If you have a dog that you recently rescued or adopted that has skittish tendencies, it can be difficult to know what to do to help and support them. Dogs are usually skittish for a reason, such as trauma in their pasts, but can also suffer from generalized anxiety disorders and other similar mental health issues. Get to know some of the steps you can take if you have a dog that is skittish in order to take care of them as well as possible.
Try to Figure Out Your Dog's Triggers
Generally, if your dog is skittish or easily frightened, there are certain events or things that set them off. For example, many dogs are jumpy and scared when there is thunder or fireworks in the area. Other dogs may be scared if someone walks up quietly behind them. Some dogs are even scared of certain types of people like men, children, or even something more specific like a person wearing a baseball cap.
Trying to figure out your dog's triggers will take time and careful observation. Do not intentionally put them into a situation in which they might encounter those triggers, especially if they are triggered by people or other animals. Just pay attention when they do react fearfully and keep track. Patterns will usually emerge.
Decide on Desensitization or Avoidance
Once you know at least some of the triggers that set off fearful reactions in your dog, you can start to address them. There are two major ways that you can address triggers with your dog. You can try for desensitization or avoidance.
If a stimulus can be avoided, like avoiding areas with many people, then you may want to do that. However, if you live in a large city, people cannot be avoided.
In such a case desensitization is the way to go. You will have to help your dog learn to be around people and not freak out. This can include taking them out on short trips around the block. If they tend to lunge, growl, or bark, you may want to get a muzzle, a harness, and/or a bark collar. These will be tools that can help you teach your dog to cope with being around people.
Talk to Your Vet About Anxiety Medications
It can take a lot of time and effort to get your dog accustomed to the things that strike fear in their heart. Because of this, you may want to give them some extra help at calming down and relaxing. One way that you can do that is to give your dog anxiety medications. These are prescribed by veterinarians and can be taken daily or as needed for situations that cause panic (like thunderstorms).
Now that you know some of the ways to properly care for your skittish dog, you can start helping them with their fear issues as soon as possible. Contact a local vet or animal hospital for more help.Share
4 October 2018
For years, I wanted to fill my home with happy animals. When I got married, my spouse wanted a pet just as much as I did, and it was great to start looking for pets together. We were able to find a rescue animal who worked well with our budget and our lifestyle, and it was neat to give that sweet animal a home. However, after we brought the pet into our home, we realized that he needed some medical care. We turned to a veterinarian for advice on his medical health, and we worked on getting him completely vaccinated. Check out this blog for more information on finding help early.