How do I make anxious, nervous dogs feel better?

asked 2015-07-01 07:11:33 -0500

I am dog hosting and at first my own dog was fine, but now that the other dog is here, he is being super standoffish and scared looking. How can I make my own dog feel more comfortable (I'm giving him attention- massaging his belly, cuddling next to him, talking to just him)? I feel like maybe he is scared I'm replacing him. I also don't want to ignore the dog I'm hosting!

How do I make sure my dog is comfortable

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Try singing to an anxious pup. This worked with my latest puppy.

Terri A.'s profile image Terri A.  ( 2015-08-27 13:44:40 -0500 ) edit

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answered 2015-07-01 15:37:20 -0500

I agree that taking them on a long leashed walk together may help. I usually head right out the door with my dog and a client's dog for a leashed walk right after dropped off. I have found that it calms dogs immensely, even if it's just those initial dog meet dog play frenzies. ;) I have an awesome dog trainer that does "socialization" walks where she pairs people off in twos and they walk their dogs alongside each other. She says this can be one of the best ways to acclimate dogs who are experiencing social issues/anxiety with other dogs. I have also read and been told not to give too much attention/coddling to an anxious dog as this can reaffirm to them that their behavior is correct/good and something is wrong. So my advise would be,take a walk together and keep them separated as long as you feel a dog may react out of fear. It may help to give your dog a "break" in a crate or a separate room, depending on your dog/situation. This way the dog is not threatened, but also not having their anxiety reassured :) Good luck!

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I totally agree with Laura. A long walk is the best thing! My dog can be similar to yours, Jordan. But once she sees that we are all going out together, she begins to understand that the new dog is a part of the pack. I think it is also important not to make too big a deal of his being standoffish or scared, like Laura mentioned. He will pick up his cue for how to behave from you. If you act like everything is totally fine, then your pup will start to understand that everything is fine. Try not to be overly friendly with your pup or the new pup. Just act like everything is normal and they usually start to warm up and behave accordingly. I've had several pups who were terribly skittish right after being dropped off. After a few days, they begin to warm up... (more)

Vanesa M.'s profile image Vanesa M.  ( 2015-08-27 20:19:32 -0500 ) edit
answered 2015-07-01 12:51:35 -0500

Hi Jordan, Maybe a long walk together would help put all at ease. Dogs pick up on scents and all kinds of things that us humans don't. Personally, I'd recommend do Not leave them together unattended at all. On the rare occasions that my calm, gentle, and confident dog cowered under furniture, trembled, and looked scared, it was only a matter of time before I saw the other dog snarl or snap at him for no reason whatsoever.

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