A scared or anxious dog can’t learn.
Just like people, dogs have trouble learning new things if they’re too scared. For mild anxiety, there are a few over the counter remedies available that are relatively inexpensive and don’t carry many risks or side effects.
Through A Dog’s Ear
Through a Dog’s Ear: Music to Calm Your Canine Companion (TADE) contains classical music composed specifically to help your dog. From TADE website: “The over-arching psychoacoustic theory informing Through a Dog’s Ear is summed up in just two words — simple sound. The music of Dog’s Ear is intentionally selected, arranged and recorded to provide easeful auditory assimilation.”
I use TADE when I’m teaching puppies and dogs to relax comfortably in their crate, when I’m driving with a nervous canine traveler, and sometimes when I need a break from the incessant radio — it’s pleasing for humans to listen to, as well!
If you’ve heard of swaddling a baby to help calm them down, then you’re familiar with the concept of a Thundershirt. The gentle, constant pressure has a calming effect on 80% of respondents to Thundershirt’s customer survey. Dogs with mild anxiety due to thunderstorm phobia, separation distress, or over-stimulation tend to do well with a Thundershirt. Dogs can wear the Thundershirt to help them through specific stressful events or for longer periods of time. The Thundershirt is machine washable, which is a nice bonus.
Dog Appeasing Pheromone – Adaptil
Adaptil is a product that has been developed to help support dogs through a range of challenging situations that they may face during their life. Some of these challenges include fireworks, puppies first few weeks in a new home, training classes, car rides, stays away from the home (kennels, friends etc) , and many more.
There are different ways to use Adaptil: a spray that can be applied to a bandana and worn around the dogs neck, a collar that’s worn continuously, or a room diffuser that can be plugged into an electrical outlet and continuously emits the dog appeasing pheromone throughout the room.
An important point.
For severe anxiety or fear, a veterinary behaviorist is required as part of a treatment plan, but these three relatively inexpensive products may help your dog cope with mild stress-inducing events. Sometimes a combination of these products produces a stronger effect than any one of them alone. I keep all three on hand for the new service puppies in training that come through our home.
Have you used any of the products listed? Share your success stories by leaving a comment.
Note: This post is not sponsored by any of the companies listed. I didn’t receive any free products or compensation, nor was I asked to write the post. These are products I’ve found helpful and that I actually use in my household with my own dogs. The links contained in the article are affiliate links. The pennies I earn when you purchase a product through the link go directly to the costs associated with making and producing the videos, and to website hosting and design fees.
I’ve only used a Adaptil one time with my dog. She’s very anxious at the vet so I sprayed it on a bandanna and she wore it at our last visit. She was more anxious at that visit then I’ve ever seen her and I wonder if it’s possible that the pheromones could actually have had an opposite effect or it may have just been a coincidence.
Laurie Luck says
Hi Christine, thanks for stopping in and sharing your experience. The research out there is very good and it shows that pheromones are effective at helping dogs relax. That being said, some dogs have severe anxiety or have had anxiety for a long period (over a few months) and it will take more than just the pheromone to help.
I am raising a new puppy for a client and he is a bit shy. I ordered an Adaptil collar for him as soon as I brought him home. Along with ( behavior modification and training (and that’s the important piece — pheromones are only one piece of the training plan), I am seeing gains in his willingness to spend time alone and his willingness to meet new people and encounter new situations.
Paired with a comprehensive behavior modification plan, Adaptil can help accelerate the dog’s progress. I hope you continue to use the Adaptil along with a behavior modification plan to help your dog continue to improve. Good luck and let me know how you progress.