogs, as well as to people, to help them deal with the stress that causes anxiety. But this is usually an extreme measure. Hopefully these tips will help you to help calm your dog and make their life happier.

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