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bigbug84's avatar

How do you get your dog to not have anxiety and to not be afraid of everything?

Asked by bigbug84 (44points) December 31st, 2012

I have a dog that is about 3 years old and she has some serious problems where she won’t walk outside around my neighborhood or even in my backyard and she wont even walk on certain flooring, her claws will tense up and she’ll just make a huge scene. She is afraid of every loud sound I can possibly imagine and i cant even really train or play with her because she is always scared. I don’t know if she is just scared but I am starting to think she might be depressed. Awhile back ago my vet said to get another dog and it might make her better which it didn’t. It actually makes her worse. Its just really frustrating because I’m a type of dog owner who loves to work with her dogs and play with them 24/7 but she just wont. she ends up sleeping all day long. I really need help and tips on how I can get her through this where she isn’t afraid of the floor or any loud or weird sounds and plus i want her to be able to walk in my neighborhood again and just play with me outside in my backyard. Thank you.

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12 Answers

Shippy's avatar

The Dog Whisperer makes excellent videos on this type of thing. Perhaps look on You Tube for ones on anxious dogs. It is by all accounts a process not an over night thing. Your dog can be a great happy dog with you , her Master’s help. Although make sure first that her health is checked out by a Vet.

Coloma's avatar

Maybe she needs antidepressants or some sort of doggy drugs.
Have you talked to your vet about her mental health?
Animals have mental health issues too. What was her puppyhood like?

Traumas, multiple homes, abuse of any kind? She sounds very neurotic poor thing.

bigbug84's avatar

coloma, she is very neurotic. her puppy hood was very good in my opinion. i got her when she was 8 weeks old and before that i was doing tons of research on how to care for a new puppy and stuff like that. she was a happy puppy and was never abused in any shape or form. we did move once though, probably when she was 4 months old. it was right down the street so it wasnt a huge move but it was a move. her anxiety and just being afraid of everything started when she was about a year old. we have gone to the vet many times and had different medications for her. they worked at first thenshe went right back to where she was in a few days. i try to work with her and try to get her outside more, meeting new dogs and seeing new places but every single time i do that there is another new thing she is afraid of.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Shippy gave you the real deal. Research Cesar Milan’s theories on anxieties. If you are “rewarding” her anxious behaviour by cuddling and buying into the behaviour, then you are exacerbating. Meds are an absolute last resort in my mind. If you have already tried them and they haven’t worked then you know you have to try something else. Here is a good place to start.

pleiades's avatar

Give your dog a lot of time, patience and love. They can get mature as time goes on and calm down. Also when I say patience, don’t hurt the dog physically or shout. If you ever get frustrated walk away. Be loving so doggy can build trust. It may be confused.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Cesar’s program doesn’t work with all dogs. I have had more success with Masters Voice

Thunder shirts are also another option.

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

I had a dog just like that and he is doing great now with little to no anxieties, and actually yesterday he took a noise maker and played with it 3 years ago he’d be hiding in the bathroom.
First things first don’t make a big deal about the anxieties stay calm and remain calm, live in the now. Don’t worry about “the dog might be depressed” or any of that other human emotion shit.

What kind of dog is it? If it’s a certain breed like hunting or sporting or herding or guarding then the most likely reason it’s acting out is because it needs something to do, something else positive to focus on that fulfills it’s breed type.

Next you need a routine and I mean walks, food, pee breaks all on a scheduale, that way the dog will understand it can depend on you as its leader!

The dog also needs to be able to know it can trust you, that builds up after time, not until about 4–5yrs old will they really start trusting you if you have not freaked on them and been their leader, that’s what I found with my dog.

You need to go on a regular walk something that will drain the dogs negative energy. Why won’t she walk outside? Be a leader don’t be passive or aggressive be assertive put the dog on a leash a just walk through the issues any step is a big step to improvement, even if it’s just 3 steps and it takes you five months, the dog will start to get it, I promise! Just a few tips. Good luck!

BTW, this is the type of dog you do not want to baby, or get frustrated at when you do that you will take 10 steps backwards.

rooeytoo's avatar

@nofurbelowsbatgirl – precisely, don’t baby the dog when it acts out. That is reinforcing and rewarding the undesirable behaviour!

Pandora's avatar

My sisters dog was like that when she first got her. Constantly repeating things in a gentle and patient manner will get her to adjust. Just make sure she isn’t picking up anxious vibes from you. If you seem nervous about getting her to do things than she can cue in that you are also afraid and so it must be bad. Or she may sense you are not happy about her reactions and she thinks you are angry and may attack.

Routine is necessary for a nervous dog.

Be patient it may take months.

Bribe her with treats when she does well. It gives her something else to focus on than the thing she is scared off.

Take one challenge at a time so she isn’t overwhelmed.

Also have her checked for any aches or pains. My dog recently started to sleep a lot since we moved and I thought he was getting depressed. I then remembered about his arthritis and started to give him his pain pills. (We moved from a one level home to a 3 story home.) He has been hopping about happily since taking his medication and back to being his pushy self and eating really well.

Maybe your dog simply needs her nails trimmed more for the hard floor because it pushes her nails up and causes discomfort..

bigbug84's avatar

all of these answers are great!! she is a mix of different breeds but mostly we think she is a lab and pitbull. when i take her out on walks she will not move, right when we go out the door she will stop and if i wait there to let her walk around she wont. i waited there for about 30 minutes once and nothing so i politely just went back inside with her. now the flooring i might have thought it was the nails like @Pandora said and we try to keep her nails trimmed as short as possible but she is aggressive with nail trimming so we have to take her to the vet to get them trimmed and its about $20 each time. but we get her in as often as possible. i think it is a good idea to keep a strict schedule on feeding, walking, playing, and going to the bathroom. i will definitely try to be more patient and not encourage her to be more scared by loving on her when she is in her mode. @nofurbelowsbatgirl

nofurbelowsbatgirl's avatar

@bigbug84 Ok, I may think I know now, I think the best advice I can give you is that you need to follow thru with your actions. It sounds like the dog is testing you right now and wants a leader, if you don’t lead the dog your relationship will be a continual struggle.

So if the dog doesn’t want to go for a walk don’t let the dog make that rule, your going to have to not be so passive first off because you have two of the worlds most stubborn breeds but once you are the leader and tap into the dogs negative energy and lead it with positive energy letting the dog know you make the rules, those 2 breeds are the most loyal.

You may want to find something that the dog enjoys, chewing a nylabone those are non destructible, safe and passes time great for a dog. Try associating the leash with positive things if the dog has a problem with the leash, sometimes buying a different type of collar or leash so you can start fresh works. I have two dogs, my other balanced lab as a puppy hated the “Halti”, which is the the one I had and that was always recommended, she would growl at dogs, walk with her head almost on the ground. So I switched to a flat collar, she pulled like crazy, so I dealt with it for awhile until I found a martingale style collar, now she walks perfect!

Hopefully something helps :) Good luck!

rooeytoo's avatar

When you allow the dog to win, ie take it outside and wait for it to walk, when it doesn’t give up and go back in. You have just trained your dog that if it resists long enough, it will get its own way. You have to be the boss. You really need a good trainer. I would look for a trainer who has experience with military or police dogs or is a shutzhund trainer. You don’t want to do shutzhund but you need a trainer with the sort of methods that would be used with that type of dog. It sounds to me as if you dog does not need touchy feely, it needs dominant human who makes demands on him. I assume it is a fair sized dog based on the breeds you mention, if it decides to argue with you, and it thinks it is the boss, you will have a serious problem on your hands. Better to take charge before that happens.

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