Data for: An Investigation Into the Effectiveness of Various Professionals and Behavior Modification Programs, With or Without Medication, for the Treatment of Canine Fear and Phobias

Published: 23 March 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/p5nkzcvgps.1
Ian Dinwoodie


In this follow up study, we investigate a subset of 1308 dogs whose owners (n = 1048) described as having at least one form of fearful/anxious behavior. Using a self-reported questionnaire, owners were also asked to indicate the resolutions employed, including training methods and equipment, behavior modification programs, behavior modification and training techniques, medications, and forms of alternative medicine. Fifty percent of owners of fearful or anxious dogs sought professional help. Almost a quarter of respondents took their dog to a veterinarian for help with the problem and contributing medical issues were detected in 15% of these dogs. Overall, reward-based training, mental stimulation, and habituation were associated with increased odds of improvement. For the specific fear/anxiety-based problems, various consultants and techniques or treatments were found beneficial. Inanimate fears benefited from the use of benzodiazepines, herbal remedies, and dietary changes. Animate fears had increased odds of improvement if the dog was brought to a behavior consultant, use of a relaxation protocol, and systematic desensitization. Situational fears benefitted from mental stimulation, a relaxation protocol, and short, frequent training sessions. Generalized anxiety had increased odds of improvement with nutraceutical therapy and enrollment in dog sporting activities. Negative odds of improvement were found if the dog had pre-existing aggression in conditions involving inanimate fears, situational anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Neutering (male or female) reduced odds of improvement for animate fears, as did consultation with a veterinarian or non-veterinary behaviorist and the use of benzodiazepines. Changes in management had a negative impact on treatment of situational fear/anxiety. Seeing a trainer and hormone therapy reduced odds of improvement with generalized anxiety disorder. Paradoxically, odds of improvement for post-traumatic stress disorder were reduced when increasing a dog’s exercise level was employed in treatment. This Mendeley dataset includes: - A link the GitHub repository where analysis was performed. - A snapshot of repository contents.


Steps to reproduce

The analysis for the dataset was performed in a public GitHub repository ( Steps to reproduce the findings are available in the repository.


Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine


Anxiety, Canine Behavior, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Veterinary Behavior, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Veterinary Behavioral Medicine