Managing anxiety in dogs

Except from Wild Heart Pets Newsletter

Ben suffers from separation anxiety. He’s so totally bonded to me that I rarely leave him at home. When I do, he has someone he knows with him and this doesn’t always help completely. He’s still stressed about where I am.

Given this situation, I wanted to understand more about anxiety in dogs and in particular how to help Ben, so I attended Vicki Austin’s One Day Workshop – Helping Anxious Dogs.  

Key Takeaways

The key things I learned are:

  • Anxiety reduces a dog's quality of life, so anything you can do to develop resilience in an anxious dog will help them
  • Anxiety is a “flight or fight” response, it’s not your dog being needy or naughty
  • The reasons for anxiety in dogs is complex and sometimes you'll never know where it originated. Some of the anxiety can be related to particular breeds and some of it to their experiences as very young puppies
  • Depending on the degree of anxiety, it can be a tricky condition to treat and takes time and patience
  • Getting advice and help from a behavioural specialist is critical to help your dog cope and develop skills to manage any stress.

Things I'll be working on with Ben 

  • Varying his routine around feeding time, location and food type
  • Increasing the amount of exercise and play, using different toys, games, puzzles and other activities
  • Adding new and more complex games and enrichment activities into his day, and
  • Working on a new technique I learned to increase his resilience when I'm away from him.

Anything you can do to keep them stimulated, create variety will help your dog’s with self-confidence and (hopefully) overtime decrease their level of stress and anxiety they experience.


woman with black cocker spaniel

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