Anxiety is extremely common among dogs, and some breeds tend to display anxious behaviors more than others. Listed here are the eight most common anxieties and fears experienced by dogs, as well as their symptoms.
Many dogs develop a fear of loud noises, such as fireworks, thunderstorms, and gunshots. Sometimes these fears develop because the dog is improperly socialized, or because of a negative experience. Other times dogs are simply predisposed to anxiety, and environmental factors further contribute to their fears.
Symptoms of noise anxiety include pacing, destruction, escape attempts, hiding, shaking/shivering, and avoidance at the onset of loud noises.
Another common fear is travel. Moving vehicles can be scary because they are unfamiliar, can cause motion sickness, or because the dog correlates travel with a scary experience, such as a veterinary visit.
Dogs that are afraid of travel may refuse entry into a vehicle or crate, tuck their tail between their legs while in the car, shake/shiver, and engage in self-soothing behaviors such as paw licking and chewing.
Dogs may find unfamiliar structures such as stairs or bridges frightening. The main cause of these fears is lack of socialization and introduction to these structures at a young age. Fear of these structures may be unwittingly encouraged when dogs are young because it is easy for owners to pick up puppies and carry them. However, this fear develops into a serious problem when the dog reaches adult size.
Likewise, dogs can develop fears of unfamiliar objects. Examples include trash cans, plastic bags, or flags. Like the fear of unfamiliar structures, dogs may be afraid of ordinary objects because they have not been properly socialized or have poor coping mechanisms for stress.
The most common signs that a dog is afraid of an unfamiliar object is barking/aggression towards the item or complete avoidance.