I’ve written about anxiety and our dogs in the past (CLICK HERE to read).  Each of our dogs has anxiety at different levels, but it's mild when compared to many dogs.

 

3 Ways I’m Treating My Dog’s Mild Anxiety Successfully

DepositPhoto/Ksuksann

 

My Experience with Anxiety in Dogs

I don't have much experience with anxiety in dogs beyond a fear of loud noises, distrust of strangers, and the absolute certainty that the mail carrier is plotting to kill us all.  I've heard horror stories about separate anxiety and chronic phobias in dogs that make what I go through with my dogs feel like a mild case of the hiccups.

So, if you're looking for solutions for severely anxious dogs, I'm afraid that the tips here may not help.

Rodrigo

  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Brooms
  • Loud noises (machinery, thunderstorms, fireworks)
  • Changes in a room (rearranging furniture makes him uncomfortable)
  • Moods in humans (I try to always check my bad mood at the door)
  • Bicycles
  • Windstorms
  • Power outages

Sydney

  • Strangers (dogs)
  • Crowds (festivals, dog park, etc.)

Scout

  • Strangers (humans)
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Brooms
  • Bicycles
  • Moods in humans

Zoey

  • Strangers (dogs and humans)
  • Crowds (festivals, dog park, etc.)
  • Bicycles
  • Loud or strange noises (she doesn’t like the clicker)
  • Moods in humans
  • Too much activity
  • Power outages

 

Zoey - Natural Flea and Tick

This is Zoey when she was still a puppy (not even a year old).

 

That may seem like a lot to deal with, but most of the above are manageable.  Out of all of our dogs, Zoey has the highest level of anxiousness and it's raised some concerns.  She seems very stressed and she expresses her anxiousness by barking, nipping, jumping on me, and scratching at my face for attention.

If a stranger comes to the house, she barks like crazy.  If they try and pet her, she barks even more and runs to me.  You can see how stressed she gets and this past summer I started working with her on confidence and we’re seeing results.

One on One Time

During a health consultation with The Pet Beastro, I was advised to start spending one on one time with Zoey.  Because she’s the smallest and most submissive dog in our pack, she needs to build her confidence through one on one time with me.  I began to take her on solo walks in the woods around our house and pet-friendly places like Home Depot.  She and I also play together upstairs (the cat's domain) and we hang out in her room (previously my step son's room).

One on One time works for all of our dogs.  While Zoey seems to be the most insecure, all of the dogs benefit from having alone time with us and we're seeing a difference in their behavior, how they interact with each other, and how they react to their environment.

Exercise

Three out of four of our dogs are active and when they don't get their exercise, they can be a pain to deal with at times.  During our summer months, we have a lot of work on our property and sometimes J has friends who help him with that work, which means that the dogs are going to spend the day barking – not fun.  So exercise is crucial if we want peace.

We try to exercise our dogs daily, which can be challenging during the shorter, winter days, but we make it happen.  When the days are longer, we have more options.  I walk Sydney at least twice a day, 5 days a week.  Once in the morning and once in the evening.  The other dogs get play time and a walk once or twice daily.  30 minutes of walking and running go a long way in helping our dogs remember their manners when guests arrive on our property.

Nose Work and Games

I would like to get Zoey involved in nose work.  We don’t have a trainer or classes nearby and I don’t have the time at the moment to travel with her.  We've also talked about getting Scout involved in dock diving because he loves to swim.

Our time is limited so we turned our focus to toys and a few years ago I learned about a Kickstarter for a product that I thought would be great for our dogs, especially in the winter months.

The PupPod is a gaming platform that engages a dog’s brain by creating games that reward a dog with treats.

 

Click the Above Image to Start Video
 

 

I’ve been to a demo of this toy and there isn’t a loud, motorized noise that would scare our dogs, so I think they'd love this the PupPod.  My next concern was that our dogs would get bored; not a problem with the PupPod, because it allows us to increase (or decrease) the difficulty of the “game.”

I haven't ordered the PupPod yet because I'm trying to figure out how to use it with four dogs; maybe one at a time?  I'll figure it out.

Natural Supplements

I give my dogs a combination of Ewegurt, a supplement made with sheep's milk that calms our dogs, and CBD oil.

When I know that my dogs are going to have an issue (veterinarian visit, walking in a new place, upcoming storm), I'll add Ewegurt to their meals and keep their emu recipe on hand to give as treats.  I see a difference in my dogs within 30 minutes.

While Ewegurt helps our dogs with most of their anxiety, CBD oil is fantastic for the days when my dogs are freaked the heck out – looking at you Rodrigo – and CBD oil comes to the rescue.  I usually give CBD oil to Sydney and Rodrigo for joint pain; I also give it to Rodrigo on the Fourth of July.  Ewegurt and CBD oil are excellent partners when the fireworks, illegal in my city, by the way, are keeping us up all night long.

 

Although Zoey doesn’t have severe anxiety that requires prescription medication, her anxiety is such that it needs to be addressed with a supplement, more exercise, and training to exercise her mind.  The combination of these three things has helped her relax and give her more confidence and it’s wonderful to see.

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