Very anxious dog, help!?

asked 2019-06-21 00:47:40 -0500

I am a long time sitter and just started on a 4 day boarding with a repeat client. The doggo is a very sweet and mild-tempered pit bull who has always been well behaved. I have watched him at my current apartment at least 3 previous times and we get along well together, he's one of my favorites.

Today I received a last minute request from his mom to watch him for the next 4 days, I agreed because I know what to expect with him and love him.

However, while being dropped off his owner mentioned that he has been stressed out recently and had a bad day as they just came from the groomer which he did not enjoy. He has been very anxious since being dropped off and did not even approach me for the first hour of being in my place. I have been watching a lot of different animals (dogs, cats) in my place recently and he might be getting freaked out by their smells? We have tried sitting quietly and trying not to make any sudden movements but he seems very spooked. It has been a few hours now and he has finally warmed up to me again so I'm not worried about his behavior towards me, but he has barked/snapped at my roommates and I'm not sure what else to do.

We are going for another walk soon to work off the energy, but more suggestions are appreciated! How do I calm him down (we tried treats and they only worked temporarily)?

I contacted his owner and notified her of his behavior and that it was making me nervous. She gave me the emergency contact of a friend who could watch him in an emergency, what should I do

edit edit tags flag offensive close merge delete


Hello, You could try a thundervest, or maybe soothing music, maybe they need just a day or two. What really concerns me is why theyd be so stressed from the groomers. I understand that stress is usual but for it to be lingering would make me question their handling of the dog.

Summer D.'s profile image Summer D.  ( 2019-11-22 04:10:04 -0500 ) edit

Did the owner leave you with anything with their scent on it by any chance? That could possibly help calm him down. Since he had a stressful experience at the groomers not too long ago, and just left home, it’ll probably take him a while since he’s already stressed out at home

Madisson S.'s profile image Madisson S.  ( 2019-11-22 22:33:50 -0500 ) edit

Since his behavior towards you is ok try taking some extra time to sit with him one on one rubbing, petting, and saying his name to calm him down. Be sure to add your roommate in some of the activity if they will be around its good for them to interact with your room mate as well.

Shantale S.'s profile image Shantale S.  ( 2019-12-23 02:56:05 -0500 ) edit

3 Answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted
answered 2019-06-21 10:58:29 -0500

"his owner mentioned that he has been stressed out recently and had a bad day as they just came from the groomer" well that is a good indicator that it may take a day or two for the pup to settle, all you can do is move slowly, speak softly and give the dog some space. As you said you have cared for this dog before without issue and he should calm.

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2019-10-22 22:52:35 -0500

Hello! I know I am late to respond, but I sit for several typically anxious dogs, as well as have one of my own.

Sometimes vet appointments or grooming can be really stressful, and leave the dogs in a state for a couple of days. I have a few different solutions that I like to use for the dogs that I watch and for my own dog as well.

First, I love to use the aromadog therapy toys. They are relatively cheap, and I typically just keep one in my dog sitting bag so that I have it if one of the dogs I'm watching is having a particularly bad day. The squeakers are infused with lavender so every time the pups squeak the toy, it releases a calming scent and helps with their stress.

Another product I keep on me at all times is a lavender calming spray that is safe for dogs. I always ask owners if it is okay for me to use this one around their pet, because it is one that you spray into the air, but most clients are very open to it! It helps to relieve stress and anxiety.

Walks are always a good idea to help with an anxious dog, but you can also ask your clients to bring an old t-shirt or blanket when their pets stay with you in case they experience anxiety while they are with you. The familiar scents help! And giving the pup something to chew on (a filled bone, Himalayan chew, or dental treat) can help distract them for enough time that their stress levels go down!

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2019-11-14 05:27:46 -0500

You have a very delicate situation on your hands. When I have a dog that is in a very anxious mood and distraction,exercise,play time or even petting doesn't calm the dog down I will do 1 of 2 things and maybe both. . I keep Benadryl in my emergency kit for dogs and I will give the dog the benadryl as prescribed by the Merck Veterinarian manual based on the dogs weight. That will make the dog less anxious and somewhat drowsy. I also have on hand 5 or thunder vest in multiple sizes because I get a lot of requests during 4th of July. They are like a weighted blanket for a person and makes the dog feel like their being held. But for severe cases I will incorporate both.I hope this helps

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2019-08-08 02:50:48 -0500

Dim the lights, give treats, maybe put some filler noises in the room so they are startled less (TV, radio, etc). Give lots of pets and maybe sit with him so he doesn't feel alone.

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2019-10-07 14:52:05 -0500

Maybe you should be curious as to what's going on at home for that dog to change their behavior. Sometimes, small changes in what that dogs used to in their daily life can create a very anxious dog. If the dog doesn't get what he is used to over some time and is trying to hint to the owner that's what they need but the owner miss reads or overlooks this dogs efforts, that dog spirals into an anxious behavior. I would talk with the dogs owner and see if there's been any changes that could have caused his behavior. My dog gets this way if I get too busy and don't give her the attention shes used to or I don't allow her to sleep in my room when she barks to much at night but I'm the only person who can fix her behavior cuz she only want her owner.

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2019-08-22 16:46:55 -0500

Did the dog mom state that he typically becomes anxious after a grooming? If so she may want to look at some pre-grooming calming solutions. All you can do is speak softly, be calm and gentle. Melatonin also helps if the dog mom agrees

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2019-11-20 20:55:24 -0500

I had a very anxious client who I had to just leave alone in the kitchen with bed and blanket for a few hours because she was afraid of me and everything else. Trying to approach her just made it worse. After a few hours, she realized she was in a safe place and she came to me and we just sat quietly and watched tv. Gradually I started to pet her. She did warm up after a while but it took about 2 days for her adjust.

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2019-12-10 15:45:45 -0500

test test test

edit flag offensive delete link more
answered 2019-11-30 21:45:20 -0500

Both Bob & Yasmin A. and Walt G. have excellent suggestions.

I would include, letting the pit really smell YOU. That means, sit at his level, turn your back to him and let him smell your backside and "scent" zone. I know that this sounds counter-intuitive, but he will be able to see and smell that you are "friend" and not going to hurt him. Sounds like the groomer may have clipped a nail too short or accidentally set off fear from being uncomfortable to pain.

If your roommates are able to also let him smell them - I'd use a baby gate set up between a doorway, let your roommates sit with their backs to the baby gate and let him really smell and get comfortable with them not making any eye contact. The rule should be no touch, no talking or no eye contact with an anxious pooch.

You are doing a great job asking for help! Those who don't can put themselves and others in danger. Once the fur burger gets into your groove, you will both feel better. If you remain nervous, opt for the owner's emergency option. You've got this! Listening to your inner self is also an important factor. You sound like an amazing sitter!

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