Activities For An Anxious Dog

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Introduction

Is your dog stressed out? This is pretty common in dogs and has been known to affect smaller dogs more than large or giant breeds, but any breed can suffer from anxiety. So, should you run out and get your pooch a psychiatrist? Not just yet. Although dogs with severe anxiety can be treated with medication by your veterinarian, they save that as a last result. It is better to try some antianxiety activities first.

Canine Meditation

Popular
0 Votes
Any Day
Free
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
treats
Activity description

Yes, canine meditation is really a thing. This is a great activity for any dog, not just for those with anxiety. Just like humans, pups can be affected by stressful situations, changes in lifestyle, loss of a loved one, or any number of anxiety-creating issues. And just like us, it is important that we do what we can to reduce that stress because it is not good for dogs either. Also, studies have shown that owners who meditate with their dogs are calmer than those meditate alone. One of the best things about meditation is that it is totally free because you literally need absolutely nothing to do this activity, except treats of course. You could use some music and maybe a yoga mat, but they are not necessary. Also, you and your anxious buddy can do this in any weather since it is done indoors. It should be pretty simple to teach your pooch to do as well since it is really just breathing and being still. 

Step
1
A natural
Believe it or not, your canine friend may have already been meditating long before you thought of it. What do you think they are doing when they are laying completely still for so long? Sure, they may be sleeping some of the time, but the truth is, dogs are already good at sitting still and breathing. In fact, they may be able to teach you a few things. But, getting your pup to breathe deeply and focus when told to do so may be a bit more difficult.
Step
2
Turn on the tunes
They actually have meditation music for dogs that you can download or buy. But, if you don’t have that, just choose some mellow music that you and your poochie can focus on while you breathe deeply and focus on your inner peace. Holding a treat in your hand, put it up by your face and tell your dog to watch you. When they stop and watch you, give them the treat. Repeat this a few times.
Step
3
Tell your dog to sit
Giving your dog a treat every time they sit and relax next to you will encourage them to sit still by you and relax. They may not be focusing inwardly like we do, but if you can get your fur baby to sit and relax for about 15 minutes a day, you can keep stretching it longer until you and your canine kid are meditating together for an hour a day.
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Doga

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Any Day
Free
Easy
1 hr
Items needed
treats
Activity description

Yoga for dogs, or doga, is similar to meditation and can be even more relaxing for anxious dogs. After all, your pupster loves to spend time with you no matter what you are doing, and doga is a hands-on bonding session for you and your bone-chewing buddy. If you have never done yoga, you and your dog can learn together, following along through steps on YouTube or just a Google search. Or you can join a doga class if you can find one in your area. They’re becoming more popular so you may find one. The only thing you really need for this activity is, like canine meditation, a place to do it and some treats, so it is free too. If you want to use a mat, you can get one, but most people just use their carpet or even a soft blanket thrown on the floor. Another benefit, like meditation, it is an indoor activity, so the weather doesn’t matter, and it won’t take long to teach. Maybe an hour the first time and then as your pup gets used to it; they will be doing it by themselves. 

Step
1
Downward facing dog
Teaching your dog to do doga is pretty simple, especially if you give them a treat every time they do something good. Dogs are naturally good at yoga, actually. Think about the post “downward facing dog.” Yes, canines invented that and do it every day when they stretch and play. The only difference is going to be getting your poochie to do it on your schedule. Just sit on the floor in the pose you choose to start with and give your buddy a treat when they do what you do.
Step
2
Positioning
Don’t try to get your buddy to sit in one spot for 10 or 15 minutes like humans are supposed to do. That is too long to expect your pup to sit still, especially an anxious one. It is also good for your dog’s bones and joints and they will love the massages that you can include in the mix. Just put your dog gently into the position you want them in and hold them there for a minute, giving your pooch a treat afterward. That’s it. They will love it and so will you. It is a great bonding experience.
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Backpacking

Popular
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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
backpack
treats
Activity description

Why is backpacking a good thing for an anxious dog? If you have heard of the “thunder shirt” you probably understand. It is like a permanent hug for your poochie, and it helps them feel more secure. Many people put these jackets on their pups on the Fourth of July and when it is storming if their dog is afraid of these loud noises. Well, an anxious dog is typically anxious all the time so having a backpack can make them feel more secure all the time. Another benefit is that you can have your canine kid carry some things for you. As long as they are fairly light. Do not let your fur buddy carry more than 25% of their body weight. So, all you need for this activity is a doggy backpack and some treats. You can do it anywhere, in any kind of weather and how long it takes will depend on your dog. Some dogs adapt more quickly than others, but it should only take a day or two. 

Step
1
Getting acquainted
Let your dog get used to the backpack. Put it in front of your pupster and let them sniff it, examine it, and they may even pick it up and carry it around. As long as your pooch is not tearing it up, let them take it so they know it is theirs. Give your pup a treat for playing with the backpack.
Step
2
Putting it on
Set the backpack on your dog’s back without snapping it on at first. Encourage your pooch to leave it there and give them a treat for doing so. Then, after doing this a few times, attach the backpack and give your pup a treat for letting you do it. Let your fur baby keep it on as long as they like and get used to it. You can even let your dog wear it outside.
Step
3
Adding some weight
Toss something light in there like one of your dog’s toys. Have them carry it around for a while and then give your four-legged friend a treat for carrying it. Add more weight and repeat. Remember not to add too much weight and keep giving your buddy a treat when they carry it around.
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More Fun Ideas...

Fishing

This may seem like a sport that is just for humans but not when you see how much your poochie loves it. Some dog breeds are born to fish such as Labrador Retrievers, the Portuguese Water Dog, the Newfoundland, and the Poodle. However, almost all dogs love to see and smell the fish or whatever else you happen to pull out of the water. In fact, your fur buddy may snatch your fish off the line while you are pulling it in so be careful. You don’t want to hook your dog or let them eat the fish because they have small bones your pup could choke on.

Swimming

Just like with humans, swimming is a nice, relaxing sport that also lets you exercise your muscles without even realizing it. Make sure you put a doggy life jacket on your pupster whether they know how to swim or not. Like the backpack, a vest can help your dog feel better, similar to the thunder shirt. Start by tossing a toy or ball into the water to get your canine kid to get in. Once they realized how much fun it is, you may not be able to get them out.

Conclusion

Of course, if your dog’s anxiety is severe or if you cannot seem to get your dog to relax no matter what kind of activity or relaxation techniques you try, you should speak to your veterinarian. Your dog may need some antianxiety medication to calm down, or your vet may be able to suggest a new idea that can help.