If people have different kinds of personalities, so are our animal companions. Most of the time, personalities develop due to genetics and environment. Separation anxiety, aggression, resource guarding, excessive barking, and destruction are common dog behavioral issues often linked to fear, stress, or a lack of exposure to what frightens them. If you’ve been observing these behaviors in your pet, you might be looking for ways to improve their lives by helping them overcome what makes them anxious.
Thankfully, the simple guidelines we’ll discuss should help them conquer their fears and ease your worries.
How to Help Anxious Dogs Conquer Their Fears
If you’re a fur parent concerned about your dog’s quality of life, you’ll do everything possible to eliminate their fear, anxiety, pain, and stress.
However, if you struggle to help your pet overcome their fears, here are five effective tips to help them regain their confidence and conquer themselves.
1. Socialize Them
Socializing your pet is a great way to eliminate fears that may develop early on. Socialization is vital in dogs at all stages of their life. However, you must ensure your pet has completed their kitten vaccinations and has at least one booster shot if you’re socializing them at a young age. This can protect them from deadly viral diseases they may contract when mingling with their fellows.
You can raise a confident dog by taking them for regular walks or to local dog parks to play and meet new friends. Regular and gradual exposure is key to developing your dog’s socialization skills. When training your pet to socialize, there’s no need to rush the process. Letting them lead the way while they’re on the leash is also a good idea to acclimate themselves to the new environment when you take them to new parks or trails.
Raising a sociable dog can also mean raising a friendly and well-behaved canine citizen. When you take them to the vet to be examined or leave them in a dog boarding facility, you’re confident they won’t cause commotion with their fellows and other people.
2. Have Patience
Dogs can pick up human emotions, so your pet may only get more anxious and resistant if you’re too frustrated or pushy. Patience is essential to help your pet understand that what you’re doing for them can help them overcome their fears at a pace they can keep up with.
For example, your pet has grooming anxiety. Taking them to a professional groomer despite knowing their fear may only exacerbate the situation. You can eliminate your pet’s fear of professional grooming by practicing patience and taking baby steps.
Below are a few best practices you can follow to help your pet conquer their grooming anxiety:
- Ensure your dog is used to getting handled in paws, muzzle, ears, groin, rear, and tail.
- Slowly introduce any type of pet brush to them.
- Familiarize them with common pet grooming equipment.
- Use treats to reward them each time they show positive behavior while grooming them at home.
- Do training visits to a pet grooming facility.
If you’re looking for pet grooming centers, you may search for “cat groomers near me” to see accurate results.
3. Avoid Punishment
While we may think punishment is the best way to curb a dog’s unwanted behavior, it’s the other way around. Punishment can only create more fear and cause dogs to lose trust in their pet parents. Avoiding punishment and using a still, gentle voice to talk to your pet and correct their unwanted behavior helps them feel safer.
4. Visit the Veterinarian
An important step to determine if health problems are causing your dog’s fearfulness is through a medical evaluation. Dogs in pain usually get more fearful of anything that aggravates their pain. Older dogs undergoing physical changes, including cognitive deterioration and loss of hearing or sight, may also develop phobias and fears. Underlying medical conditions contributing to your pet’s fearfulness can be resolved and identified when you take them to the vet for a checkup.
Making your dog feel safe is more than just giving them a comfy bed, a home, and tasty treats. It also means doing simple things that keep them physically and mentally stable. By practicing patience and consistency while following the tips we’ve enumerated, your dog should show improvement. If they don’t respond positively to your efforts, the vet may suggest tailored treatments and therapies to address your pet’s fearfulness. In some cases, your vet may link you to a dog trainer to oversee and correct your pet’s condition.