Dogs are amazing, aren’t they? They bring so much fun into our lives and are always full of energy and excitement.
It’s like they never run out of playfulness and curiosity, always ready to explore the world around them.
But they can be a bit confusing at times too. Have you ever seen a dog acting tough in front of other animals or strangers? Barking loudly and trying to look intimidating.
It’s like they’re showing off how tough they are.
Then all of a sudden something harmless, like a buzzing insect or a floating balloon catches their eye, and suddenly they get scared and start seeking their owner’s comfort.
It’s like they forget all about being tough and brave. It’s adorable! And it goes to show that even the bravest dogs can still have their fears and phobias.
It can be funny how the smallest and silliest things can make the biggest, toughest dog feel uneasy.
So what do you do when your dog is scared of something silly?
What should I do if my dog is scared of the heater? First, understand that there are some legitimate reasons your good girl is scared of the heater. Try to figure out which issue(s) is affecting her and then work on fixing that problem and helping your dog overcome her fear.
It’s Strange and Unfamiliar
Dogs, even with their sense of curiosity, can be puzzled and frightened by things they don’t understand.
And let’s face it, how is a dog supposed to make sense of a heater? It’s a strange contraption that suddenly starts making noise and then hot air starts blowing throughout the house.
It can definitely seem bizarre, and maybe even threatening in your dog’s eyes.
So, it’s entirely plausible that your good girl could be scared of the heater simply because she’s not sure what it is!
Heaters give off this distinct smell, especially when they haven’t been used for a while and you turn them on at the beginning of the heating season.
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell that far exceeds ours. What might seem like a subtle scent to us can be an overwhelming aroma for them.
Even if we hardly notice it, our furry friends, with their exceptional sense of smell, are tuned in to it.
This unexpected and unfamiliar scent could be causing your pooch to react with fear or apprehension.
Heaters can make all sorts of various sounds that could potentially evoke fear, or at least uneasiness, in your canine companion.
Subtle noises, that might be inaudible to you but could be bothersome to your canine companion. Remember, dogs can hear frequencies that are far higher than what we humans can perceive.
- Rumbles, clinks, and clatters from the heater operating.
- Beeps and chirps from using the remote or adjusting the thermostat.
- Air rushing through vents, which can seem like an odd whooshing and whistling sound to your dog.
So, a sound that seems non-existent or mundane to you might be quite loud and unsettling for your dog.
One or more of these sounds could be startling your dog every time it happens, leading her to dislike the heater.
Finally, the heater may be causing some other phenomenon that indirectly makes your dog uncomfortable.
Maybe the lights in your home dim briefly each time the heater kicks on.
This sudden change in lighting could be unsettling for your dog, making her associate the heater with the uneasy feeling she gets.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is deadly to both dogs and humans.
Humans generally don’t act differently or notice it until it’s too late, but sometimes dogs can start acting strange and irritable when exposed to it.
Make sure there’s no leak in your system and invest in a carbon monoxide detector. It’s something you should really have anyway!
How Can I Help My Dog Get Over Her Fear Of Heaters?
Now that you understand the common reasons your dog might fear the heater, it’s time to explore some strategies to help your good girl overcome her furnace fear.
Narrow Down The Problem
Try to figure out exactly which part of the heater’s operation is bothering your dog. This will help you with your next step.
Try things like:
- Making the remote beep without turning the furnace on.
- Turning the furnace fan on without heat.
- Isolating each part of the furnace’s operation and doing/using them alone.
By doing this, you may be able to identify the specific issue causing anxiety in your dog, and then focus your efforts on that area.
Building Positive Associations
One of the most effective strategies is to condition your dog to associate the heater with something good.
Here’s how to do it:
- When the heater kicks on, give your dog a treat. Repeat this process until she begins to make a positive association with the heater.
- If your dog is still hesitant, try taking it slower. Start by rewarding her when she’s near the heater or vent while it’s off, and gradually work towards getting her more used to it with treats.
Remember, building positive associations with the heater may take time, so be patient.
Change The Filter
A dirty filter can be responsible for the unpleasant ‘burnt’ smell that your furnace emits when it’s turned on.
By regularly changing the filter, you can eliminate this source of discomfort for your pet.
The smell is not only unpleasant but can also irritate your dog’s nose.
You don’t need to go overboard, just make sure to replace the filter as per the manufacturer’s guidelines or whenever it appears dirty.
Mute Or Modify the Sounds
I understand that you can’t do much about the mechanical rumbling of the heater, but there are other sounds you can control.
The beeping sounds from your remote and thermostat and two prime examples.
If your devices allow, mute these sounds to prevent startling your dog.
If muting is not an option, consider exploring ways to remove the sound module altogether.
It might require a bit of technical know-how or professional assistance, but it’s a small change that could make a significant difference to your dog’s comfort level.
Seeking Professional Help
If you’ve tried the above suggestions and your dog is still fearful of the heater, don’t hesitate to consult your vet or a professional animal behaviorist.
Addressing your dog’s anxiety can help make her more comfortable in the long run and prevent unnecessary stress.
Wrapping It Up: The Dog Is Scared Of The Furnace!
Your dog’s fear of heaters can be rooted in one or more reasons.
She may be puzzled by unfamiliarity or be overwhelmed by the distinctive smell heaters emit, particularly when first turned on.
And the various noises that heaters make, such as rumbles, beeps, and the sound of air rushing, could startle your canine friend.
Indirect effects like the sudden dimming of lights when the heater kicks on could be unsettling, and in a worst-case scenario, exposure to carbon monoxide could be causing distress.
To help your good dog overcome her fear, begin by identifying the specific issue causing apprehension.
Create positive associations with the heater by rewarding her whenever the heater is in use.
Regularly changing the furnace filter can reduce unpleasant smells that may be bothering your dog.
Turn down, modify or mute sounds when possible, or consider disabling the sound module altogether if necessary.
If your dog still seems fearful after trying these strategies, reaching out to a vet or a professional animal behaviorist would be the best course of action.
It’s important to be sensitive to your pet’s comfort levels and address their fears to ensure she is comfortable and stress-free.