Anxiety issues anyone?

JJ has had anxiety issues ever since I can remember.

Anything from big trucks, people walking behind him, thunder or even loud flies… if it is something unfamiliar to him, he will tremble and tuck his tail in between his legs (my poor baby!).

So what does anxiety look like?

Too scared to go outside for walks. He will open his eyes very wide to the point that I can see the whites of his eyes
After he has done his ‘business’ during walks, he runs back to the house with his tail tucked between his legs, looking over his shoulder.
Wants to be comforted so he constantly puts his paw on my lap. It is adorable, but it is also a sign of nerves. He will also act restless and make whining noises.

So naturally, i’ve tried alot of methods to relieve his anxiety and would like to share them here. So far I haven’t found any miracle cure, and we are taking it day by day but would love to hear any tips or advice from you if you have any!

Thunder shirt

I spent $54 SGD to purchase the shirt. Looking for a more natural remedy, I wanted to try the thundershirt based on this description : “because it’s meant to apply gentle, constant pressure to calm all types of anxiety, fear, and over-excitement issues. Great for thunderstorms, fireworks, separation anxiety, travel, vet visits, problem barking, reactivity, and other stressful situations.” Yes, yes and yes! Was all I was thinking after reading this blurb on their website.

The product is good quality and delivered as promised. I tested it out when there was thunder:

So far, I thought I found the miracle cure and was over the moon.

However.. I took him out on his daily walk, and put on the vest. But, sadly it didn’t make a difference when it came to his fear of people or cars. Some other issues I found was that his pee would get on the bottom of the vest, and it’s way too hot for him to wear during the day in Singapore so I retired the vest shortly after.

Lavender ball

Bought this at Thrive by Boxgreen and An Acai Affair.
IMG_8644
I opened it up, and it’s pretty simple but has a nice fragrance. It’s a good DIY project. 

The lavender ball cost $7 and is pretty simple but JJ liked it so much he thought it was a new play toy.

Still testing it’s effects as I have read online that lavender may help alleviate anxiety in part by inducing a calming effect on the central nervous system..

But to be honest, he saw it as more of a toy to play with.. hehe

Calming music

I found a playlist on spotify after searching for ‘calming music for dogs’. It played it in my room and even my cat started to fall alseep. Not sure if it’s working or they’re just relieved that I’m not blasting my hip hop playlist.

Treats

Using treats to distract your dog in anxious situations to train them to think the event causing them fear (e.g. a loud car sound) is linked to something good (treat) was something I wanted to test out. So I took a couple of treats in my pocket and gave him the treat when he was panicking about a car. Result: No interest whatsover 😅 Didn’t even bother to sniff it as he was too paralysed by fear from the car.

Walks with Belle

As JJ is more anxious alone, as much as possible I will go on walks with Belle when my sister takes her. Although he does get scared of sudden noises or strangers, he is more confident when he has his big sister Belle with him. It seems like as long as he has his support system, or a leader of the pack with him, he has more confidence to face the world!

Hugs and lots of hugs

At the end of the day, giving him a hug and talking to him, saying that it’s ok, usually calms him down the most. It may sound cheesy, but I think he wants someone to rely on. Some may say that it’s not good to give him attention when he is scared because he may confuse it as acceptable behaviour, but in my experience, ignoring/ telling him off dosen’t make any of it better.


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