My puppy is anxious - What can I do to help?

07 August 2013

When you think about it most domestic dogs especially those that are kept as pets rely on us for their everyday survival. Most well loved pets are well cared for physically but we often overlook their emotional needs and also the effect our emotions have on their sense of wellbeing. If they rely on you for everything including feeling safe and secure imagine how they must feel if you are feeling stressed or insecure. Suddenly the person they rely on most cannot provide them with emotional security.

In my experience if I look after my own emotional wellbeing my dogs feel and act a lot more settled. There will be times when life throws us stressful situations. We and our dogs can deal with that. It is the chronic stress that eats away at our wellbeing. 

Tips to help you and your dog with stress and anxiety.

Keep your dog to a routine. It helps them feel safe. 

If you are socialising your puppy don't overdo it. If they are scared of the traffic stick to the side roads until they gat more used to traffic. Even if you are carrying them make sure they are not feeling petrified. Much better to take it slowly.

Try not to feed off each other. If your dog is showing signs of stress (usually a behavioural problem) your first port of call is your vets who will be able to check for any underlying conditions and then if appropriate refer you to a Pet Behaviour Counsellor.

If you are feeling stressed please do not take it out on your pets. They will be feeling your emotions so don't add to it by shouting or losing your temper with them.

A well trained dog that is taught to be calm with positive reinforcement will be less reactive than a dog that has never been taught simple impulse control exercises.

Dogs relieve stress by chewing and licking. Give them Kongs stuffed with their dinner or chews to relieve boredom and stress.

Go for a long walk with your dog. It will help both of you to feel better.

Try yoga for dogs. My colleague Petrina says it really works!

I prefer to regularly meditate for my own stress management. My dogs quite often join me!

DAP collars and sprays have a calming effect on dogs. Especially useful around firework time or for settling a new puppy into it's new home.

There are many herbal remedies that help with stress ask your vet they should be able to help.

© Karen England2013

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