Do you have an anxious pup who needs a little more attention? Dogs will display symptoms of anxiety in different ways. It might look like excessive barking, trembling or withdrawal. As an owner, it's understandable to want to get to the bottom of their triggers so that you can both forward.

Here's what you need to know. 

Understanding Canine Anxiety

While some breeds may be more prone to anxiety than others, it can affect any pup. In fact, a study found that 75% of pet dogs have anxiety-related behaviour issues and mongrel breeds can be particularly prone to these. 

Common triggers include:

  • Separation anxiety
  • Fear of loud noises
  • Changes in routine
  • Social anxiety
  • Past traumas

Identifying Anxiety in Your Dog

Anxiety manifests in dogs in many ways and can include the following symptoms: 

  • Excessive barking
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Trembling
  • Pacing 
  • Excessive panting 
  • Drooling 
  • Withdrawal and hiding
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Changes in sleep patterns

It is important to observe and document your dog's behaviour to track patterns and triggers.

Creating a Calming Environment

So, how can you create an environment for your dog that puts them at ease? Having a cosy den or ‘retreat' for your pup means they can take time for themselves to recharge. You could even look into pheromone diffusers or calming music to make the environment less daunting for your dog.

On top of this, a good routine and predictable schedule will help them feel secure.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Regular exercise is essential for mental stimulation and managing your dog's symptoms. Daily walks and interactive play will help to put them at ease and get them used to changing surroundings and circumstances. It will also help them to get used to new senses and lean into their natural instincts. You could schedule training sessions to help them overcome new challenges. 

Positive Reinforcement Training

Positive reinforcement training techniques can also address anxiety-related behaviours. By rewarding calm and confident behaviours, you'll encourage them to pursue this type of behaviour more frequently. At the same time, avoid negative reinforcement. Gradual exposure therapy is a popular technique for owners to help their dogs overcome new experiences. 

Seeking Professional Support

Don't be afraid to seek professional support if you're struggling – ideally, you should see a vet or certified animal behaviourist. It may take a good piece of advice or tips on how to get started to kickstart your journey to success. They could also give you a more thorough treatment plan if you need it. This might include medication or modification therapy. If you have multi-pet insurance in place, this can help to cover costs you might encounter if you have more than one dog. 

Patience and Persistence

These things take time, so it's important to be patient. It takes consistency and acceptance of the fact that not everything is linear – you'll have progress followed by setbacks and that's totally normal.