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My 10-year-old mixed dog has developed quite the arcane fear, she fears power outages.

Whether it happens when it's dark (when all of the lights turn off at the same time), or during the day (in which case, the sound of the wireless phone losing signal from the dock station gives it away), she would start shaking, tail between her legs, come to us for protection.

Now my dog is a burly dog, she stood her ground against dogs several times her size, she can take on anything and doesn't seem to be afraid of anything (loud bangs, fireworks, even a recent war with alarms and rocket whistles and explosions), nothing except for this.

None of us (the family members) are behaving nervously during an outage, and it seemed to just happen to her one day.

What could the cause be, how can I even begin to diagnose it, I hate seeing her like this.

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    Your animal clearly has a fear of not having internet access ;) – Lix Oct 11 '13 at 19:56
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    even a recent war with alarms and rocket whistles and explosions forget about the dog, that is just something I am glad I don't have to worry about – psubsee2003 Oct 11 '13 at 23:29
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    @psubsee2003: Heh, we had that in 2006, I live in Israel. None of us were too phased by it though, neither did she. – Madara Uchiha Oct 12 '13 at 7:29
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    Do any other sounds stop when the power goes out? I'm thinking the hum from air conditioning, buzz from electrical lights, compressor on a refrigerator, anything like that.. the dog could be reacting to the sudden absence of an expected, comforting sound. – PeterL Oct 31 '13 at 15:03
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    Debugging suggestion: if you think it's the loss of a familiar, comforting sound, try throwing breakers one at a time (to eliminate those sounds in isolation) until you find it. Of course, that only works if it's a single sound going away that causes the problem. – Monica Cellio Feb 9 '14 at 14:18
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The fire alarm and battery UPS will sometimes beep when power is lost. Even if this had only happened once in your dog's past, the link between power outage and beeping is set in stone and can trigger anxiety. The beeping may not happen in subsequent outages, but some part of him is expecting it. My dog practically climbs on top of my head when he hears the UPS or fire alarm beeping due to low batteries.

  • You know? We actually had UPS at some point, and it did beep a horribly annoying sound for a couple of minutes when power was lost. That may be it. Do you know any way to mitigate it? – Madara Uchiha Feb 9 '14 at 6:56
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    @MadaraUchiha If this is really the reason, you need to re-program. Meaning: "power outages" without beeping every other day. And: ignore the dog when it is showing signs of fear. (This one is hard, I know.) – Ingo Feb 10 '14 at 15:24
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Your dog may get scared of a power outage because he/she does not understand what is going on. Phobias may be accompanied by property destruction or physical endangerment of the affected pet or the people around him. (Source : Terrified of power outages)

Now in addition to that, No matter how scared your dog is of something, you can help him resolve his fear. It is best to call in an expert.

First go to your veterinarian, who can resolve health problems that might be causing your dog's fear.

Also, consider seeing an animal behaviorist or professional dog trainer. Desensitization therapies and behavior modification can help your dog get over his fears.

Also see : Causes of Fear in Dogs

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Not sure if I should be helping an Hidden Leaf, Uchiha clan member, especially one as infamous as Madara, but here goes...

One of the comments mentioned the absence of a comforting sound, as well one of the responses mentioned the UPS of Fire Alarm beeping. That is the symptom of the power outage that the dog is noticing. Additionally, dogs can hear very high pitched noises, e.g. fluorescent lights, sodium lights buzzing are easily heard by dogs. Not unlike the hairs on your neck raising when you step out into a thick fog where the usual traffic, trees, grass and animal sounds are absent; a dog also senses this absence and triggers a warning response. It is the same reaction that, in the wild, will keep a wild dog hunkered down in the den when a thunderstorm goes overhead. So Akamaru might be able to fearlessly fight off armies of kunai wielding ninjas, but unless the he has been conditioned to not be fearful of lightning, Akamaru will still cower at something far less dangerous. Similarly, the military dogs (and hunting dogs) are trained as a puppy to be less sensitive to gun shots, where as my labs go slinking under the desk every year close to the Fourth of July (here in the States).

As far as conditioning goes (and I can't imagine why you would want to waste the time) just turn off the breaker for a few hours randomly throughout the day until the dog becomes accustomed to the event.

  • My dog's named "Kurama" by the way. – Madara Uchiha Feb 9 '14 at 17:12

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