Achieving Balance and Harmony

DOG BEHAVIOR

Afraid of Telephone and Other Devices

Hello Mr. Millan,

We have four dogs, no real behavior issues other than the smallest one has become very afraid of telephones.

It started with cell phones, but now he runs outside if you so much as pick up a phone (we have a dog door and a pen), and it takes much coaxing to get him to come inside, even though our weather here has been in the 20s and he has little fur. He will lay in the snow shivering.

What can we do to get him past this? He is afraid of other things (vacuum, hairdryer, cameras, electric razor, etc.), but we can shield him from those. The phone is becoming a big problem though. I am hoping you can help, and you have some strategies we can use to desensitize him.

Thank you,

Peggy Cooper


Dear Peggy,

You need to create a good state-of-mind in your dog and then introduce the sound (or object) that makes him unstable. In order to create the right state, the dog must be engaged in a job that keeps his mind occupied.

In good weather, I would recommend a nice, long walk, but I understand that in twenty-degree weather this would be impossible! So I suggest investing in a treadmill and hiring someone who can teach you how to properly use it with your dog. Once the dog is really focused on the task at hand, make the phone ring. This helps create a relationship between that sound and the positive activity.

Remember, be calm and assertive! The dog may try to run from the situation. Do not feel sorry for him, or you will not be able to help. If you baby him, your dog will not feel secure, because you are in a weaker state than him.

Feed him only consistent calm-assertive energy!

Cesar Millan
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