Why Is My Dog Scared of Gum

If your dog is running away from you the moment you start chewing gum, this post will shed some thoughts as to why your dog is reacting in his way.

The Sudden Popping Sound Of The Gum Startled Him

Your dog had that scary experience of hearing that sudden popping sound of chewing gum in your mouth when he gets near you.

This abrupt bursting noise, which is similar to your sudden sneezing, catches him unaware and makes him fearful.

As he is not able to know why this has happened and when it will occur again, he will keep himself away from you when you are chewing the gum.

This is a natural response for him as he had associated the chewing of the gum in your mouth with something BAD that would happen.

That is, there will be an “explosion” from your mouth.

This will create fear and anxiety in him, as dogs are scared of the unknown.

That is why any unexpected loud noise such as thunder, fireworks, gunshots or fire alarms never fails to trigger their fear.

The Growing And Shrinking Of Bubble From Your Mouth Frighten Him

Your dog is startled by the growing and shrinking of a strange bubble that appears in your mouth.

He is wondering why you are blowing bubbles inside your mouth and what it is. 

The bubbles can easily grow in size in just a few seconds, and then shrink and disappear from your mouth.

This could be a very frightening experience for him as he had never seen anything like that before and would be wondering if that bubble would come out of your mouth to attack him.

That makes him turn fearful of that bubble and stay away from you the moment he sees a bubble appearing in your mouth.

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Unpleasant Smell Of The Gum Puts Him Off

Dogs naturally dislike some scents, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and mints. 

If you are chewing on mint or lemon-flavored gum, you can be sure that your dog will find it very offensive, and he will avoid going near you.

As your dog has a very good sense of smell, he will be able to “smell” what’s in your mouth from far away!

So, if he smells something unpleasant, he will naturally avoid it.

Negative Experience with Chewing Gum

Your dog may have had a bad experience with chewing gum at some point in the past and that makes him react to the memory of a bad experience whenever he sees or smells the presence of gum.

He remembers the gum as something bad.

This can be the case that he had been previously ill-treated by someone who loves to chew gum, and he starts to associate gum with a bad experience.

So, when he sees someone chewing on gum, he will recall that bad experience and that triggers his fear.

It will take some time to train him to stop associating gum with unpleasant experiences. There is no doubt that this can be accomplished.

Unpleasant Experience Of Having Sticky Gum On His Paws

Your dog could have the unpleasant experience of stepping on chewing gum, and it gets stuck in his paws. The sticky gum leaves a nasty mess on his paws and makes him feel uncomfortable.

He will be trying to get rid of the gum through licking his paws and if that doesn’t work, you will find him limping while walking to avoid having that sticky paw touching the floor.

Till you have helped him to remove that gum from his paws, he will have to bear with the discomfort.

This makes him grow his fear of that sticky gum, and he will keep himself far away from it whenever he sees it.

He Is Suffering From Noise Phobia

If your dog reacts negatively to any sounds (even the slightest sound of you chewing the gum, without popping the gum), he may be suffering from what is known as a noise phobia.

Noise phobia is characterized by an extreme fear reaction to any sound, even at low intensity.

His fear reaction could accelerate when the noise intensifies. In particular, when there is a thunderstorm, fireworks or any sudden loud noise such as the popping of bubble gum going on.

The way you can tell if your dog has a phobia is by observing his reaction to the situation.

If he feels threatened upon hearing any noise (even those that are not audible by you) and tries to flee or hide himself, it’s likely that he is suffering from noise phobia and needs treatment.

This could be related to his past history. Maybe someone throws a firecracker at him when he is still a puppy and that triggers his fear of sounds thereafter.

Overcoming Fear with Training and Desensitization

It is possible to help your dog overcome their fear of gum through training and desensitization techniques. 

The goal is to gradually expose your dog to gum in controlled environments, allowing them to build positive associations and reduce their fear response. 

Here are some practical tips to aid in this process:

Start with visual exposure

Begin by showing your dog a piece of gum from a distance. Keep their focus on you and reward them with treats and praise for calm behavior. 

Repeat this step several times, gradually decreasing the distance between your dog and the gum.

Introduce scent exposure

Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell, so it’s essential to gradually introduce them to the scent of gum. 

Rub a small amount of gum on a cloth or toy and allow your dog to sniff it. Again, reward them for calm behavior and positive associations.

Controlled interaction

Once your dog is comfortable with the sight and scent of gum, you can proceed to controlled interaction. 

Place a piece of gum on the ground or a designated surface and allow your dog to approach it at their own pace. 

Ensure that the gum is safely out of reach and cannot be swallowed. Observe their behavior closely and intervene if they become too anxious.

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This is how you should carry out the training:

Let’s say you have a dog named Max who is scared of gum. You begin by showing Max a piece of gum from a distance while keeping him on a leash.

As long as Max remains calm, you reward him with treats and praise. Gradually, you decrease the distance between Max and the gum, always reinforcing positive behavior.

Next, you introduce the scent of gum by rubbing a small amount on a cloth or toy. You allow Max to sniff it while providing treats and praise for his relaxed behavior. This step helps Max associate the smell of gum with positive experiences.

Once Max shows comfort with both visual exposure and scent exposure, you proceed to controlled interaction. You place a piece of gum on the ground in a controlled environment, ensuring it is securely out of Max’s reach.

You observe his behavior closely but avoid forcing him to interact with the gum. If Max approaches the gum calmly or shows curiosity without fear, you reward him with treats and praise.

Over time, through consistent training and desensitization, Max’s fear of gum may gradually diminish. Remember to be patient and progress at a pace that is comfortable for your dog.

Each dog is unique, and it is crucial to tailor the training approach according to their individual needs.

By following these training techniques and being consistent in your efforts, you can help your dog overcome their fear of gum and build positive associations with it.

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