Yes, your anxiety is affecting your dog. Before I start a session with a client and her dog, I make sure that the pet parent is relaxed and ready to work. Dogs are able to figure out when you are sad, stressed out, angry, etc. How do they do that? I believe they do it by looking at our body language, tone of voice, and smell.
A couple of months ago, I had to get a quote for some home repairs, and I just didn’t feel like doing that that particular day, but I’ve already made the appointment, and I did not want to waste this person’s time so I started to get ready, 30 minutes prior to the appointment, while Charlie and Abby slept. Now, once I started to get ready, both Abby and Charlie, woke up and started to pace, followed me around, and tried to make eye contact. I stopped for a minute and looked at both of them, and asked myself, “What is going on with these two?” I realized that I was stressed out, and that I was stressing out my dogs without realizing it. What did I do? I sat down, started touching their ears and neck, and after a couple of minutes Charlie, Abby and yours truly relaxed. And with that being said, yes, we do stress out our dogs, and if we pay attention to them, we’d be able to modify our behavior-human behavior that is-and learn to live a balanced life. Have a great week!
Anxiety in dogs is something that pet parents have a hard time dealing with or recognizing for that matter. These are some of the signs a dog will exhibit when anxious: pacing, drooling, barking, destroying things, nipping, etc. I always recommend for pet parents to have a vet do a physical exam to rule out any medical condition their dog may be experiencing, and once they get a clean bill of health we could start addressing the anxiety in their dogs.
Charlie, a GSD mix, had a lot of anxiety when we got him from the SPCA in Annapolis, MD. By the way, most dogs from shelters are very anxious, it’s rare to find one that is not. Our Charlie went from screaming murder at the top of his lungs any time: we left the room; we exited the car; we went to a new place, etc. How is he doing now? Way better and still working with him, but understand this, your dog’s anxiety will disappear with time if you are consistent with the following:
Walk him! Yes, this gets a lot of that anxiety and pent up energy out of them
Don’t talk too much to your dog. Use your body language, energy and intention instead
Start working with a trainer on basic training and behavior modification
When you are overwhelm, walk away, take a deep breath and work with your dog once you are on a relaxed state of mind. No, you cannot drink wine. Sorry!
The above is just a few of the things you could do to start dealing with your dog’s anxiety. Charlie is super smart, he is a GSD mix after all, but I am still working with him and I have seen amazing results. Don’t despair, be consistent and your dog will one day bring you joy rather than stress. Enjoy your week!
A few pet parents have asked me how do I manage a multi-dog household and this is what I tell them:
Exercise is the #1 ingredient and the most important of all. If your dog is tired, chances that he will have the energy to get in trouble highly decreases. He can run, walk, hike, etc.
Each dog needs to have his own area for eating. If you use a crate, great!
Never leave your dogs loose in the house while you are out running errands
Manners! Dogs have manners so there will be no pushing, pawing, steeping over one another, etc.
Do your best to spend a few minutes with each individual dog
I have Abby and Charlie as my dogs and demo dogs, but I also get my clients’ dogs that stay with us for short and extended times so I make sure that my pack gets along with each other. Now, aside from what I listed above, you, the pet parent, have to practice being a zen person. What is that? A zen person lives peacefully and has a sense of bliss. Yes, this may be the hardest part for most of us to do, but this is good for our dogs, and for us as well. Any questions? Stay safe.