I have had to deal with fearful pets and it’s always a challenge. Our first instinct is to try to make things better, but what we do for one another is not always the best action for a scared pet. These tips are from Healthy Pets and you can read the full article here.
Rather than take action that could inadvertently reinforce anxious behavior, try simply observing your dog during a fearful episode and see what you can do to calm him.
- You might lead or remove him to a quiet room in your home and either leave him alone there to self-soothe (as long as he’s not frantic), or stay quietly with him. A silent, still environment can often provide relief.
- Some phobic dogs will seek out dark, quiet corners on their own where they can calm themselves, so consider providing a darkened room, a closet floor, or space under a table or desk for a frightened pet. The goal is to give your dog a secure spot that helps him calm himself. If he continues to panic in his dark, quiet space, it isn’t what he needs to help him relax.
- Play calm, soothing music (MusicMyPet.com, PetMusic.com) before a possible stressor occurs. This may both relax your dog and drown out distressing noises.
- You can also try putting gentle, continuous pressure on your pet to calm her. If your dog will allow it, try leaning gently on or against her without petting or stroking. If this is helping your pup, you’ll feel her muscles begin to relax. If instead she seems to grow more anxious, this isn’t a technique that will be helpful for her.
- If your dog seems to respond well to pressure applied to her body, there are wraps available (Thundershirt.com, Anxietywrap.com, Stormdefender.com) that many pet owners and veterinarians find extremely helpful.