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Nervous Kind Of Day


Guest TeriD
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Rosey had a nervous day today. I woke before her again and once she heard me she really started crying. Took her for her morning walk. Then noon came around and I took her on her 2nd walk. Damn leaf blowers in my neighborhood startled her and it seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day. Her 4pm walk she didn't even poop bc she seemed very on edge. I vacuumed today and while she's usually apprehensive about it today she literally freaked out. I calmly put her in her crate and took her out when I was done cleaning. After I fed her dinner I went to pet her like I usually do bc she comes to me after she eats but today my hands startled her. And then to top the night off on our evening walk there were fireworks going off in the distance. (We had our annual rivalry football game tonight and they were celebrating) and it put her on edge. I don't coo over her when she's like that bc I don't want to reinforce it. But I do stop wking until she relaxes and then continue once she's calmed a bit.

I put her in her crate once we returned home bc she just looked shaky. Plus it was bedtime.

I think I'm doing everything right. Is there anything I'm missing or can do in addition? I try to be assertive. Let her know that I'm not bothered by the noises and that I'm there to protect her and let her know I'm the leader. But today she was spooked easily. I'm sure it could have been worse but she wasn't herself today.

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Hi. Could it be pain/medical?

There may be an array of things happening internally and/or externally all at the same time (maybe pain, maybe noises or vibrations you can't sense but your dog can, etc.). Adding assertive leadership to a dog that's already anxious is a recipe for MORE anxiety in the dog. Best thing is protect the dog from scary sights and sounds as much as possible, and remain calm. Don't make a fuss but do be comforting, so the dog feels more safe and secure and unstressed in your company.

I hope you discover soon what's causing your dog to be more anxious than normal. :)

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Don't think of anxiety as being one incident, then another separate incident, then another separate incident. It all adds up throughout the day, hour by hour, and if she doesn't get a reset, she will go into overload. When they get that way it's just best to get whatever you have to do done with quickly - short potty walks out and in, avoid the scary things if possible.

 

Someone posted an article once about anxiety being like having a bunch of spoons. At the beginning of the day you have just so many spoons. Then something will make you anxious and you lose a spoon. Something else, or the same thing again, happens and you lose more spoons. So that by the end of the day you may not have any spoons left to lose. Add to that, that dogs seem to remember where they lose their spoons and it all becomes overwhelming really quickly for them.

 

Also don't buy into the "ignore the anxiety" BS. Dogs are smart and they easily can tell the difference between reinforcing and comforting. If you had a two year old child who was scared by something they didn't understand you wouldn't just stand there waiting for them to get over it. You would comfort them, calmly, still showing her there's nothing to be anxious about by your demeanor and your tone of voice.

 

When she reacts to you it's not personal. She's just lost her spoons. Let her stay in her safe place and chill out. Have a white noise machine or a radio playing quietly. Try and anticipate what's going to set her off, and evaluate if she has enough spoons left to do that activity. I've forgotten from your other threads, but if she's getting that anxious from day-to-day activity, it may be time to talk with your vet about some anti anxiety medication.

Edited by greysmom

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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I agree with everything above - my boy Riley was afraid of falling leaves when I first brought him home. Now he sleeps through fireworks and the neighbors lawn/leaf maintenance. My angel Paige would shake and freak out over storms unless I laid down beside her in bed, after which she fell asleep (apparently she was able to pick up all of her spoons during her naps).

 

You could try adding some lavender essential oil or Young Living's Peace & Calming oil (perhaps in combination with Bach's Rescue Remedy) for some additional soothing. Melatonin or Valerian can offer some herbal calming as well (my friend has a storm-phobic hound that requires Peace&Calming, Melatonin & a Thundershirt to combat those scary thunderclouds). Slowly try new things for comfort ... and good luck. .

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Thank you so much for all your feedback! Great suggestions! So far today she has done much better. Acting like she normally does. Last night it was even to the point that she was flinching at the sound of falling acorns.

And just to clarify what I meant by assertiveness: I was stopping and soothing her with my hand but I just wasn't talking in a high voice like one often does if they are talking to a baby or something. And once home I was loving up on her and trying to calm her with my presence which was for the most part working. Unless there was a loud noise (like my vacuum) she was her normal lazy self 💜

I think she just lost all her spoons yesterday. Too many foreign noises in one day.

Today I walked her with my zen hipster belt and she seemed much more at ease, I was much more at ease without fearing she would make me fall if she got spooked, and all around it was a much more relaxing walk than last night.

I will implement some essential oils since I use them anyway. And I might just invest in a thundercoat bc I have a feeling our first big thunderstorm might cause her some anxiety.

Today just after she got done eating her breakfast my cat decided to jump out in front of her and she didn't even flinch she just walked around her and came to me for her morning love session. So today is Much better already!

Edited by TeriD
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Before you start using essential oils on the dog, please bear in mind that her sense of smell is many times greater than yours, and what smells nice to you might be totally overwhelming to her.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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On top of all of this good advice, Leo freaked out that night--like he only does during storms, but there was no storm--I wonder if there was a weather front or something that was also contributing to her anxiety.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Before you start using essential oils on the dog, please bear in mind that her sense of smell is many times greater than yours, and what smells nice to you might be totally overwhelming to her.

Great advice! I'm reluctant to use it on their skin anyway....I was thinking more along the lines of a vaporizer.

On top of all of this good advice, Leo freaked out that night--like he only does during storms, but there was no storm--I wonder if there was a weather front or something that was also contributing to her anxiety.

You know...never thought of that. Very well could have been something along those lines. It was just such a strange day all around with Rosey. To have acorns make her flinch? The day couldn't have come to a close soon enough ;)

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