Dog Anxiety - How You Can Help Them!

Posted by Hannah Williamson on

Having an anxious dog is very common here in the Sassy Woof office. Whether separation anxiety, fear of storms, fear of people, etc. we’ve seen it in our pups! Think about it, if we have anxiety, they know even less than we do of what's going on (maybe sometimes that's a good thing 😉). Although we have not mastered every area just yet, we have compiled some of our strategies to help out an anxious dog in different, more common, situations!

STORMS

This is a huge one for our pups and most pups. They don’t know what that extremely loud rumbling is, so of course, they fear it! Here are a couple tips & tricks we’ve learned to help our dogs get through the storm!
  • ThunderShirt: This is a go-to in my household. The ThunderShirt or any anxiety wrap can be used in many different anxiety situations, but clearly by the name, during a storm is a popular one!

  • CBD treats or oils: When you know a storm is coming, give your pup the CBD ahead of time so they can start working even before your pup has the chance to sense the storm and get nervous!

  • Distractions: Give them a bone, treat, or favorite toy before it starts in hopes to distract them from the noise. We find our pups really love Benebone

  • Building them a fort if they like to try to find a place to hide may help them find a place to go! 

  • Let them find a place to hide, but follow them to ensure you know they’re safe. For example, my pup likes to hide underneath the bed, but he also has attempted to get under the couch! The couch is not safe, so I follow him to make sure he’s in one of his SAFE safe places to feel comfortable, rather than letting him maybe get into a dangerous situation!

  • Let them stay where they feel safe. If your dog needs to be under a bed, in the bathroom, or in the closet, make sure they’re comfortable there, and let them stay, no need to force them out.

LEAVING THEM

Whether leaving them for a short period of time like going to the grocery store, a longer period of time like work, or the big kahuna: a vacation, your pup acts like you’ve been gone for days! Below are some tips for each situation!

  • Short: TBH - put them in a comfy place by a window and the short time will pass! 
  • Long: If this is a routine, like leaving your dog home when you’re at work, make sure they’re comfortable. Make sure they're left with their bed, favorite toy, & water. It helps sometimes to leave the TV or radio on for some background sound. Leaving them by a place with a window is also helpful for some distraction throughout the time! CBD pills can work in this situation as well! Soon this routine will feel comfy for them. For your benefit, getting something like a Furbo is helpful to keep an eye on your dog throughout the time gone! 
  • Longer: If you’re leaving your dog with a friend or family member, make sure your dog is comfortable in the space before the stay. Bring them over to just hang out and play so they are familiar with it. If you can, leave them with someone they know well, or someone with a dog they're friends with! Leave them with something with your scent on it, or their favorite toy! 
Separation anxiety training: No dog wants you to leave them, but some have a bigger separation issue. There is special training you can do where you teach your dog that it's okay if you leave them because you will always come back! 

BRINGING THEM PLACES

Starting to socialize your dog young is a great way to get them comfortable going to new places! 
If it's someplace that your pup is going to be going a lot, make sure there are things there that make them feel comfortable; favorite toys, anxiety or comfort bed, treats, etc. 
If you did not get your dog as a pup, be conscious that you may not know all of the situations your pup has been in, and be patient. Make sure not to force your dog to do anything, be pet by anyone, or be friends with any dogs if they don’t feel comfortable. However, work with your dog to get over these nerves. Whether it’s working with a trainer, or reading up on training techniques, and again – be patient!

PEOPLE

Just like you, your dog is not going to like everyone, and that is okay - as long as they aren't aggressive. If you know you have an anxious dog that may take a second to decide if they want the person to pet them or not, let people know as they meet your dog. Ask them to be calm, gentle, quiet, and let your dog come to them. It helps to socialize them more, so they are more used to being around people. Always keep in mind that progress can be slow, and you need to be patient with your pet. 

DOGS   

Similar to people, not every dog will like every dog. If your dog is an anxious or nervous dog, it might be hard for them to make friends. There are groups you can take your anxious dog to if you'd like to socialize them with like-minded dogs! But like with everything, patience is so important, as well as not forcing it. Make sure if your dog is meeting other dogs, you're right there and watching to ensure nothing serious goes wrong. Having them meet in a neutral spot can also help so no one feels defensive of the space. As always, trust your dog, and give them time. 

We are continuously trying to make our pup's the happiest they can be! Let us know any tips & tricks you may have in the comments! 

← Older Post Newer Post →



Leave a comment