Jim Daley, Scientific American »

For many dog owners, thunderstorms are a source of angst, a walk to the dog park can be a fraught experience, and New Year’s celebrations are particularly stressful. According to a new study of thousands of pet dogs, anxiety and fear-related behavior problems are widespread. Certain breeds are particularly sensitive to loud noises or being left alone. Other breeds may engage in compulsive behaviors such as biting themselves or urinating, suggesting a genetic component to the activity.

James Serpell, an ethologist at the University of Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the study, says that the problem stems from owners failing to properly socialize their dogs. Many canines rescued from shelters may have been inadequately trained when they were young, and the problem is compounded when new owners are overly cautious with them. “It’s a sort of helicopter-parenting concept applied to dogs,” he says. “Animals are not getting enough exposure to normal social interactions, play behavior and roughhousing with other dogs. That’s asking for trouble.

As a fellow dog owner, I strongly suggest you read the rest of this article, if you own a dog yourself.