An anxious dog is not a happy dog. Do you know how to recognize that your dog is scared or nervous? Maybe you know how to recognize it, but what do you do to help your pup?
Do you have an anxious dog?
Usually, he or she is happy go lucky, relaxed and ready to have fun. But then something happens that transforms them into a dog that you might not recognize. Is your usually relaxed dog
- drooling excessively
- wide eyed
- trying to hide
- tucking the tail
If you see these or other uncharacteristic behaviors, your dog might be nervous or afraid. It’s a good thing to be aware of. Knowing is the first step in helping them feel better.
Why is my dog acting this way?
Sometimes events happen that turn your loveable mutt into a mess. Have you ever noticed that when a thunderstorm hits, your dog runs for the basement? My dog, Sera, does that. She can hear it long before I’m aware of it. Possibly, you see these behaviors when you go to the vet’s office? That’s definitely a place that most dogs are less than fond of. Then there are the fireworks that so often show up this time of year. All those loud noises hurt the ears and provoke anxiety too.
These situations and many more can cause your dog some discomfort. You might not be able to prevent the situations, but you can learn when to anticipate that your dog will have a problem and help prepare them to deal with it.
How can you help your dog to tolerate these anxiety-producing events?
There are several steps you can take in order to be prepared. You may not be able to get rid of the fear completely, but anything you can do to minimize the anxiety will help.
- The first step is to KNOW your dog. Seems simple, right? But how well do you really know them? Do you know the top few situations that make them nervous? How do they react and how severely do they react?
- Once you know these things about your dog, you can anticipate when the problems will come up and put together a plan to help them through it. For example, if thunderstorms are a problem, knowing they are in the weather report and roughly when they’re predicted can allow you to keep your dog inside, use medicines, music, etc., to keep them calm, etc.
- Learn about several methods of reducing anxiety. Items like thundershirts, CBD oil, meds from the vet, calming music, exercising to wear off anxious energy, etc., can all be helpful. But they may not work on your dog for the particular situation. Having several approaches means a greater chance of success.
- If you can, be there for your dog. You provide a whole lot of security to them. If you can’t be there, try to have a safe place like a kennel, a comfy bed or a favorite toy.
- After the situation, evaluate what worked and what didn’t. You now have a chance to refine your approach so next time, things can be even better for your dog.
Your dog can be less anxious
Knowing that something is likely to cause anxiety and getting ahead of the situation allows you to be proactive before your dog reaches that “about to jump out of their skin” state. Once the anxiety reaches that level, it’s really hard to diffuse. Catching it early gives you a better chance of helping your dog have minimal reactions or maybe even none at all.
Figure out what turns your sweet pup into an anxious dog. They don’t do it to be naughty. You can help them to handle situations better by applying a few tips and tricks. You’ll both feel better if you do.
Do you have some techniques you’ve used that help your dog feel less anxious? Tell me about them in the comments below.
For more about helping your dog with anxiety, read my post Essential Oils for dogs or What is CBD oil? Fireworks and the Fourth of July are especially hard on dogs. Read my post Don’t let your dog’s fear of fireworks ruin his day for some ideas to help your dog. Understanding your dog’s personality might help too. Read Dog personality on this blog for a few ideas. Or PetMD has a great post that might help.