Getting A Dog Used To A Hair Dryer
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Is your dog afraid of hair dryers? While this small appliance may seem completely harmless to us humans, it is possible that your dog feels stressed or even frightened in the presence of a hair dryer. This is certainly common with dogs that have not been presented to them correctly. In addition, if you have an adult dog that is afraid of hair dryers, it is possible that they previously had a bad experience with them or loud noises in the past.
A certain dose of fear is totally natural for a dog to experience, especially when in contact with the unknown. However, if your dog is extensively scared or stressed of such objects, it is essential to consult your veterinarian to analyse its health status. In addition, in this AnimalWised article, we aim to teach you how to accustom a dog to a hair dryer and help them overcome their hair dryer fear.
Why some dogs are afraid of objects
The presence of an unknown and noisy object in a home can generate some distrust in our dogs. This is something natural, because all animals (including humans) have an instinct for survival. This instinct makes them flee or hide from the unknown, which represents imminent danger.
Undoubtedly, it is important to understand that fear is natural defense mechanism for dogs. This emotion alerts them to environmental dangers and in turn they avoid such dangers, thus favoring their survival. In addition, we must remember that our dogs have a very developed sense of hearing and many appliances (such as hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, etc.) create a lot of noise. Therefore, it is natural that they feel somewhat uncomfortable and want to avoid exposing themselves to these unknown, loud and annoying sounds.
Like us, dogs need to feel comfortable, safe and loved in an environment to consider it their home. If we impose the presence of a hair dryer, for example, without previous presentation or introduction, it is natural that this will spark the appearance of stress and anxiety in our dog. This could also cause a dog to feel fear and, in extreme cases, can result in the development of phobias. In addition, this reaction is dangerous for both the dog and other people in the environment.
Therefore, if you want to accustom your dog to a hair dryer, you should present it correctly. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and respect its time of adaption, always guaranteeing a positive and safe environment.
Getting a dog used to a hair dryer
The objective of this process is to positively "present" a hair dryer toy our dog. The aim is to teach your dog to associate to a hair dryer in a positive way and allow it to realize that this object is harmless. These steps can also be useful for dogs that experience mild or moderate fear. The goal of this guideline is to use positive reinforcement: allowing your dog the opportunity to associate a hair dryer as a positive element that can bring certain rewards.
Take note of this step by step guide on how to familiarize your dog with a hair dryer:
- For starters, we recommend leaving the hair dryer unplugged but within your dog's reach. This first contact needs to be done in a space where your dog feels safe and comfortable. In this time, you should not make any sudden movements with the hair dryer (especially with the cable). Leave the hair dryer on the ground and let your dog explore it through smell. It is natural that your dog, through its inherent curiosity, will want to explore and discover this new object present in its territory. You should encourage your dog to sniff and approach the dryer by using: kind words, caresses and treats, which you can leave near the dryer.
- Once your dog appears to feel calm in the presence of a hair dryer, you can move onto the second step. This step includes accustoming your dog to the noise which the hair dryer makes. In this stage, the main objective is to ensure that your dog observes how you, as their example, use the dryer safely and calmly, without fear or stress. It is a key aspect that your dog can perceive that you feel safe when using a hairdryer, therefore, you must pay close attention to your your body language. Aim to transmit feelings of serenity. Start using the dryer on its most gentle power level, blowing it onto your own skin for about 2-3 minutes. We recommend repeating this process several times a day, progressively increasing the time of use .
- When you notice that your dog is somewhat accustomed to you using the dryer (it doesn’t bark, show fear or moan) you can move onto the third and most delicate step of accustoming your dog to a hair dryer. This step consists of allowing your dog the opportunity of getting used to the hair dryer on its own skin. To start with, make sure that this process takes place in a calm and positive environment, ensuring your dog is always comfortable and relaxed. Some people even suggest putting on relaxing music to help calm the environment. First, use the dryer on yourself as you have been doing in step 2. If you are sure that your dog is used to the noise you can begin to blow smooth and short jets of warm air on its back, while also caressing your dog as you usually do. Do not make sudden movements and pay attention to the speed and the temperature of the hair dryer air, so as not to scare or burn your dog. You should also take into account your dog’s body language, to make sure that it is constantly comfortable.
Always remember the importance of recognizing your dog’s good behavior and awarding it appropriately. These rewards can come in the form of a prize, game or caress. You should notice that little by little, your dog will start to create a positive relationship with the hair dryer. The more accustomed your dog becomes with the hair dryer, the more it will associate it with a time of relaxation and affection.
It is always fundamental to remember that, depending on the individual animal, adaption time will vary and it is indispensable to respect it. You must never force your dog to live through an experience that is stressful, scary or threatening to them. Not only is this dangerous, but it will also prove to be counterproductive in their learning process and cognitive development. Invest in positive reinforcement to stimulate your dog’s cognitive, emotional and social abilities, as well as reinforcing your bond with your best friend.
What do I do if my dog is still afraid of a hair dryer?
If after performing this step by step guideline you notice that your dog is still uncomfortable, we suggest consulting a dog educator or ethologist. These professionals, provided they are specialized in behavior modification, can establish specific guidelines according to the specific needs of your dog. These guidelines will aim to help your dog overcome its fears and phobias, resulting in a better quality of life.
In addition, as we mentioned in the introduction, it is essential to consult your veterinarian if you notice any strange behavioral change in your dog. If your dog is very scared, stressed or restless, do not hesitate to go to a veterinary clinic to rule out any possible pathology that may be causing this appearance of fear.
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