Hey canine custodians,
We are kicking off May with Dog Anxiety Awareness Week (May 2nd – 8th), which seems timely as the UK comes out of lockdown, step by step.
For new pup owners, taking your little treasure to the pub or a friend’s house for the first time might trigger a little anxiety for both of you.
And experienced dog owners? You might be noticing some odd behaviour in even your most confident of cuddle monsters.
Newbie or seasoned dog-parents, here’s a few signs to watch out for that might tell you your little pooch is a bit panicky:
- Barking at small things/everything
- Panting and pacing and generally being unable to settle
- Shaking or appearing to ‘shiver’
- New behaviours such a digging or destroying things
- Excessive cleaning, licking or nibbling or paws and tail
- Trying to escape
- Not listening to usually easily followed commands
So what can we do to keep our canines feeling confident?
Firstly, introduce new environments slowly and for short periods of time. A 5-hour stint in a busy pub garden would be challenging for any pooch.
Focus on teaching them to settle and possibly bring something from home which they associate with chilling out. (i.e a blanket, bed, or favourite toy.)
Secondly, allow things to happen on their terms. Ask unfamiliar visitors to approach slowly, don’t make direct and deliberate eye contact, and stroke the dog on the chest rather than the head – only if the dog approaches them first.
If we show our dogs that we’ve got their back and we’re keeping them safe, they’re much happier to do as we say, when asked.
As you go along, read the signs. If you’ve done all of the above and your dog is still exhibiting signs of stress, it’s time to go home for a snooze. Overstimulated doggies get more hyper, a bit like toddlers! So take the cues from your own pooch. After all, you know them best!
If you want to prepare your pup for new situations, you can start by integrating calming supplements into their routine.
Herbacalm helps to soothe reactive dogs and prepare them for anything from fireworks to travelling. Just a few drops of the hood wort, chamomile and valerian tincture will help to support them through stressful periods.