Dogs and their Fears

Last night someone set off a series of fireworks on my block. The noise woke Hank and he hurled himself off the bed and right under it. He was stressed out for the rest of the night and spent most of it under the bed. It made me think about the laundry list of things that he’s afraid of.

Hank has very many things that scare him. Inanimate yet odd objects like puppets, rocking horses and Halloween scarecrows send him into a defensive fury of barking. As do strangers who approach too quickly, people wearing hats or hoods, and heavy machinery. Some noises cause him to flee and hide like fireworks, motorcycles and the buzzing of insects (I know what caused this one & will blog about the story another time).
When I first brought him home (well after the critical socialization period was over) I was intent on making sure he was not storm phobic. We would go outside during storms and he’d get hotdogs during thunder. He used to be afraid of the Carroll Street bridge over the Gowanus, so we had a few dinners there. He’s slightly better about motorcycles, which was always his most intense fear, ever since he was inadvertently flooded with motorcycles one day while visiting my sister (which could have gone disastrously in the other direction).
The most serious fear cases I see are ones where the dog has generalized fear. Some fear the outside world, some are afraid of all people and some are afraid of everything.
On the other hand, I’ve seen some dogs that could use a healthy dose of fear. Knowing no fear they tend to barrel straight in to trouble.
Please share your dog’s fears with me. Are they manageable? Sad? Comical? Odd? Or, is your dog too bold? I’d love to hear your stories!

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