For most of us, our pets are almost like children to us. We love them and care about them as part of our families. And that’s what makes it so hard when we see our pets struggling with fear and anxiety. We have some Pampered Pets advice to help your nervous or anxious dog feel calm and safe:
If your dog is truly fearful, the first step is to figure out what the issue is.
We need to make them feel safe and calm. Giving your anxious dog their own space can help them feel calmer and more in control of their environment. Try setting up a crate or bed in a quiet space in your home, where your nervous dog can go to avoid triggers and feel safe.
To your anxious dog, you’re their pack leader.
If you react and seem nervous around a certain stimulus, your pet will copy that. If you panic at a loud noise or passing car, your anxious pup may do the same. But if you can remain calm and confident, then your anxious dog will feel more safe.
Rewards and punishments are powerful.
Never punish your anxious dog for being fearful or nervous. They can’t help it! Reward them when they are calm and help them to feel safe and secure.
Tire out your anxious dog with exercise.
Like toddlers, a wound-up anxious dog is a ticking time bomb. Take them on walks in areas where they know the terrain and aren’t likely to panic. Provide them with as much exercise as possible to help them get out all that nervous energy (helps humans, too!).
Protect your dog and build trust.
Especially if your anxious dog is a rescue or has trust issues with other humans, it’s important to rebuild that trust. Your dog relies on you to give them food and water, and keep them warm & safe. By making sure your anxious dog’s needs are met on a regular schedule, you help your pup feel safe. Dogs who feel safe are less likely to be nervous.
Help your anxious dog handle abnormally stressful situations.
It’s just life that sometimes there will be changes in your pet’s routine. Storms and fireworks happen, and those are scary and stressful for dogs. You might go on vacation and your pup may feel separation anxiety, even when left with the best caretakers. (Or you might take your dog with you, but travel can also be stressful!).
Be patient with your anxious dog.
Nervous dogs need a lot of love and support to help them overcome their fear and anxiety. Getting frustrated with your anxious pet isn’t going to help the process. Do your best to understand their worries from their point of view and b prepared to support your dog over the long haul.
Consider getting professional help.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything to help your nervous dog and you aren’t seeing any progress, it might be time to get some outside help. A professional trainer can help with your anxious dog’s behavior and overall well being.