Ginger’s Dog Blog: Aiding Canine Anxiety

A little over a month ago I posted a blog asking if there was any interest in reading a “Dog Blog” every week where I would feature a listener question about dog behavior or health or training or other dog related issues or fun things to do with your dog.  I received a lot of positive feedback and I would be honored to answer your questions and give you plenty of options for fun things to do with your dog.

One of the first responses I received was from Brenda who has a 12 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback/Lab mix who also happens to be a rescue.  Brenda’s dog suffers from extreme anxiety over thunderstorms, fireworks and even large commercial lawnmowers.  Her anxiety is so bad she doesn’t want to go outside.

Take heart, Brenda.  There are many dog owners who deal with your exact situation.  Many dogs have extreme anxiety over loud noises.  It does sound like your situation has gone to an elevated level.  When a dog has extreme fear about a situation they will shut down.  The best thing to do is to not comfort that fear.  She may perceive your comfort as a reward for being scared.  It may be a slow process to get her back to that level of trust that nothing bad will happen to her if she goes outside but you can do it.  Start with just putting on the leash and let her know you just want her to take a few steps off the couch or out of the corner then let her go back.  Keep repeating the process until she takes a few steps, then a few steps more, then a few steps more. You are building back the trust that nothing bad will happen to her when that leash goes on.  If you can get her interested in something that smells good or sounds good that may help change her focus.

Just remember, this is your dog’s fear, not yours so be patient and give her time.  It may take months but consistency, patience and confidence coming from you will help her overcome her anxiety.  I highly recommend you research your specific problem regarding dog anxiety at the library or online.  There are many dog training professionals in the Madison area who are very good and can help you with your situation if you feel you would like outside help.  I’m confident you can help your dog overcome her fear and anxiety.

If you have a question or a dog related event you would like to see on Ginger’s Dog Blog please email me at Ginger@magic98.com and I’ll feature it in the next edition.

Find more of Ginger Martin‘s blogs here.