Your Pet Question:
We’ve had a rescue dog for four years. The last two years, he’s started shaking and becomes agitated every time I turn on a stove burner or the oven. We can’t figure out why he started behaving this way—out of the blue!
Nadine Bardarson, Burns Lake, BC
The Expert Says:
It could be that the oven or burner is making a high-pitched electric sound you’re not aware of that bothers his ears, so you may want to get your stove checked for problems. If that’s not it, you may never find out what caused the fear in the first place, but you do need to change your dog’s emotional state from one of anxiety to one of tolerance or even happy anticipation. Begin by feeding treats (one kibble at a time) right beside the oven. Then progress to playing with the stove dials while feeding the dog, but do not turn it on. Once he seems comfortable eating around the stove, turn the oven on and off while feeding, do the same thing with the burner. Only proceed through each step as long as the dog is not showing signs of anxiety. Once he’s very comfortable, increase the amount of time in the presence of the stove before treating him. With patience, your dog will eventually look forward to your turning on the stove as it might result in a little treat.
Miranda G Bourque is a veterinarian working at Foothills Animal Hospital in Okotoks, Alberta.