What is going on here? Why is my dog becoming anxious and what can we do about it?
Your dog is becoming anxious when they whine or bark and seem preoccupied with something else. The whining or barking could be a result of stress. Dogs can suffer from stress at any time of the day, even if you are out and about in public.
While I do want you to be careful about what you use to alleviate your dogs anxiety, I also want you to be aware of the signs and symptoms of anxiety in dogs. If you have been around dogs that are showing some of the signs and symptoms of anxiety in dogs you will know that your dog is showing signs of anxiety. The first sign is they will start barking or whining. This can be just a passive whining or barking.
If you’ve already taken steps to help alleviate your dogs anxiety, you would have noticed that your dog will stop barking or whining. The second symptom is that your dog will become withdrawn and begin pacing around the house, trying to cool off and perhaps look for the source of their stress. The third symptom is that your dog will become hostile and attack any strangers that come near your house and may attack your new friend. We’ve also seen that if your dog shows signs of anxiety that they will become irritable, snapping and growling. The last thing we would ever want to see is that they will become aggressive.
Why? Because we are the “pack” leader. If your dog is anxious that they are not the pack leader, we have just told them they are. They will be less likely to be nice to you. The first signs of stress in a dog means that we’re telling them that. The other time we tell a dog that they are not the pack leader is by giving them a command. That’s what you give your dog when you say “come”, “sit”, “stay”, “down”, or any other command. You are reinforcing that they are not the pack leader. The worst thing that you can do to your dog is to give them something to do. Give them something to worry about that makes them stop whining, barking, or growling. It could be a chew toy, a bone, a ball, or anything else that encourages them to stop over worrying.
How do we solve this? By putting your dog in a situation where they are more likely to feel secure. They will feel more assured if they know that they are not going to get their tails chopped off, that they’re going to get a great piece of food, or that your friend on the couch is still your friend. Its actually a win-win situation for you and your dog. They will be less likely to have stress, and you will have less anxiety.
So next time you go to get your dog, take them for a walk. Get them into a situation where they will feel secure. It can be a chew toy, a bone, a ball, or anything else that encourages them to stop over worrying. It could be going for a walk, sitting down to eat, or playing with a ball. The more you do this the less anxious they will be when they are left alone. It sounds simple, and it is. But if you get your dog into a routine of feeling secure they will be less likely to over worry and will enjoy being a member of your household.