Recovering from an injury can be extremely stressful and inconvenient. Add to that a dog that is fearful of your crutches and recovery can feel hopeless. Do not fear! We have provided below common reasons your dog may be fearful and tips on how to fix this behavior.
Why Are Dogs Scared Of Crutches?
Clanging sounds the crutches make, the unusual sight or the aging dog’s cognitive decay can make them scared by triggering anxiety latent within. Follow our step-by-step simple guide to desensitize your dog even if the trigger is a bad past experience.
- 1 Why Are Dogs Scared Of Crutches?
- 2 Dog/Puppy Is Terrified Of My Crutches
- 3 Why Do Dogs ‘Freak Out’ When They See Crutches?
- 4 Dog Barks When He Sees Assistive Devices Like Crutches, Canes, Walkers, Etc?
- 5 How Do I Train (Counter Condition / Desensitize) My Dog To Not Be Afraid Of Crutches?
- 6 What Exactly About Crutches Is My Dog Scared Of (The Smell? Look? Noise? Sounds? Vibrations?)
- 7 What Not To Do With A Dog Who Is Afraid Of Crutches?
- 8 Should You Comfort A Dog Scared Of Crutches?
- 9 Why Is My Old Dog Suddenly Afraid Of Crutches?
- 10 Why Is My Dog Deathly Afraid Of Crutches?
- 11 Are Crutches Dangerous To Dogs?
- 12 Do & Can Dogs Destroy Crutches?
- 13 Is My Dog Scared Of My Injury [I Am On Crutches]?
- 14 How To Walk A Dog While On Crutches [Is It Safe]?
- 15 References
Dog/Puppy Is Terrified Of My Crutches
If you notice that your dog or puppy is afraid of crutches, do not immediately think the worst. It is rather common for dogs to become afraid of random objects around the household. This is particularly true if the object presents any sort of threat, whether it be an object that is loud, heavy, or intrusive.
Why Do Dogs ‘Freak Out’ When They See Crutches?
Just like with humans, some dogs are more predisposed to anxiety than others. This could be due to their past or due to their brain chemistry. All dogs are different and some react to unfamiliar objects more dramatically.
If your dog is truly “freaking out,” this could be because they have a negative association with crutches. Adopted dogs often have a history of abuse and your dog may have been abused with crutches. If your dog is not adopted, think back to any time your dog may have been harmed with crutches — it could have been an accident.
It could, on the other hand, be linked to severe anxiety. An unfamiliar object, particularly one made of metal and associated with a human’s ability to walk, could be very scary for a dog. If you believe this is the case, consult your veterinarian for a proper anxiety diagnosis.
Dog Barks When He Sees Assistive Devices Like Crutches, Canes, Walkers, Etc?
Having a dog that barks at assistive devices can be very frustrating for the owner. This is particularly true if you are attempting to certify the dog in any type of hospital or rehabilitative setting. The individuals who need to use assistive devices are most likely in pain and do not want to be barked at by a dog.
If you notice that your dog barks specifically at assistive devices, this could be due to severe anxiety that manifests at the sight of unfamiliar, potentially threatening objects. Your dog has no way to know the purpose of these devices and may be confused as to what they are.
However, if you did adopt your dog it may be helpful to attempt to find out what sort of environment they lived in before. There is always the possibility they were abused in a situation where assistive devices were common. Abuse could have occurred in an elderly household where the owners used these devices or abuse could have been inflicted using a weapon such as a crutch.
How Do I Train (Counter Condition / Desensitize) My Dog To Not Be Afraid Of Crutches?
The first step to take if you think your dog may be suffering from anxiety is to always contact a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
Here are some of the common ways to train your dog to not be afraid of crutches:
Counter Conditioning: You can condition your dog to know that good things, rather than scary, occur when the crutches appear. This can be done by providing your dog with a treat or giving them praise when they do not react to the crutches. They will eventually understand that they need not be afraid.
Desensitization: It is possible to make your dog become used to your crutches. You can do this by slowly introducing your dog to the object. First, try leaving the crutches in a room and allow your dog a few days to approach them and explore themselves. Once they are comfortable with them on the ground, do the same but with the crutches under your arms. Finally, do the same thing but with you walking with the crutches.
Medication: Like humans, medications can be used to calm your dog down. This is usually only recommended for dogs with severe anxiety and should only be used when all other remedies have been tried. Be sure to discuss this option extensively with your veterinarian even when using over-the-counter treatments, such as Benadryl.
Pheromones and Supplements: This is a natural alternative for those who do not wish to give their dog medications. You can find natural pheromones and supplements which will provide a calming effect without the same side effects medication may have.
What Exactly About Crutches Is My Dog Scared Of (The Smell? Look? Noise? Sounds? Vibrations?)
The exact cause of the fear could be due to any of the specifics of the crutches, including the smell, look, or noise. When trying to determine the particular cause of your dog’s fear, it can be helpful to think of the environment your dog has lived and is currently living in and what objects they are used to.
Is your dog used to clanging sounds? Has your dog been exposed to metal objects before? Maybe your dog has never smelled a medical device before and is confused by the smell. By considering what factors your dog does not react to or has already been exposed to, it is easier to determine which aspect is causing fear.
What Not To Do With A Dog Who Is Afraid Of Crutches?
- Do not comfort
- Do not scold
- Do not make them try getting used to them all at once. It will take time
Should You Comfort A Dog Scared Of Crutches?
When you comfort your dog, you are reinforcing the behavior exhibited. The dog will begin to understand that if they act afraid of the crutches, they are more likely to be comforted than if they are not afraid. It is the same concept as giving your dog a treat for good behavior. They will continue the good behavior to get a treat in the same way they will continue fear-based behavior to receive comfort.
Why Is My Old Dog Suddenly Afraid Of Crutches?
The noise your crutches make as they hit the floor could be triggering its anxiety.
Similarly, cognitive decay can trigger irritability and confusion. Your dog may be irritable and choose to lash out on your crutches. In the same way, your dog may be confused as to the purpose of the crutches and, in turn, become fearful of them.
Why Is My Dog Deathly Afraid Of Crutches?
A dog who is deathly afraid of crutches is most likely suffering from severe, crippling anxiety or a trauma response from past experience with crutches.
Consult your veterinarian on how to look for signs of severe anxiety and have your dog checked out.
If you believe your dog was the victim of abuse, contact your veterinarian to look into options regarding how to work through your dog’s trauma.
Are Crutches Dangerous To Dogs?
While crutches themselves are not dangerous to dogs, they can become dangerous if misused. If you own a smaller breed of dog, there is always the potential that you could step on or hit your dog with the crutches, causing them harm. It is important to be aware of where you are placing your crutches and where your dog is at all times.
If your dog is lashing out on your crutches, they could hurt themselves trying to do damage to the crutches. Keep your crutches safely stowed away when not using them to stop this from occurring.
Do & Can Dogs Destroy Crutches?
Crutches are made to be very durable so that you can use them for an extended period of time. They are usually crafted out of metal that is hard to damage and are screwed together tightly. However, dogs are often able to use their teeth and claws to destroy a lot of items you would not think they could.
If you are wondering whether your dog could destroy your crutches, ask yourself these questions:
- What breed of dog do you own? Is it a large breed? A medium sized breed? A small breed? A larger dog can more easily cause harm to your crutches than a smaller one.
- What type of crutches do you have? Do they rest under the armpits or above the elbow? What material are they made of?
- Do your crutches have padding that can be ripped off? Do your crutches have rubber that can be chewed away? Your dog will most likely not be able to harm the metal but will be able to chew any softer attachments.
Keep your crutches stored away from your dog if you have any concerns that they might destroy your crutches.
Is My Dog Scared Of My Injury [I Am On Crutches]?
Dogs are particularly sensitive to human beings and can tell when there has been a change, whether that be physical or psychological. If you have been injured, your dog will probably be able to tell if something is wrong based on your mood, tone of voice, and body language.
Similarly, the keen sense of smell dogs possess allows them to smell injuries, bacteria, viruses, etc. If you have been injured, it may cause you to smell differently than before, thus notifying your dog.
It is most likely that your dog is not scared of your injury but empathizes with your situation. They want you to be safe and healthy and feel the weight of your injury on themselves.
If your dog is lashing out at your crutches, it could be that they view the crutches as a further threat to your health. Oftentimes, when you are injured your dog wants to be the closest thing to you, potentially causing a dislike for your crutches.
How To Walk A Dog While On Crutches [Is It Safe]?
Injuries that require crutches can be extremely frustrating for dog owners who need to walk their dogs regularly. Because crutches aid in walking, it can be very dangerous to attempt to walk your dog while on them. Your dog could pull the crutch out from under you and you could fall, letting your dog get away.
If you have a small and calm dog, it may be possible to take them for a walk. If you have a large dog, it is recommended you do not try at all.
Other options for walking your dog when on crutches include:
- Renting a wheelchair from a medical supply store.
- Hiring a dog walker for the time being.
- Asking a friend or neighbor to help you walk your dog.