If your dog is acting like Cujo with his salivating, trembling and barking, he's not creating a reign of terror. He's probably agitated. Crowds and loud noises are a few reasons dogs become scared and nervous. There are ways to calm your pooch before his agitation becomes a full-blown phobia.
Avoid the Stimuli
Loud noises and crowds are common situations that can agitate your dog. Fireworks, thunderstorms, children yelling and lots of activity can cause trembling, shaking and the desire to escape. If your dog reacts to loud noises and crowds, avoid high activity situations. If a storm is approaching, provide a safe haven for your pooch, such as a crate covered with a blanket, a room with no windows or a basement area that will muffle the sound.
Sometimes simple distractions can calm your dog. Kong toys provide focus for your pooch because he concentrates on getting the treats out of the toy instead of the noises that agitate him. Play with him by tossing a ball or wrestle with him on the floor. Giving him a gentle massage is another distraction that may work. If you have never massaged your dog before, begin massaging him regularly, so he becomes accustomed to the activity and the touching.
Your pets pick up on your own fears and behaviors. If you are nervous, your pooch can sense it. Remain calm during stressful situations, such as an approaching storm. Talk in a calm voice and avoid telling your dog to be quiet. Begin to yawn. Dogs will yawn to calm themselves, so if you start yawning, your dog may start to yawn. It could be enough to help him relax and ignore the stimuli that caused the anxiety.
There are a number of therapeutic jackets on the market to help your dog during anxious situations. The jacket actually hugs your dog and creates pressure that can soothe his stress.
A calming cap will hinder your pup's vision. He will see enough to navigate around, but it will decrease any visual stimuli that may upset him.
Drugs are also available for dogs with fear and possible phobias. Your veterinarian may suggest diazepam, chlorazepate or alprazolam.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.