Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 29, 2013

Understanding and overcoming your pet's fears

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 “Some dogs experience anxiety and become distressed when they hear keys being picked up.  One way to desensitize them is to frequently pick up keys and then sit back at home or leave the house for a minute and then come back. The pet will slowly recognize to ignore these cues,” said Stickney.

A current market trend is tight-fitting pet jackets to aid in behavior. While these may help, they are shown to mostly aid in modifying mild behavior problems.

"The idea is that animals feel safe and secure when they are compressed, just like babies when they are swaddled," said Stickney.

To aid in more severe fears, specialized veterinary behaviorists prescribe a combination of behavioral medication and pharmacological treatments.

“Pharmacologic therapy only serves to help the behavior modification, there is no such thing as a single solution to fix the problem," said Stickney.

"The sooner you address these issues, the better it is because these fears do not go away on their own," said Stickney. "Nothing is easy about rearing a puppy. It's a big responsibility, but there are incredible benefits if you put in the time and effort early on."

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Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.

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