If you are a caring dog owner, it’s natural to want your furry friend to be happy and calm. Unfortunately, dogs can become agitated and anxious for various reasons, from fireworks and thunderstorms to feeling pain and separation anxiety. Helping an agitated dog can be a real challenge.
After all, they can feel physical pain and emotional distress the same as you.
Thankfully, there are ways to calm your dog and help it feel more at ease. Whether your dog is aging, shy, or nervous, a natural calming supplement like hemp oil can help relieve your dog’s anxiety and make them feel more relaxed and comfortable. If you decide to go this route, search for a toast promo code on your first order to get a good deal on CBD oil that is easy to digest and great for dogs.
In addition to natural supplements, there are several ways to help calm an agitated dog. This article will provide helpful tips to do just that and discuss the importance of understanding your dog’s body language and using positive reinforcement.
1. Identify the causes of agitation
Before effectively calming an agitated dog, it’s essential to identify what might be causing the distress. There are many potential causes of nervousness in dogs, including:
Physical pain or illness
Dogs in pain or dealing with an underlying medical condition may become agitated or restless. Look for signs of physical distress, like panting, whining, and difficulty sleeping.
Dogs can become agitated because of their environment. This usually means being afraid or unnerved by loud noises or unfamiliar smells. Some dogs also become anxious when you leave them alone or change their routine.
Just like people, dogs can experience emotional distress, leading to agitation. They may become agitated and restless when dealing with separation anxiety or fear of some situations, especially thunderstorms or fireworks.
2. Understand your dog’s body language
The only way that your dog can communicate its feelings to you is through its body language. So, it stands to reason that by recognizing the signs of agitation in their body language, you can take steps to stop the issue before it escalates. Here are a few common symptoms of agitation in dogs you should know about:
A restless dog may pace, whine, or circle the room. They may also be unable to settle down and constantly change positions.
An agitated dog usually has a stiff body posture, with its tail held high, and ears perked forward. You may also notice your dog standing on its tiptoes or leaning forward.
Uncomfortable or unnerved dogs usually do at least one of these things – bark, growl, or whine. And the pitch and tone of their bark can give you some clues as to how your dog is feeling.
Licking or chewing
Anxious dogs may lick or chew on their paws or other objects, so keep an eye on that.
3. Calm an agitated dog
Now that you know how to identify the causes of agitation and what to look for in body language, it’s time to learn some tricks about calming your dog. Here are some tips that can be effective:
Exercise can help your dog release pent-up energy and reduce stress. Take your dog for a brisk walk or play a game of fetch to help burn off excess energy.
Believe it or not, boredom can contribute to anxiety and agitation in dogs. Buy your dog puzzle toys and interactive games, or try out training exercises to keep their mind engaged and help with relaxing.
Calming music or white noise
Playing calming music or white noise can help soothe your dog. You can find playlists explicitly designed for dogs on all streaming platforms, or buy a white noise machine or calming diffuser.
Massage can help release tension and promote relaxation in dogs. Gently stroke your dog’s fur, focusing on its neck, shoulders, and spine.
Natural calming supplements
Several natural supplements can help calm your dog, like:
- Valerian root
- CBD or hemp oil
But remember to always consult with your veterinarian before giving your dog any new supplements.
4. Try training techniques
There are also some techniques that you can use to calm your dog. Here are a few examples:
If your dog is nervous because of a specific trigger (like thunderstorms or fireworks), desensitization training can significantly help. This means gradually exposing your dog to the trigger in a controlled environment while providing positive reinforcement for calm behavior.
Counterconditioning involves associating a trigger with positive experiences, meaning treats or petting. For example, if your dog becomes nervous when seeing other dogs on walks, you can give it treats whenever it sees another dog without reacting negatively.
Positive reinforcement training
Like counterconditioning, positive reinforcement training rewards good behavior with treats or praise instead of punishing bad behavior. This can help build a positive association with a calm demeanor and reduce agitation over time.
5. Prevent agitation in dogs
Preventing agitation in the first place is the best way to calm down your dog. But it’s not always possible to prevent every instance of anxiety for your dog.
However, there are a few tips you can consider to reduce the likelihood of your dog becoming stressed.
Establish a consistent routine for your dog with:
- Regular meal times
Dogs thrive on routine and predictability, and having a consistent routine can help reduce their stress and anxiety.
Socializing your dog from a young age can help it learn how to interact positively with other dogs and people. This will reduce anxiety and aggression in all kinds of social situations.
Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. A lack of exercise and stimulation can lead to boredom and frustration, which, as you now know, can contribute to agitation.
Consistent training and positive reinforcement will help your dog learn to manage its emotions and behavior healthily.
In conclusion, implementing these strategies can prevent agitation and help your dog feel more relaxed and content while creating a happier relationship between you and your best friend.