There is hardly a cat or dog who isn’t afraid of something. Phobias develop early in life, and although some appear to stem from perfectly logical sources, such as loud noises or unfamiliar settings, others seem completely inexplicable. Just as people develop phobias arising from bad experiences or irrational panic, so do pets.
In today’s chaotic world, we are all plagued with free floating anxieties that persist in the face of our best efforts to quell them. Pets, too, have this dread of the unknown, were seemingly ordinary objects and experiences can become the stuff of nightmares. A truck barreling down the street can be transformed mentally into a fire breathing monster; a pleasant trip to the country can become a torturous ordeal. The pet owner can resolve these phobias, however, with the correct diagnosis and plenty of patient therapy. The treatment is to break the problem into its smallest possible components and worked very slowly and gradually up to the point where you include the sight, sound, or experience in your pet’s repertoire. There are even animals who seem to be afraid of everything. These under socialized pets need an enormous amount of gradual exposure in all areas and lots of tender loving care.
There are hundreds of different phobias–each individual and each pet has his own twist on a certain problem. But it is important to remember that each specific fear can be treated. Whether it’s going through a revolving door or riding in an elevator or anything else, it’s always a manageable if you handle it properly. Make the experience a play period, be understanding, and always build your pet’s confidence with lots of praise.