Does anyone have tips for helping dogs with anxiety?

asked 2015-02-09 09:54:25 -0500

I work in a dog friendly office but my dog seems to be uncomfortable in the space. She seems on edge a lot of the time, especially around other dogs. What can I do to help her adjust? I would love to bring her in more but not if she's unhappy.

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answered 2015-02-09 14:12:29 -0500

With my little dog, I had to just throw her into the swing of things when I started fostering. She was terrified of everything and quick to bite when anyone needed to handle her. We gave her space and a safe place, and allowed her to acclimate at her own pace, but she was also expected to partake in the normal daily activities that she would need to adjust to. She adjusted, and always had her kennel as a safe space. She's a well adjusted dog now, and tolerates handling from anyone she trusts, though she'll never be one of those dogs who loves to be touched. However she IS on the arm of the couch pawing at my shoulder and ear trying to pull my attention away from the laptop:

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Yeah, look at that smug little face. She knows what she did. :)

BUT, this was a necessary process for her adoption. We didn't ask her to deal with anything that wasn't going to be a normal part of life in our household.

If you think your dog could eventually enjoy her office time, by all means, work with her. Give her a safe space to retreat to when it becomes overwhelming (maybe a crate with a blanket over it somewhere quiet and away from the other dogs), and reward her frequently for good behavior. Slowly introduce her to the other office dogs and reward for good interactions. Even if she's a little stressed, the rewards will help her think of these interactions as positive. If you can bring her in for shorter days, even just an hour or two at a time, that might help ease her into the routine. Or bring her on your days off so you can have your full attention on her, getting her used to the sights, sounds and smells, and reward her frequently. Many short sessions often have a greater effect than a few long ones, since there's less time for her to have a negative reaction and it's easier to end with a positive.

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This is such great advice. Thank you!

Jessica M.'s profile image Jessica M.  ( 2015-02-10 11:31:01 -0500 ) edit
answered 2015-02-25 14:33:01 -0500

I have two black labs. When our first dog came into our home she would get very anxious when left alone. She would chew things n make a big mess. We adopted our second black lab and her anxiety ended. Both are very lovable and protective of each other and get along beautifully. I will never go back to just one dog. The two are great for each other and give us so much love.

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answered 2015-02-25 22:03:09 -0500

Provide a safe enclosed space for the dog to hide out in, and continue to expose her to the other dogs. Unless she has had terrifying trauma in the past, eventually she will get used to it and almost definitely will prefer being with you to staying at home alone.

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