As friendly as your dog normally is with you, does he sometimes act skittish when it comes to new people? In some cases, dogs do this because they may have been abused before you got them. In other cases, the dog might just be naturally skittish. It may take some effort on your part, but you can do a lot to help your dog overcome his anxiety when it comes to strangers. Remember that an anxious dog is one that is on full alert. This is a situation that has the potential to end badly, so you need to take care of this issue, for the mental and emotional health of your dog as well as for the safety of others.
Create a Safe Zone
The fastest way to reduce anxiety is to establish an area where your dog will have a complete feeling of safety. To do this, create a place that is just for your dog. It may be the dog’s crate, a specific chair, or some other area that is just for him. Make it a practice not to let anyone other than you or the dog enter his special safety zone. This will help your dog understand that this is a safe place where no one can disturb him.
Known as anxiety shirts or the name brand variety the ThunderShirt, this simple piece of attire has a very unique function that is both clever and surprising.
I had never seen one of these shirts used until I stayed with a friend who has a somewhat nervous dog that often reacted to too much noise and excitement. I was a doubter. I didn’t see how simply putting a ThunderShirt on a dog could make any difference or help her with her stress, but I was wrong. It did help, and I saw the results within minutes. She actually seems to enjoy wearing it, too.
How They Work
If you’ve ever noticed the contentment and security your dog gets cuddling against you or being close to you, you will have a sense of what an anxiety shirt does for your dog. When a dog is scared, they need to feel secure, safe and connected to help them deal with what is troubling them. Emotion and fear can overwhelm a dog that is under duress.
An anxiety shirt wraps the dog in a pressured jacket that surrounds their body and gives them what is basically a constant hug to keep them calm and reassure them. The shirt not only helps with the various causes of stress, it provides an alternate method of helping your dog when she needs it. Read More »
Although fireworks are festive, exciting and beautiful to us, to a dog they can be frightening and very painful.
Some dogs have no problems dealing with the noise, but other dogs do not handle the situation as well. Your dog can become destructive, loud or act very frightened when the fireworks begin.
A dog’s ears are much more sensitive than those of their human companions. Fireworks are loud even to people. To a dog the noise level is more elevated and intense. If you have ever seen a human child who is frightened of fireworks or any other extreme noise, imagine what a dog must be experiencing when fireworks are exploding nearby.
To help your dog cope with the agitation fireworks can cause for them, try these methods to alleviate the problem and make them more comfortable.
Companionship during stressful times is good for human and dog alike. There is security in having someone close by.
A few summers ago, a young raccoon in the neighborhood apparently decided my dogs were interesting to watch. I don’t know if he was lonely or thought the dogs were funny looking, but he’d show up almost every day when they were outside in their pen. He’d climb one of the trees overlooking the pen to sit and watch them. The dogs knew he was in the tree, and it frustrated them to no end. The raccoon forced us to change our nighttime routine to keep the dogs from waking up the neighborhood with their excited barking. He eventually moved on, but his presence definitely stressed out the dogs. We don’t always stop to consider how anxiety in a dog or cat’s life affects them, or what even causes it, but too much stress can lead to health issues and behavior problems.
What Causes Stress for Pets?
Shelter animals deal with stress on a daily basis. They live in a noisy environment with no way to escape or hide. Sensitive pets have a hard time dealing with shelter life. Stray and lost pets have to contend with a host of issues that can put their health at risk. Stress in dogs and cats is caused by environmental, emotional or physical issues.
Environmental stress is caused by moving to a new home, a change in routine, holidays, loss of a family member (human or animal), other pets, trips to the vet and other issues dealing with their environment.
Like human beings, dogs react to stressful situations. Dogs show their anxiety through altered behavior, by becoming clingy, acting out, or even withdrawing. Unlike human beings though, dogs cannot express their anxiety in the verbal ways we do. It is up to a responsible pet owner to pay attention to the physical and behavioral cues their dog exhibits, and respond accordingly to help their dog calm down and deal with the situation that is giving them stress and anxiety.
Touch and contact helps both humans and dogs relieve anxiety, fear and stress. When a dog feels cut off from their human, their anxiety level is likely to increase. If they are hurting physically, just being close to you may help keep them calmer. Petting and cuddling your dog will help take away some of the anxiety.
A move to a new home can be disorienting and traumatic for a dog. The surroundings, smells, sounds and sights are all different. Everything is not in the places they are used to having them. Being uprooted may also make your dog anxious and clingy.
You may notice odd behavior in your dog immediately after you move to a new home. They may follow you everywhere like a shadow, or even act up in inappropriate ways that you may not realize are related to being in new surroundings. A move can make a dog feel insecure and unsure of what is happening. Thankfully, there are some ways you can help your dog adjust and settle in to his new home.
If possible, stay home with your dog for a few days so they begin to understand that the change is not temporary and you are not leaving them somewhere. Set up their bedding, water, CANIDAE food and toys right away so the dog can see familiar things around them even if the rest of the house is still in boxes or the mess of unpacking.
Take your dog for a walk on a leash to get them used to the sights, smells and sounds of the new neighborhood. This will help them become oriented to the new area. If you have a yard, spend some outside time there with your dog. This will help them realize that the yard is their space too. With you present while they explore, they will feel more secure.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.