Among the problems that our dog friends may encounter, stress is certainly one of the most complicated to manage: having a stressed dog is rather unpleasant for the dog as well as the owner.
Discover our tips for calming a stressed dog!
Stressed dog: the reasons
There are many reasons why a dog might feel stressed: absence of the owner is one of course, but some dogs are stressed by novelty, noise and many other factors.
Depending on the reasons for your dog's stress, your answers and solutions to de-stress him will be different.
Calming a dog stressed by your absence
Is your dog very stressed by your absence? This is obvious if he behaves in a destructive way, does all kinds of mischief or licks his paws, sometimes to the point of bleeding. To help him de-stress, several solutions are available to you.
#1 Bach flowers
Bach flowers are elixirs composed of flowers and developed by a chemical process discovered by Professor Bach. You can find them in pharmacies or on the Internet for about 10 $ per elixir. They can be used on humans as well as dogs – there are alcohol-free versions.
Two to four drops put on your dog's paws when you leave can help your companion relax. Be careful though: this is not 100% effective and not all dogs will respond to it. To be tested.
#2 CBD oil
CBD is a substance derived from hemp. Just as it can help humans relax, it can also relieve stress in your dog. The price depends on the concentration of the oil.
Like Bach flowers, this is a solution that may not be effective depending on your dog. Test his reaction and above all, consult your veterinarian before trying. CBD continues to be an unregulated area and if in doubt, it is best to abstain.
#3 The crate
It may surprise you, but the crate can be a solution that will protect your home from your dog's destruction while reassuring him. Indeed, by locking your dog in a small space, he will feel safe and less stressed.
Be careful though:
- The earlier your dog gets to know the crate, the quicker he will get used to it.
- Don't make the transition from freedom to crate at once, without any preparation: your dog could be very upset. Prepare him by leaving the crate open when you're there and by placing his basket and toys in the crate. The crate should be his home – not an intimidating place!
- Make sure the crate is large enough.
#4 Working with a behaviourist
In addition to all these actions, it may be interesting to turn to a professional behaviourist. Perhaps you don't understand something about your dog? Perhaps you are doing something wrong? He will be able to accompany you and help you find answers to ease your dog's stress.
Note: Don't hesitate to try several professionals if you (or your dog) are not comfortable with the first one you meet. There are many different methods.
Relaxing a dos stressed with the unknown
If your dog is particularly stressed when confronted to the unknown – new things, loud noises… – there are a number of ways you can help him relax.
If your dog is still young, it is not unusual for him to still have fears in some situations. The same applies if you confront him with something he doesn't know.
In both cases, it is important that you observe your dog's reactions to unfamiliar things and reassure him – by talking to him and not forcing him too suddenly. Try to repeat the experience and discovery several times to allow him to get used to it. You can also give him rewards (treats).
Be careful, if your dog is really worried and stressed by a particular situation, do not push. The goal is not to traumatize him and block him, try another approach!
Distracting your dog from what is stressing him is often the solution recommended by professionals. Is your dog afraid of bikes? When a bike approaches, you can attract his attention with a toy or a treat so that he doesn't even notice it. Of course, this won't eliminate his stress about bikes, but at least you'll avoid deviations and stress attacks!
#3 Working with a behaviourist
Same as helping your dog stressed in your absence, the behaviourist can help you understand the reasons for your dog's behaviour and trauma and help him to react more calmly. If you can't calm down your dog on your own, try it!
De-stressing your dog is far from easy because the reasons that make him worry are often unclear and sometimes a bit stressful. Don't hesitate to ask for advice to avoid getting annoyed with your dog and stressing him even more.
Passionate about dogs since I was a child, I adopted my dog from a shelter 4 years ago. Thanks to her, I learned many things: the most adapted food, education, how to welcome a dog… I keep on discovering new things and share them with you here!