One of the best ways to get a new pet is to adopt a dog through a local dog shelter. This helps to reduce the demand for puppies and creates space for more rescue animals in the shelter. Some dogs who have been rescued can experience anxiety because of their past experiences. If you want to help an anxious adopted dog, here are some tips to help.
Create a Consistent Routine
Dogs who experience trauma in the past need the security that comes from a usual routine. This means that when you bring your adopted dog home, you should take walks at the same time each day, give food at the same time, and keep the same basic schedule. This way, your dog slowly becomes more confident in what to expect from their home environment. Over time, your dog will be able to relax and accept being part of your family.
Give Your Dog Time to Adjust
Another important aspect of reducing anxiety in an adopted dog is to give your new pet plenty of time to investigate their new surroundings. This means that you let your dog walk through the home, scout out the backyard, and get a feel for the house. You should also slowly introduce other pets and children. Don't allow other dogs, cats, or kids to rush and overwhelm your dog. Instead, have them keep their distance and act normally so your dog can observe them at a distance before making further contact.
Rely on Positive Reinforcement Only
Rescue dogs can come from abusive, harsh environments. Even though your dog might currently have some frustrating behaviors, yelling and hitting will not help fix those behaviors and will make anxiety worse. Instead, give positive reinforcement for the desired behavior and use a basic reprimanding voice to gently correct undesired behaviors.
Get Professional Training Help
Some behavior problems can be solved at home, but you can benefit from getting professional help if you are worried about your dog's progress. A professional can give you insight into certain behaviors and why they occur, such as why an anxious dog might urinate when someone rings the doorbell. Then, you can learn to reduce the effect of a trigger and help your dog move to a more confident, healthy lifestyle as part of your family.
Talk to Your Vet About Anxiety Treatments
Finally, talk to your vet about whether your dog might need medical intervention for anxiety. Not all dogs need medical help, but some can definitely benefit from medication.
Reach out to a clinic like Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital for more information.