How to Calm Your Dog
Updated on: 11/16/2020
Living with an anxious or hyper dog can be hard for everyone. As a dog owner, you worry about your dog’s health but at the same time, you worry about the damage your dog might do to your home. A nervous or hyper dog can cause a ton of damage to its surroundings which puts your animal at risk, too.
There are a plethora of reasons as to why your dog might get anxious or turn hyperactive. If you rescued your dog, you have no idea what their life was like before they came into your loving arms. They might have separation anxiety or be afraid of confined spaces. Some dogs are afraid of loud noises like storms or traffic. Some dogs, depending on the breed, are born to be hyperactive or anxious.
No matter the reason or your current situation, there are some great ways that you can calm your dog to keep them feeling safe, happy and loved.
Calming a Hyper dog
The first step to calming a naturally hyper dog is to know the breed that you are dealing with. Some dogs, like Border Collies or German Shepherds, need a lot of daily exercises. If you’re at work all day and they’re only getting enough outside time to do their business, they will be hyperactive at night. A nightly game of fetch or perhaps doggie daycare will remedy this.
Another way to calm a hyperactive dog is by getting them to use their mind. Mental exercise can wear a dog out as well as physical exercise, sometimes. Teaching your dog proper obedience commands and using them daily is key to a well-behaved dog.
You might want to get your dog some toys that exercise their mind as well. Toys that make them play a game to find treats or frozen treats that take a long time to eat will wear them out enough that they’re ready for naptime before you know it.
In summary, the best way to calm your hyper dog is to
- Give them plenty of exercises
- Train them well
- Give their mind a task
Calming an Anxious dog
In order to calm an anxious dog, you need to know what exactly it is that’s making them upset. Once you know their triggers, preventing them will be much easier.
There are three main kinds of anxiety in dogs: Fear-based, separation-based and age-related.
Fearful dogs might get anxious when there are loud noises, new people or animals or a change in surroundings.
Separation anxiety occurs in about 14 percent of dogs. When dogs with separation anxiety are left alone, they may damage upholstery, furniture, carpeting or harm themselves or other pets.
Aging dogs may get anxious because they cannot function at the caliber that they are used to. They may feel confused or depressed as they get older.
Another important thing is to recognize the symptoms of anxiety in dogs:
- Urinating or defecating in the house
- Destructive behavior
- Excessive barking
- Repetitive or compulsive behaviors
There are almost endless ways to try to calm an anxious dog. From medications to music to supplements and clothing, almost every industry has something to offer. The problem is that every dog is very different and can take a lot of trial and error to find what works best for you and your pet.
The first step is proper training and counterconditioning. If you can change your dog’s response to stimuli from a negative one to a positive one, you can really change their mind about what makes them upset. It could be beneficial to hire a professional trainer for this.
Another possibility or a second step to treating a dog with anxiety is finding the right medication. If you consult with your dog’s vet and together decide that anxiety medicine is the right route, then an SSRI or antidepressant might be a good option for your dog.
Nowadays, there are tons of excellent homeopathic remedies to anxiety in dogs including CBD oil and lavender oil. When administered in proper doses, CBD oil can have amazing effects on dogs (and humans, too!). Lavender has been used for ages and has a proven overall calming effect. Either way, your dog’s vet should be consulted before choosing to treat your dog’s anxiety with homeopathic supplements.
Finally, try purchasing an anxiety jacket for your dog. They wrap tightly around their torso and act the same way that a weighted blanket does for humans. The pressure feels comforting and creates the illusion of safety.
READ MORE: How many Treats to give a Puppy a Day
In summary, the best ways to treat anxiety in dogs are:
- Proper training
- Homeopathic supplements
- Anxiety jackets
Calming your Dog during a Thunderstorm
Some dogs only act up during a thunderstorm. Depending on where you live, thunderstorms might be quite often and can really disturb you and your dog’s quality of life.
You might never know what exactly it is about a thunderstorm that makes your dog upset. Is it loud noises? The flash of lightning? It could be the change in air pressure or just the smell of rain!
Whatever it is, you want your dog to feel safe and happy, knowing that they are perfectly safe from the storm.
Make sure you bring your pet inside any time there is a sign of a storm. Even at the first signs, they might become anxious and upset. Bringing them inside as soon as possible will assure them that they are safe.
Providing a distraction from the storm is another great way to calm your dog. Bring your dog to a family member’s house or invite someone over to play. If strange situations make your dog nervous, too, strike up an indoor game of fetch or give them a bath. Anything to make them happy and forget about the outside storm.
If your dog is crate-trained and they find comfort in their crate, it’s not a bad idea to get them in their crate and cover them with a noise-muffling blanket. If you have an anxiety jacket, you can try to use that to add to their comfort as well.
In summary, the best ways to calm a dog during a thunderstorm are:
- Bringing them inside at the first sign of a storm
- Distracting them
- Making them feel safe in a crate or anxiety jacket (or both!)
Hopefully, this guide helps put you and your pet on the path to happiness and harmony. An anxious or hyperactive dog is not a bad dog. They just need a little extra love and attention from you, their owner.
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