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Fears and phobias

Helping your dog to overcome their fears using evidence-based and animal friendly methods.
Dr Else and white dog

Do you want a fail-proof and dog friendly program to help your dog overcome their fears?

Is your dog afraid of loud noises, thunder, fireworks, or specific objects?

A dog that panics is tough for any dog parent, even if you already have a lot of experience with dogs. Are you considering blocking the windows, soundproofing the walls or moving to the countryside because of your dog’s extreme fears?

Do you recognize this?

Your dog:

It's hard to see your dog shake with fear!

About 27% of dogs are fearful. So if your dog freaks out when they hear unknown sounds or see something unfamiliar, you’re not alone. Some of these dogs even have a phobia, which means they have severe panic attacks. These dogs are so scared that they can’t be reached or comforted.

Unfortunately, severe fears and phobias don’t just go away. No, they actually tend to get worse over time. The problem is that your dog’s brain is biassed towards danger and has very strong neural circuits in place to keep it this way. This is your dog’s ancient safety mechanism. In the past, there was danger everywhere and the ‘cost’ of not paying attention to potential danger – for example, getting bitten, injured or even killed – was much greater than the cost of not paying attention to something nice.  

The problem is that these ancient fear circuits are still very active today, and maintain fear even when there’s no actual danger, for instance, when there’s a thunderstorm or when you bring out the lawnmower. Here’s an example: the first time your dog encountered the lawnmower, they formed a memory. Your dog’s experience with the lawnmower was so intense, that their brain has built a strong association between the (harmless) lawnmower, fear and their extreme reaction to it (panic, flee, freeze etc). This causes your dog to avoid the lawnmower the next time, which actually increases the fear.

Every time your dog panics when they see the lawnmower (or see you walking to the garden shed), the ‘afraid connections’ are reinforced. In other words, your dog’s brain has built up an unrealistic fear circuit that gives them a panic attack every time you bring out the lawnmower.

The only way to break the ‘cycle of anxiety’ is to gradually expose your dog to their feared trigger, but in a systematic and controlled way. However, this process takes time. Only when we slowly start to replace these ‘scared’ with ‘safe’ neural circuits – by teaching your dog that there’s nothing to be scared of, can we start to change their behavioural patterns. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the fear, step by step, at a pace your dog can handle.

Do you want to help your dog overcome their fears so you never need to see them shake with fear ever again?

Yes, overcoming fears and phobias is possible. Imagine you could:

What other people say

Happy woman and dog

What's stopping you from taking action?

You tried to solve your dog’s fears - perhaps more than once - but you have not made any real progress. You don’t believe there’s anything you can do and have simply accepted things the way they are. But secretly you wish that things were different.

You’ve already read every single piece of information about fear in dogs, but you feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

You don’t want to be in this alone, you need professional support so that you can make lasting positive changes in your dog’s behaviour and wellbeing.

I’m here to help you better understand your dog and create a step-by-step plan to help your dog get over their fears. You’re not in this alone! Changing your dog’s behaviour for the better is a real possibility so that you will finally have a dog that feels safe.

Why I can help you

I’m a scientist specialising in dog behaviour, cognition, stress, anxiety and the neuro-endocrinology that controls these processes. I have helped hundreds of animals overcome their fear of being alone over the last 15 years. 

My vision is that behavioural problems are only the surface of the real issue. We often only pay attention once our dog’s behaviour is undesirable, but the cause of the behaviour lies much deeper and started long before we first noticed it. 

We can only change our dog’s behavioural patterns and ‘break’ the cycle of fear and anxiety when we begin to understand why dogs behave the way they do, and by meeting their underlying emotional needs. An important part of my approach is therefore to address their underlying emotional needs before we start addressing the separation anxiety itself.

My unique approach involves gradually modify the pathological fear brain circuits by first activating them and then providing new information that contradicts the pathological, unrealistic associations between being alone and feeling scared. 

This is also called exposure therapy, which is by far the most effective method to address fears and phobias, and many of us scientists now recommend this method.

In recent years, we’ve been learning more and more about the gut-brain connection. During my own studies, we have already seen good results using pre- and probiotics to reduce stress and anxiety. If necessary, I will help you choose a good supplement for your dog.

Dr. Else Verbeek

What do you want to do next?

To really make a change?

How long have you been worried about your dog’s fearfulness? How long have you been longing for a change? How many times have you tried to solve it yourself, but without making any real progress?

If you continue down the same road, do you really expect to see a change? 

So why don’t we start helping your dog overcome their fears together? I help you to find out what is triggering your dog’s fears, make an individual step-by-step plan to follow, and support you during this process. 

You’re not in this alone! You will finally see that it is possible to have a dog that feels safe.

My unique approach

Every dog is an individual

In order to find the best solution for your dog, we first need to identify your dog’s triggers and the context in which your dog’s reactions occur, so that we can slowly work on changing behavioural patterns and the underlying emotional state. Fear treatment must be tailored specifically for each dog, because what works well for one dog may not work for another.

Tailored training plans

You will receive a tailored training plan just for you and your dog. This plan combines several different techniques to help your dog face their fears and teach them to be calm.

In the training, we will slowly start to replace the stress and panic neurons with calm neurons. But this process can only take place when we replace your dog’s negative experiences with good ones. It is critical not to rush the process and carefully monitor your dog’s behaviour, so that they never need to panic again.

Peace of mind

One of the major obstacles to overcome stress and anxiety is the time it takes to train your dog, to monitor their progress and adapt the training program correctly. Unfortunately, most people use the wrong approach, go too quickly or skip critical steps.

I will provide a roadmap for you, and teach you how to adjust your dog’s training. So that you can focus on getting results rather than worrying if you're doing it right.

The gut-brain connection

Fear and anxiety can live in a dog's gut. Using pro- and prebiotics we can help your dog to feel a little better. I can advise you on a suitable supplement for your dog.

Convenient

All consultations are offered remotely online. This is a very effective way to deal with anxiety. The advantage of remote consultations is that I can see your dog’s anxious behaviours in their normal environment. Introducing a new person (me) often distracts the dog, which means that it is more difficult to make an objective assessment. Saving time on commuting also means that I can spend more time on actually helping you.

This is not a miracle cure or a quick fix. Before enrolling in any of the programs, be prepared to:

Commit to your dog

Manage your dog’s environment during the training. This means you may have to temporarily remove the major triggers and find another solution.

Stick to the training plans

Commit to training several days a week, in short sessions.

Track progress

Follow my instructions and training plans step-by-step.
Keep track of every training session, and enter your dog’s behaviour in their training journal.

Be patient

Changing behavioural patterns can take several weeks or even months.

Choose the plan that's right for you.

There are different options for you to choose from. During all the programs we will work on teaching your dog to be calm, but they vary in the level of support you get and in the duration that I will support you. Of course, the longer the program, the more support and the better results. 

Happy dog light

2 weeks
325
3,375 kr
  • First assessment and consultation
  • Online education about dog body language and how to manage fear
  • Personalized training plan
  • 30 min WhatsApp and email support per week
  • 1 follow up consultation

Happy dog

4 weeks
475
4,975 kr
  • First assessment and consultation
  • Online education about dog body language and how to manage fear
  • Personalized training plans
  • 30 min WhatsApp and email support per week
  • 2 follow up consultations

Dream dog

6 weeks
655
6,725 kr
  • First assessment and consultation
  • Online education about dog body language and how to manage fear
  • Personalized training plans
  • 40 min WhatsApp and email support per week
  • 3 follow up consultations