7 Common Reasons your Dog is Anxious
As dog owners, we want to make sure that our dogs are always happy and healthy. Some dogs can get anxious from time to time, and it’s important that when we see signs of dog anxiety that we try our best to understand what could be causing it.
In this blog post, we will go over some of the most common reasons why anxiousness in dogs may occur. Knowing these causes can help us provide appropriate assistance for our anxious pups!
Loud or Unusual Noises
Some anxious dogs are sensitive to loud noises. For example, they may be scared of fireworks or thunderstorms because the noise is too overwhelming for them. Dogs that come from breeds with a history of hunting (e.g., pointers, retrievers) may also have heightened sensitivity to sound.
Sirens, car horns, doorbells, and alarms are some other common sources of noise that anxious dogs might react to. Optimize the safety of your anxious dog by avoiding noisy places during high traffic hours or fireworks displays.
This way they can feel safe and secure without being overwhelmed with too much noise.
Being Left Alone
Separation anxiety in dogs is a common issue among dogs, and it occurs when the dog has strong feelings for their owner or family members.
When your anxious pup is left alone, they may express behaviors like barking incessantly at nothing, in particular, chewing at things, or even destroying items in the home. If your anxious pup has separation anxiety, consult with a qualified dog behaviorist or vet to find an appropriate treatment plan.
Some anxious dogs are scared of strangers. They may be more comfortable around people they know, and this makes them anxious when they see someone new coming into the home or yard.
Dogs that have been abused in some way can also develop stranger anxiety because their past experiences with unfamiliar humans were negative ones (i.e., abuse). Dogs can be anxious around just one specific person or multiple people.
If your anxious dog is anxious around strangers, try to slowly introduce them to new people. Doing so in a positive environment can help reduce their anxiety and fear of strangers.
Changes in the Home Environment
Dogs are creatures of habit, and they may get anxious when there is a sudden change to their environment. For instance, if you move to a new house or city that your dog isn’t familiar with yet, he/she might become anxious because of all the new smells or sights.
Changes in family dynamics (e.g., a birth) can also impact anxious dogs because they may not be used to the changes in their home environment anymore.
Change is inevitable, so do your best to accommodate anxious pets when possible and try your best not to overwhelm them with too much change at once!
Sometimes anxious dogs can become anxious around other dogs. This is especially common when the anxious dog has been picked on or bullied by other more dominant/aggressive dogs in the past.
If your anxious pup becomes anxious around another dog, try to avoid situations where they are forced together with one another (e.g., off-leash parks). Instead, try to expose them to other dogs at a distance. Then gradually introduce your anxious dog closer and closer until they are eventually comfortable around the other dog (or dogs) again.
Some anxious dogs are also anxious around cars because they associate them with scary experiences (e.g., car accidents, rides to the vet).
If your dog gets anxious in the car, try not to force them into it or punish them for showing their anxiousness. Instead, distract them with treats and toys before getting into the vehicle. Then, slowly introduce them to the car over time (e.g., drive around the block) until they are comfortable with it again.
Crate training is often recommended by dog trainers, but anxious dogs can sometimes become anxious in crates. This anxiety might be due to overcrowding (i.e., too many anxious dogs in one crate) or because they associate the crate with punishment and/or isolation from their family members.
Anxiety around crates can also occur when anxious dogs are anxious in general. If your anxious dog is anxious around crates, try to make the crate more positive by putting treats or toys inside of it when they aren’t using it. Then bring them near the crate while keeping their attention elsewhere until eventually, you can get them comfortable enough with being put into a crate for short periods.
In conclusion, anxious dogs can be a challenge and they might require more attention than your average pet. If you suspect that your dog is anxious because of one or multiple reasons, contact a qualified vet or behaviorist to help get them the appropriate treatment plan for their specific needs!
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