Anxiety. Some of us are born prone to having higher levels of anxiety whether it’s a matter of genetics, external factors or as a result of trauma. It’s the exact same thing with dogs. For pet parents of our best friends who suffer with nerves, even intermittently or temporarily, it can be a real challenge to watch them suffer. Here are a few ways to help:
Use Calming Voices
The worst thing to do when your dog is nervous is to raise your voice. If your dog is showing signs of nervousness including shivering, panting when it’s not hot, pacing, cowering, hiding, digging, excessive licking or biting herself, the first thing to do is say “It’s OK (name)” in a calm, soothing voice while maintaining eye contact. If your pup doesn’t settle, giving them a few pets or a hug/cuddle is also great.
The goal of mat training is to have your dog go to his mat on command, and stay until you give the command to release. Focusing on staying on his mat will help release his stress, and it’s also a great training practice for dogs in general.
For details about mat training, check out the videos at Cold Nose College.
Like swaddling an infant, ThunderShirts provide gentle, constant pressure around your dog’s torso that can help to release the calming hormones oxytocin or endorphins. Developed to help dogs calm down during thunderstorms or fireworks, the shirts can be used anytime your dog feels anxious.
Some dogs respond well to music when they’re feeling nervous. Whether it’s classical, soft rock, jazz or adult contemporary, music can distract your pup from the stressor that’s causing anxiety and give him relief.
Dogs like routine and can become nervous if their rules keep changing. While you can’t plan every day to the hour, try to keep as consistent as possible with their feeding and potty break times. The same thing applies to their rules. If they’re not allowed on the bed or furniture, don’t allow them to sit on it just because they’re nervous or you want some snuggle time.
Reduce Separation Anxiety
Many dogs have separation anxiety when their parents go to work or are away for many hours in the day. Consider enrolling your pup in doggie day, like at Dog Day, Every Day! We offer full-time or part-time care in a loving, clean, supportive environment where your dog will have fun playing with the pack and learning socialization skills. Please give us a call at 513-860-3647 to talk with us about your options. For more pet care tips and our latest updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest!