Why Is My Dog Afraid Of Trucks?

Cats might have a reputation for being "scaredy," but dogs can be just as fearful (if not more so). Sometimes, dogs' fears make sense and other they baffle us. The best we can do is try to understand our dogs' fears and do our best to help them overcome their anxieties.

A relatively common fear among dogs is trucks — be they mail trucks, delivery trucks, garbage trucks, or pickup trucks. What is it about these big vehicles that terrify some dogs?

cute little scared dog from shelter posing outside in sunny park, adoption concept
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Trucks are loud.

The bigger the car, the louder the sound. Experts cite noise as a major factor in dogs' truck fear. It's not just that the truck is louder when it's in motion, either. A lot of the scariest noises for dogs actually come when the truck is in the process of starting and stopping, which many trucks, like delivery and garbage trucks, do a lot.

The squeal of air from the brakes and the rumbling of the engine when the truck starts again are both scary sounds for dogs.

Trucks are big.

But what about parked trucks? They aren't making any noise and yet, they still frighten some pups. Why? It comes down to their sheer size.

Some dogs might just be genetically wired to fear large, inanimate objects.

"Often fears of inanimate objects is considered phobic. More often than not, however, fear is directly linked to genetics," Karen Fazio explained in a piece for Inside New Jersey. "It's been scientifically proven that fear can be inherited. For years the National Institutes of Health has been studying the bloodline of a group of Pointers that are so fearful, many are afraid of their own shadow."

How to help your dog overcome his fear of trucks.

When it comes to helping your dog overcome his fears, the tactic should be more or less the same, regardless of the fear itself. Never force your dog to face the most intense version of his fear right away. Gradually and repeatedly expose him to the thing that scares him, showering him with treats and praise when he doesn't react with fear. If your dog is terrified of trucks, for example, start by approaching a parked truck from a block or two away, not by forcing your dog to, say, stand next to a garbage truck that's currently in action and making tons of noise.