The Paw Print Blog

Pet Parenting Articles

What Scares Your Pet?

dog fears By Natalie Lester, PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist

In Emma’s short life, she has explored and discovered many things she loves – like swimming! However, there have also been a few situations where she isn’t comfortable and is obviously afraid. There are times I have wondered why she isn’t afraid of the vet, since she has had surgery and gotten shots there. But she loves her vet dearly and would probably live with her if I’d allow it.

The majority of Emma’s fears are associated with noise. If I get too busy in the kitchen and a pan clangs too loud against another or if I’m emptying the dishwasher and stacking the dishes is too loud for her preference, she is likely to take a few steps back. On the occasion vacuuming is necessary, all bets are off and she takes off under the bed. She runs so fast from the loud machine that juts back and forth across the floor with no rhyme or reason.

Similarly, she high tails it when I make a smoothie or fun weekend drink in the blender. She just can’t understand why appliances need to be so loud when they show no benefit – to her, at least! Another fear Emma has discovered lately is one of heights. I know I sound crazy.

How could a dog possibly be afraid of heights?

But, I assure you – Emma is. I recently moved into a new apartment and there is a sweet little patio where I can enjoy one of those weekend drinks I mentioned earlier. Yet, Emma refuses to come out and enjoy it with me. If she does come out, she won’t come past my chair and definitely not up to the rail to even think about looking down on whatever may be there.

A few nights ago, I pulled her up into my lap to sit with me in hopes it would calm her down, and she was trembling!! With Halloween and its scary offerings just around the corner, this all really got me to wondering how I could help Emma overcome some of her fears. I did my research and found that treats are the best way to create a positive experience with appliances.

Author and Trainer Kathy Diamond Davis offered different stages to help your pet feel more comfortable. She said to begin by just setting the device up in one room and offering your pet treats in another. As she becomes more comfortable, you can move the treat dispensing towards the device. Then, treat your dog as you turn the vacuum on and eventually as you move it around the room. It seems like the Lickety Stik will be a great option for this since it only takes one hand to treat your pet. I haven’t found any good fixes to help her cope with heights yet.

Does anyone have advice to share? What is your pet afraid of, and what have you done to help them overcome it? Share it with us in the comment section below!



As the PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist, Natalie manages The Paw Print blog and generates other brand related content including public relations and promotions. Before PetSafe, Natalie worked in the local media covering politics, education, and religion. Natalie’s puppy, Emma, spends almost as much time in the office as she does.    

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What scares my pets? Forcing them to wear Halloween costumes.

I think pets with a fear of heights have eyesight issues. My dog is a very nervous fella and one of his fears is stairs without a back; he can see through them. Therefore he refuses to go down to the basement.

Also jumping over something like say the dock to the boat. I believe this comes from either a depth perception issue or poor eyesight issue. Unfortunately we can’t properly test dog’s eyesight. If you can cover Emma’s eyes so she can’t see down she might be more comfortable.

We lived near a large leash free park. There were stairs going down to the river made of a patterned metal with spaces and no back. The only way to get Frank down the stairs was to either cover his eyes or somehow block his vision so he didn’t ‘see through’ the stairs. I would walk in front of him and make him look at me or my hands rather than where he was stepping.

For appliances I just think some dogs have hyper sensitive hearing for some tones. Frank is freaked when the blender is on but he can walk calmly through most fireworks. ??

Hi s biggest fear and a funny story. Wind. He’s petrified of wind at night. I tried sitting outside with him calmly talking and patting him to try and get him used to it, to no avail. One day my new partner was walking him and after pacing back and forth for several minutes until he found the exact perfect location to squat for a dump, Frank farted and took off for home. My partner couldn’t believe it. I said, “I told you he’s afraid of wind!”

Patti, thanks for reading and for the tips! Emma hasn’t ever had a problem up and down steps when she could see through them. I’ve never heard of a dog being afraid of wind before; Frank must be so special. :) I think pets’ fears make them bond even closer to us because they come to us to feel safe. Don’t you? Thanks again.

Felicia, Some pets really don’t enjoy dressing up and we should ever force them to do something they don’t understand. We’re glad you make the right decisions when it comes to your pets. Thanks for reading!

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