How do you help (highly) anxious guests?

asked 2016-04-12 13:27:16 -0500

My husband and I have a German Shepherd rescue as our guest right now who has a very hard time calming down. She is just over 1.5 years old. She is frequently, almost constantly, pacing around the living room and whining or whimpering. Her startle response isn't too bad, but I did notice that she jumped when we were outside and she heard a loud truck noise. She also has some anxious-aggressive behaviors with other dogs. When in her crate while other dogs are moving, she barks and snarls and jumps away from where they are. My husband had a hard time introducing her initially to our dogs because of her anxiety-triggered aggression. However, now that she's adjusted, she is highly social and playtime seems to be the only thing that keeps her from pacing and whining. Yet even when she's playing, if there's a pause, she will start looking around and whining again. This is all after I took her outside this morning, played fetch, and ran around with her on a long leash to the point where she seemed really tuckered out when we got back. Fortunately, she does eventually calm down at night when she is in her crate.

What do you do to help dog guests with anxiety? How can you tell if it's anxiety triggered by separation or just general anxiety?

edit edit tags flag offensive close merge delete

1 Answer

Sort by ยป oldest newest most voted
answered 2016-04-15 18:21:01 -0500

It depends on the dog. During meet & greets, I always ask the owners about separation anxiety (and sometimes have the owners walk outside so that I can see what the dog does). I have one regular guest dog where the owners have to sedate her before they bring her over; she calms down after awhile but the initial separation anxiety is really bad. Just for her, I keep Rescue Remedy around and that helps. I think it helps that my dogs likes to play so much that he helps to distract some of the dogs we've had with anxiety and then they get so tired that they just want to sleep instead of being anxious haha. I also always suggest that the owners bring something from home (a blanket, t-shirt, favorite toys) so that the scent will help them with the transition.

All that said, like I mentioned, I always talk to the owners about it first to see if there is anything that do that I can mimic.

edit flag offensive delete link more

Your Answer

Please start posting anonymously - your entry will be published after you log in or create a new account. This space is reserved only for answers. If you would like to engage in a discussion, please instead post a comment under the question or an answer that you would like to discuss

Add Answer