How to Overcome Dog Anxiety: Tips for a Calmer Pet
Dogs are loved members of many families and it can be heartbreaking to see your pup suffer from anxiety. Whether it’s from a new environment, changes in their routine, or any number of things that throw them into a bundle of nerves, dog anxiety can make both the pet and their owners feel helpless and frustrated.
Fortunately, there are many simple and effective steps you can take to help your pet feel more secure. With a few simple adjustments, you can help your dog overcome their anxieties and lead a healthier, more relaxed life. Read on to learn more about dog anxiety, how to help your dog become a calmer, more relaxed pet.
What is Dog Anxiety?
Dog anxiety is a condition in which a dog experiences fear and distress in response to a certain situation or stimuli. It can show itself in different forms, such as fearfulness, aggression, or excessive barking. It can also be caused by changes in the environment, such as a move to a new home, the introduction of a new pet, or guests visiting your house. It can also be triggered by certain noises, such as fireworks, thunderstorms, or traffic.
When a dog is experiencing anxiety, they may show physical signs such as panting, pacing, trembling, or cowering. They may also display behavioral signs, such as excessive barking, digging, or chewing. It’s important to note that not all dogs will show the same signs of anxiety; some may be more subtle than others.
It’s also important to note that not all causes of dog anxiety are external. Many dogs suffer from genetic or medical conditions that can contribute to anxiety. For example, some breeds may be predisposed to anxiety, and medical conditions such as thyroid dysfunction can also be a factor.
Signs of Dog Anxiety
Signs of dog anxiety, as they can vary from dog to dog. Some common signs include excessive barking, panting, cowering, shaking, drooling, and pacing. Dogs may also exhibit destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging, or scratching. Additionally, some dogs may become withdrawn or clingy in response to anxiety.
Some dogs may display more subtle signs of anxiety. For example, they may become less active or show signs of fatigue. Additionally, some dogs may exhibit signs of stress or fear, such as refusing to go outside or hiding in dark corners.
Mental Stimulation to Help Overcome Anxiety
Mental stimulation can work wonders on your dog’s stress level. Mental stimulation provides a distraction from the anxiety-inducing stimuli and can help a dog learn to focus on something other than their fear. Activities such as obedience training, agility courses, and puzzle toys can help to keep a dog focused and engaged. All of these can be found at The Dog Stop and can be a helpful addition to your nervous pet during its daycare or boarding stay.
In addition to providing mental stimulation, it’s important to ensure that a dog is getting enough physical exercise. Regular walks and playtime can help to burn off excess energy and reduce stress. Both can help to build a bond between the dog and their owner, which can help to reduce anxiety.
Creating a Calming Environment
Creating a calming environment is key to helping a dog overcome anxiety when at home.. This can be done by making sure their surroundings are free from any stimuli that may trigger anxiety, such as loud noises or unfamiliar people. There is another factor that overwhelms dogs — clutter.
If a dog is feeling anxious in a certain area of the home, it’s a good idea to create a “safe space” for them. This can be done by placing a bed or crate, along with their favorite blanket or toy, in an area of the home where the dog feels calm and secure.
We also can’t overlook how our emotions affect our pup’s emotions. Here’s an interesting post, backed by numerous studies from National Geographic called “Yes, Dogs can Catch their Owner’s Emotions.”
Using Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is a technique that rewards a dog for desired behaviors, such as calmness or obedience. Rewards can be anything from verbal praise to healthy treats. Make sure that the rewards are consistent and that they are given at the right time. Reinforcement should never be used as a punishment so focus on rewarding the pup’s good behaviors.
Professional Help for Dog Anxiety
In some cases, professional help may be necessary to help a dog overcome their anxiety. If a dog’s anxiety is severe or if it is interfering with their daily life, seek the help of a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer. A professional can help to identify the cause of the anxiety and create a plan to help the dog overcome it.
Natural Remedies for Dog Anxiety
Fortunately, there are a number of natural remedies that can help to reduce a dog’s anxiety. For example, aromatherapy can be used to create a calming environment. Lavender and chamomile essential oils can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Just be careful, certain essential oils and how they’re used can be toxic to your pup. Music therapy can also be used to help a dog relax. Playing calming music can help to reduce stress and provide a distraction from the anxiety-inducing stimuli.
Other natural remedies that can help to reduce anxiety include massage, CBD, and exercise. Massage can help to reduce stress and relax the muscles. Can your dog benefit from CBD? Check out this blog post for more information.
Another common remedy is often overlooked and that’s regular exercise which can help to reduce stress and burn off excess energy.
Dog anxiety can be a heartbreaking condition for both the pet and their owner. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to help your dog overcome their anxiety and lead a calmer, happier life. From providing mental stimulation to changing their environment, there are many simple and effective steps you can take to help your pet feel more secure. With a few simple adjustments, you can help your pup overcome their anxieties and lead a healthier, more relaxed life.