Guest post courtesy of Jessica Sweet. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and do not necessarily represent the views of Val Heart & Heart Communication Enterprises Inc.
Rescuing an Anxious Dog: Tips for the First Week
Rescuing a dog is an amazing and selfless thing to do, but a lot of dogs will have gone through some form of trauma, resulting in an anxious dog that might take some coaxing to feel comfortable around you in its new home.
Anything you can do to help the dog make an easier more stable transition into its new home is worth doing. We’ll be covering a few key tips for bringing your new rescue dog home and what you’ll need to consider. Read on for all the details.
Anxious Dog Calming Tip #1: No visitors to begin with
Visitors can be stressful for a new dog. They’re already getting used to their new owner or owners and are probably quite bewildered to say the least. They will need time to feel safe in your home.
Adding a new unknown person to that mix will not help calm them. So, to your little niece who wants to meet your new puppy, although she promised to be gentle, she will have to wait a little bit longer.
You can make it easier on your dog by keeping visitors to small groups, too.
If you’re not sure, keep a look out for signs of stress, like whining, yawning, drooling, licking, shedding, panting, and more. If your anxious pooch is stressing out, then back off and put them in a safe, no visitor zone so they can calm down and relax.
Anxious Dog Calming Tip #2: Take time to dog proof the home
There is a lot of trouble that dogs can get into around the home, but most of them are easily avoidable by proper preparation.
Some quick moves around the house can make the home dog-proof.
For example, you will need to fix any breaks or weakness in the fencing that might let them become a flight risk.
Keep lilies, ivy, aloe vera and other toxic plants from your dog, as well as medication or cleaning products.
Put away any electric cords they might try to chew, and any children’s toys that might choke or poison them.
It might be helpful to also get some pet insurance to keep your dog protected in the case of an emergency. Pet insurance provider Petsure offers coverage on up to £15,000 in vet fees if your dog gets into an accident.
Anxious Dog Calming Tip #3: Increase your dog’s time alone
Whether your dog likes it or not, you can’t in fact be with them every minute of every day. And if you give them that impression by being around all the time, you are likely to induce some separation anxiety in them. Which means, when you are forced to go to an appointment and have to leave them alone, they’re going to panic while you’re away.
You can avoid this in the first few weeks by slowly increasing your time away from them. Give them a tasty chew, and leave for something unimportant, so that you can come back whenever you want. Stay calm when you come back so that you are giving the impression that you always were coming back. Eventually they should believe you.
Anxious Dog Calming Tip #4: Set a routine and stick to it
Dogs love consistency, which supports stability and predictability so they can calm down.
Wandering away from consistency and stability early on is likely to cause them to panic.
Therefore, it’s important that you establish a routine early.
Set a time for their food, for sleeping and dog walking and stick to it to help keep them calm. They need to know what to expect so they can relax.
This helps turn them from an anxious dog into a happy, relaxed one.
Anxious Dog Calming Tip #5: Listen to the shelter
Shelter staff have more experience than you, generally speaking. You’ve maybe looked after a few dogs in your lifetime.
But they’ve looked after hundreds, and among those is great variation on temperaments and behaviours.
Shelters also tend to test the dogs they take in, looking at how they react to other dogs, to people they don’t know, etc. so listen to your shelter’s representative.
They have spent time with your anxious dog and know what will set them off and what will calm them down. It will save you a lot of grief trying to work it out for yourself.
BONUS TIP: Learn to communicate with your anxious dog
The biggest challenge an anxious dog has is their human doesn’t know how to speak their language. That means that their fears, concerns, worries and questions go unanswered.
Learning how to communicate with animals will make the biggest difference and accelerate the bonding process.
Because once you know their viewpoint, their history and background, and understand what is driving their anxious behavior, you can address it correctly and not wait for them to figure things out on their own.
Are you interested in learning how to communicate with animals?
Wouldn’t it be helpful to be able to have a conversation with your anxious dog to find out what is bothering them?
Then you’ll want to check out The Heart School of Animal Communication.
Click Here to see the courses – take a look and choose what most appeals to you.
If you are a newbie, then we highly recommend starting with the Beginning Core Foundations Course.
If you’re still not convinced of all the benefits of communicating with animals, click here to learn all the great reasons you should begin learning how now!