Helping Your Shih Poo Overcome Phobias

As a Shih Poo owner, you may have noticed your furry friend displaying unusual behavior in certain situations or environments. Perhaps your pup cowers in fear during thunderstorms or trembles at the sound of fireworks. Rest assured, you are not alone in this experience. Many Shih Poos suffer from phobias, which can severely impact their quality of life. But what causes these phobias, and how can you recognize and treat them? In this article, we will explore the different types and causes of phobias in Shih Poos, as well as common symptoms and treatment options. With this knowledge, you can help your beloved companion feel safe and secure in any situation.

Understanding Phobias in Shih Poos

Understanding Phobias In Shih Poos
It can be extremely difficult to see our beloved Shih Poos struggling with fear or anxiety. Phobias in Shih Poos can manifest in numerous ways, from shaking and trembling to destructive behavior and aggression. Understanding the types and causes of phobias in Shih Poos is a crucial first step in recognizing and treating these issues. By addressing them early, we can help ensure a happier, healthier life for our furry friends. To learn more about common phobias affecting Shih Poos, their causes, and how to respond to them, read on. And if you’re interested in related topics like the importance of socialization and training for preventing phobias in dogs, check out our article on Shih Poo socialization and fear phobias.

Types of Phobias in Shih Poos

Shih Poos can experience several types of phobias just like humans. Noise phobia is one of the most common phobias in dogs, including Shih Poos, and it’s often linked to fireworks, thunderstorms, or loud construction. These loud sounds can trigger fear and anxiety in your dog, leading to destructive or even dangerous behavior.
Separation anxiety is another common phobia in Shih Poos. This phobia can stem from the fear of being left alone or abandoned. It can result in inappropriate behavior, like excessive barking or destructive chewing, in order to cope with the fear of being alone.
Travel anxiety is when your Shih Poo is afraid or uncomfortable when traveling in a car or other vehicles. The cause behind this phobia can be due to motion sickness, fear of enclosed spaces, or fear of unfamiliar surroundings.
Social anxiety is when your Shih Poo is afraid of other people or dogs. Your dog may tuck their tail or act aggressively when in the presence of new people or animals due to a fear of the unknown.
It’s important to be aware of these phobias in your Shih Poo and take steps to manage or treat them. Training and proper care can help alleviate your dog’s anxiety and improve their quality of life. If you notice any signs of phobia in your Shih Poo, visit a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer to help create a treatment plan for your furry friend’s individual needs. For more information on dog fears and phobias, visit our article “Understanding Dog Fears and Phobias”. To learn about training techniques to help with Shih Poo anxiety, read our article on “Shih Poo Anxiety Training”. Additionally, early intervention for fear and phobias in Shih Poos can be crucial, and you can read more about it in our article on “Shih Poo Early Intervention for Fear and Phobias”.

Causes of Phobias in Shih Poos

Shih Poos can develop phobias due to a variety of reasons. Here are some of the most common causes of phobias in Shih Poos:

Causes of Phobias in Shih PoosDescription
Traumatic experiencesShih Poos who have been exposed to traumatic events such as abuse, neglect, or accidents can develop phobias. For example, if a Shih Poo was involved in a car accident, they may become phobic of going for car rides.
Lack of socializationShih Poos who are not socialized properly during their critical socialization period (between 3 and 14 weeks of age) can develop phobias towards other dogs, people, or new environments.
GeneticsSome Shih Poos may have a genetic predisposition to certain phobias. For example, some dogs may have a genetic tendency to develop noise phobias.
AgingAs Shih Poos age, they can develop phobias that they didn’t have before. For example, some senior dogs may become phobic of thunderstorms or fireworks.
Medical conditionsCertain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, hearing loss, or cognitive dysfunction can cause phobias in Shih Poos. These conditions can cause dogs to become fearful or disoriented.

It’s important to identify the underlying cause of your Shih Poo’s phobia in order to effectively treat it. If you’re unsure about the cause of your Shih Poo’s phobia, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian or a professional dog behaviorist.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Phobias in Shih Poos

Shih Poos, like any other dog breed, are prone to phobias. However, since they are a mixed breed, it may be hard to determine if they have inherited their phobias from their Poodle or Shih Tzu parent. Nevertheless, there are common signs and symptoms that Shih Poo owners should watch out for.

Signs and SymptomsDescription
HidingShih Poos may hide under furniture, in small spaces, or between their owner’s legs to seek comfort when they are afraid.
TremblingWhen a Shih Poo is scared, they may start to tremble or shake uncontrollably.
Panting and DroolingPhobias can cause stress and anxiety in Shih Poos, which can lead to excessive panting and drooling.
Barking or WhiningA fearful Shih Poo may express their phobia by barking or whining excessively.
Destructive BehaviorShih Poos may resort to destructive behavior, such as chewing, scratching, or digging, when they are scared or upset.
Loss of AppetiteIf a Shih Poo is extremely anxious or fearful, they may lose their appetite and refuse to eat.
AggressionPhobias in Shih Poos can sometimes manifest in aggression towards people or other pets.

It is important for Shih Poo owners to keep an eye out for these signs and symptoms to determine if their furry friend is suffering from a phobia. It is also important to note that these signs may not be exclusive to phobias and can be indicative of other underlying health issues. If you notice any of these signs in your Shih Poo, it is important to seek professional help from a veterinarian.

Diagnosing Your Shih Poo’s Phobia

Diagnosing Your Shih Poo'S Phobia
Determining whether or not your Shih Poo has a phobia can be a confusing and challenging process. It’s not always easy to tell if your dog’s behavior is simply a manifestation of fear, or if there is an actual phobia present. However, it’s important to pinpoint the nature of the issue in order to manage it effectively. In this section, we’ll explore a few ways to identify and diagnose your Shih Poo’s phobia.

When to Visit the Veterinarian

Recognizing when to take your Shih Poo to the veterinarian is crucial when dealing with phobias. Some signs are subtle, while others are more severe. If you notice any of the following signs and symptoms, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately:

  • Sudden changes in behavior: If your Shih Poo has a sudden change in behavior, such as becoming aggressive or excessively clingy, it may be related to a phobia.
  • Hiding or avoiding: If your Shih Poo is suddenly avoiding certain rooms or hiding more often than usual, it may be a sign of a phobia.
  • Trembling or shaking: If your Shih Poo is trembling or shaking for no apparent reason, it could be due to anxiety caused by a phobia.
  • Barking or whining excessively: If your Shih Poo is barking or whining more than usual, it could be a sign of a phobia.
  • Excessive panting or drooling: If your Shih Poo is excessively panting or drooling for no apparent reason, it could be related to a phobia.
  • Refusing to eat or drink: If your Shih Poo isn’t eating or drinking like they typically would, it could be a sign of a phobia.
  • Aggression or destructive behavior: If your Shih Poo is being destructive or aggressive towards themselves or others, it’s time to contact your veterinarian.

Keep in mind that each Shih Poo is unique, and some may exhibit different signs and symptoms. It’s important to trust your instincts as a pet owner and to seek medical attention if you have any concerns about your furry friend’s wellbeing. Your veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose and treat your Shih Poo’s phobia, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any concerns.

How to Prepare for a Veterinary Visit

Before taking your Shih Poo to the veterinarian for treatment of their phobia, it is important to make some preparations. This will help the visit go smoothly and ensure your pet receives the necessary care.

1. Gather Information: Before visiting the veterinarian, gather all necessary information about your Shih Poo’s medical history, as well as the symptoms they are experiencing. Make a list of any questions you may have for the veterinarian.

2. Schedule an Appointment: Call the veterinarian’s office and schedule an appointment for your pet. Try to choose a time when your pet is normally calm, and avoid feeding them for a few hours prior to the appointment.

3. Prepare Your Shih Poo: Get your Shih Poo ready for their appointment by bathing and grooming them. This will not only help them look and feel better, but it can also make them more comfortable during the appointment.

4. Bring Along Necessary Items: Remember to bring along your Shih Poo’s medical records, any medication they are currently taking, and any special items that may help them feel more comfortable, such as their favorite toy or blanket.

5. Comfort Your Shih Poo: Before the visit, spend some time with your pet to help them feel loved and comforted. Try to keep them calm and relaxed by providing a soothing environment, such as a quiet room with calming music or a diffuser with aromatherapy.

Steps to Prepare for a Veterinary Visit
Gather Information
Schedule an Appointment
Prepare Your Shih Poo
Bring Along Necessary Items
Comfort Your Shih Poo

By following these simple steps, you can help ensure that your Shih Poo’s veterinary visit is a success. Remember to be patient and gentle with your pet, and provide them with the care and attention they need to overcome their phobia.

What to Expect During a Veterinary Visit

During a veterinary visit for your Shih Poo’s phobia, it’s important to be prepared and informed about what to expect. Here are a few things you can anticipate during your visit:

  • Consultation: The veterinarian will likely begin by asking you about your Shih Poo’s behavior and what triggers their phobia. They may also ask about your Shih Poo’s medical history and any medications they are currently taking.
  • Physical Examination: The veterinarian may perform a physical examination of your Shih Poo to check for any underlying health conditions that could be contributing to their phobia. They may also examine your pet’s eyes, ears, and mouth and check their heart rate, breathing, and temperature.
  • Diagnostic Testing: Depending on your Shih Poo’s symptoms and other factors, the veterinarian may recommend diagnostic testing such as blood work or x-rays to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be causing their phobia.
  • Treatment Recommendations: After examining and diagnosing your pet, the veterinarian will likely recommend a treatment plan for managing their phobia. This could include behavioral treatments, medications, or natural remedies.
  • Follow-Up: In some cases, the veterinarian may recommend follow-up appointments to monitor your Shih Poo’s progress and adjust their treatment plan as needed.

It’s important to communicate openly with your veterinarian during the visit and ask any questions you may have. Make sure to follow their instructions carefully and continue monitoring your Shih Poo’s behavior at home. With the right treatment and management plan, your furry friend can overcome their phobia and live a happier, healthier life.

Managing Your Shih Poo’s Phobia

Managing Your Shih Poo'S Phobia
As a pet owner, it can be perplexing and disheartening to see your Shih Poo experience intense fear and anxiety due to their phobia. But there are steps you can take to manage their phobia and lessen their stress. By combining behavioral techniques, medications, natural remedies, and creating a safe space, you can help your furry companion cope and lead a happier life. Let’s dive into some effective ways to manage your Shih Poo’s phobia.

Behavioral Treatments

Shih Poos with phobias can benefit from behavioral treatments, which aim to change the dog’s response to the fear-inducing stimuli. Behavioral treatments can be a time-consuming process that requires consistency and patience from the owner. However, it is an effective and non-invasive way to address your Shih Poo’s phobia.

Desensitization and counterconditioning are the most common and effective behavioral treatments for phobias in Shih Poos. Desensitization involves gradually reintroducing the fear-inducing stimulus in a controlled and safe environment. This process allows the dog to get used to the stimulus over time and reduces their fear response. Counterconditioning involves pairing the fear-inducing stimulus with a positive outcome, such as a treat or toy, to create a more positive association with the stimulus.

Flooding is another form of behavioral treatment, but it is a more extreme and controversial approach. It involves exposing the dog to the fear-inducing stimulus at full intensity until their fear response subsides. Although this method can be effective in some cases, it can also traumatize the dog and make their phobia worse. It is not recommended for most Shih Poo owners.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a newer form of behavioral treatment that aims to change the dog’s thoughts and feelings about their phobia. This method involves teaching the dog coping mechanisms and positive self-talk to reduce their fear and anxiety. Although this approach is still in its infancy, it has shown promising results in some cases.

Behavioral treatments can be an effective way to manage your Shih Poo’s phobia. It is important to consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist before attempting any of these treatments. They can work with you and your Shih Poo to create a personalized treatment plan that works best for their specific phobia.

Behavioral TreatmentsDescription
Desensitization and counterconditioningGradual reintroduction of fear-inducing stimulus in a controlled and safe environment. Pairing the stimulus with positive reinforcement.
FloodingExposing the dog to the fear-inducing stimulus at full intensity to reduce fear response. Not recommended for most Shih Poo owners.
Cognitive-behavioral therapyTeaching the dog coping mechanisms and positive self-talk to reduce fear and anxiety.

Medications for Phobias in Shih Poos

When it comes to managing a Shih Poo’s phobia, medications can be an effective tool in reducing the severity of the symptoms. Your veterinarian may prescribe different types of medications depending on the specific phobia and its level of severity. It’s important to note that medication should always be used in conjunction with behavioral treatments and environmental changes for the best results.

Here are some of the most commonly prescribed medications for Shih Poo’s with phobias:

MedicationWhat it DoesCommon Side Effects
AntidepressantsThese medications can help improve your Shih Poo’s mood and reduce anxiety, which can help them cope with their phobia more effectively.Drowsiness, loss of appetite, and digestive issues are the most common side effects.
BenzodiazepinesThese medications have a sedative effect, which can help reduce anxiety and calm your Shih Poo during stressful situations.Drowsiness, lethargy, and loss of coordination are common side effects.
Beta BlockersThese medications can help reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as a rapid heartbeat or trembling.Dizziness, fatigue, and digestive issues are common side effects.
SedativesThese medications have a calming effect and can help your Shih Poo feel more relaxed during stressful situations.Drowsiness, lethargy, and loss of coordination are common side effects.

It’s important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully when administering medication to your Shih Poo. Dosage and frequency may vary depending on the specific medication and your dog’s individual needs. Always be on the lookout for any potential side effects and report them to your veterinarian immediately. With the right combination of medication and behavioral treatments, your Shih Poo can learn to manage their phobia and live a happier, healthier life.

Natural Remedies for Phobias in Shih Poos

If you prefer to try natural remedies to help ease your Shih Poo’s phobia, there are several options you can consider. Keep in mind that natural remedies may not work for every dog, and it’s important to talk to your veterinarian before trying any new treatment.

One natural remedy to try is chamomile, which has calming properties that can help reduce anxiety in dogs. You can brew chamomile tea, let it cool, and then add it to your Shih Poo’s water or food.

Another option is valerian root, which is a natural sedative. You can give your Shih Poo valerian root in the form of a supplement or as a tea.

Lavender is another natural herb that has calming effects. You can use lavender essential oil in a diffuser or spray it on your Shih Poo’s bedding to help promote relaxation.

In addition to herbs, there are other natural remedies to consider. Aromatherapy can be effective in calming anxious dogs. You can use lavender or chamomile essential oils to create a relaxing atmosphere for your Shih Poo.

Another natural remedy is thunder shirts. These special shirts apply pressure to your dog’s body, which can help them feel more secure and reduce anxiety.

Finally, exercise can be a natural way to help reduce anxiety in dogs. Regular exercise can help promote good mental health and reduce stress levels in dogs.

Remember, it’s important to always talk to your veterinarian before trying any new treatment, even natural remedies. Your vet can help guide you towards the best course of action for your Shih Poo’s specific needs.

Natural Remedies for Phobias in Shih Poos:
Valerian root
Thunder shirts

Creating a Safe Space for Your Shih Poo

When your Shih Poo is experiencing a phobia, it’s important to create a safe space where they can retreat to feel calm and secure. Here are some steps you can take to create a safe space for your furry friend:

Step 1: Identify a Quiet Area in Your Home

Identify a quiet area in your home where your Shih Poo can retreat to feel safe. This could be a spare room, a closet, or a crate. Make sure the area is away from any noise or commotion, and keep it dimly lit to promote relaxation.

Step 2: Prepare the Safe Space

Once you have identified a spot, prepare it to make it as comfortable and inviting as possible. Add some soft blankets or bedding, their favorite toys or chews, and a bowl of fresh water. You could also consider using a pheromone diffuser or spray to help create a calming atmosphere.

Step 3: Introduce Your Shih Poo to the Safe Space

Introduce your Shih Poo to their safe space slowly and gently. Allow them to sniff around and get comfortable. Encourage them to stay there with treats and praise, but don’t force them if they seem hesitant. It may take some time for them to feel completely comfortable in their new space.

Step 4: Encourage Your Shih Poo to Use the Safe Space

Encourage your Shih Poo to use their safe space whenever they feel anxious or scared. If you notice them exhibiting signs of phobia, calmly guide them to their space and give them some alone time. With consistency and patience, your Shih Poo should learn to associate their safe space with comfort and security.

By creating a safe space for your Shih Poo, you can help alleviate their anxiety and promote their overall well-being. Remember to always be patient and understanding with your furry friend, and consider seeking veterinary help if their phobia persists.

Preventing Phobias in Shih Poos

As a Shih Poo owner, it’s essential to do everything you can to prevent your furry friend from developing phobias. While some phobias may be unavoidable, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of them developing. In this section, we’ll explore some preventive measures and proactive approaches to help ensure that your Shih Poo leads a happy, healthy, and fearless life. Let’s dive into some strategies that you can implement early on to set your dog up for success.

Socialization and Training

Socialization and Training

Good socialization is the key to preventing a Shih Poo from developing phobias. A Shih Poo that is well-socialized from a young age is less likely to develop irrational fears of people, animals, sounds, and places. Exposure to different people, animals, and environments during a Shih Poo’s formative years (between 3 and 14 weeks of age) can help them become more accepting of new experiences later in life.

If your Shih Poo is still a puppy, make sure to expose them to different experiences in a controlled and positive manner. Introduce them to other pets, children, and strangers in a gradual and non-threatening way. Always reward them for good behavior and avoid any negative interactions that could lead to a bad experience.

Training is also essential in preventing phobias. A well-trained Shih Poo is more confident and better equipped to cope with new and potentially scary situations. Basic obedience training such as teaching your Shih Poo to sit, stay, and come when called can also be useful in keeping them safe during stressful events.

To help your Shih Poo get used to new experiences, consider enrolling them in a puppy training class or socialization class. These classes will help them learn socialization skills while also providing them with an opportunity to socialize with other puppies.

Remember, socialization and training are ongoing processes. Even if your Shih Poo has already gone through puppy socialization class or basic obedience training, continue to expose them to new experiences, people, and animals. Positive reinforcement and consistency are key in keeping your Shih Poo happy, healthy, and free from phobias.

Exposure to New Experiences

Introducing your Shih Poo to new experiences can help prevent the development of phobias. Exposure to new experiences can help your dog become more comfortable in new situations, reducing the likelihood of them developing a fear of the unknown.

One way to expose your Shih Poo to new experiences is by slowly and gradually introducing them to different people and animals. You can also expose them to new objects, sounds, and smells. However, it’s important to do this in a controlled and safe environment.

To help make the experience positive, be sure to use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise. This will help your dog associate new experiences with positive outcomes, rather than fear or anxiety.

Here’s a table that summarizes the steps you can follow when introducing your Shih Poo to new experiences:

Step 1Choose a safe and quiet environment for the introduction
Step 2Introduce new experiences gradually and in small doses
Step 3Use positive reinforcement techniques, like treats and praise
Step 4Observe your dog’s behavior and reactions during the introduction
Step 5End the introduction on a positive note and reward your dog

By following these steps, you can help your Shih Poo become more comfortable with new experiences and ultimately prevent the development of phobias. Remember to remain patient and positive, as it may take some time for your dog to become comfortable with new experiences.

Positive Reinforcement and Reward-Based Training

Positive reinforcement and reward-based training are effective techniques to prevent and manage phobias in Shih Poos. This training technique focuses on rewarding your dog for good behavior. Instead of punishing your dog for showing anxious or fearful behavior, try to encourage and reward them for displaying positive behavior when exposed to new experiences.

One way to do this is by using treats or toys as rewards. Whenever your Shih Poo reacts positively to a new experience, such as meeting a new person or encountering a loud noise, give them a treat or toy as a reward. This will help them associate positive feelings with the new experience.

Another way to use positive reinforcement in training is through verbal praise or physical affection. When your Shih Poo displays good behavior, such as remaining calm during a thunderstorm, use a strong and enthusiastic voice to praise them. You can also give them a pat or cuddle as a form of physical affection.

It is important to remember that positive reinforcement training requires consistency and patience. It may take time to see progress, but with regular practice, your Shih Poo will start associating new experiences with positive feelings and reactions.

In addition to using positive reinforcement, it is also important to avoid reinforcing unwanted behavior. For example, if your Shih Poo becomes afraid of fireworks and starts barking and whining, do not respond by giving attention or appeasing their fears. Instead, try to distract them with toys or treats and reward them for remaining calm.

Positive reinforcement and reward-based training are powerful tools for managing phobias in Shih Poos. By creating a positive association with new experiences, you can help alleviate your dog’s anxiety and build their confidence.


In conclusion, it’s important to recognize and treat your Shih Poo’s phobia in a timely manner to prevent it from affecting their overall well-being. Being aware of the types and causes of phobias in Shih Poos, as well as the common signs and symptoms, can help you determine if your pet is suffering from a phobia.

If you believe your Shih Poo is struggling with a phobia, it’s important to seek veterinary care. Your veterinarian can help diagnose the phobia and provide guidance on the best course of treatment. This may include behavioral treatments, medications, and creating a safe space for your pet.

Preventing phobias in Shih Poos includes socialization and training, exposing your pet to new experiences, and using positive reinforcement and reward-based training. By taking these preventative measures, you can help reduce the risk of your pet developing a phobia.

Remember, your Shih Poo relies on you to provide them with care and comfort. By recognizing and treating their phobia, you can give them the best possible life full of love and security.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Shih Poos develop phobias?

Yes, Shih Poos can develop phobias as a result of various factors such as genetics, past experiences, and lack of socialization.

What are the common phobias that Shih Poos develop?

Common phobias that Shih Poos develop include fear of loud noises, other animals, unfamiliar people or places, and separation anxiety.

How can I tell if my Shih Poo has a phobia?

Signs of phobias in Shih Poos include excessive barking, hiding, shaking, drooling, destructive behavior, and attempts to escape.

Should I take my Shih Poo to the vet for his/her phobia?

If your Shih Poo’s phobia is affecting his/her quality of life or causing harm to him/herself or others, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian.

Can medication help my Shih Poo with his/her phobia?

Yes, medication can help manage phobias in Shih Poos. However, it is important to consult a veterinarian to determine the most suitable medication and dosage.

Are there any natural remedies that can help my Shih Poo with his/her phobia?

Yes, natural remedies such as herbal supplements, aromatherapy, and pheromone therapy can help manage phobias in Shih Poos. However, it is important to consult a veterinarian before administering any natural remedy.

What is positive reinforcement training and how can it help manage my Shih Poo’s phobia?

Positive reinforcement training is a reward-based training method that involves praising and rewarding desirable behaviors in dogs. It can help manage phobias in Shih Poos by reinforcing calm and relaxed behavior.

Is socialization important in preventing phobias in Shih Poos?

Yes, socialization plays a crucial role in preventing phobias in Shih Poos. Exposing them to different experiences and social settings from a young age helps them develop coping mechanisms and reduces the likelihood of developing phobias.

What should I do if my Shih Poo is experiencing a phobic episode?

If your Shih Poo is experiencing a phobic episode, it is important to remain calm and provide a safe space for him/her. Avoid coddling or punishing him/her, as this can reinforce the phobia.

Can phobias in Shih Poos be cured?

While phobias in Shih Poos may not necessarily be cured, they can be effectively managed with proper treatment and training.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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