How To Help An Anxious or Reactive Dog Overcome Fears and Gain Confidence
It's important to remember when helping an anxious or reactive pet, that stress (whatever the cause) activates powerful fight or flight responses which are often difficult to change, especially when they are at their most intense.
The key to success is to:
- relieve stress
- calm the fight or flight responses
- provide the right reassurance
- use positive reward based reconditioning exercises, to establish healthier patterns of behaviour
Where fears and anxieties are deeply rooted, and problem behaviours have been present for some time, this process usually takes many months.
Using Fears and Anxieties
If a pet is generally anxious, timid, lacking in confidence or is reactive to many different things, it is best to give the remedy twice daily in food and mixed into drinking water each day. It is also helpful to sprinkle Fears and Anxieties on bedding and in 'safe' areas a pet likes to be when stressed or seeking security.
Where a particular event triggers stress (such as going to training classes or the groomers, meeting other dogs or being left alone, for example), it is best to give a drop at hourly intervals before, during and after this occurs, to calm fight or flight reactions as much as possible. For the best effect, the remedy should be started 3 hours beforehand and continued for 3 hours afterwards.
It is important that patience, repetition of reassurance and the reward of desired behaviours accompanies the use of the remedy, as illustrated above. Fears and Anxieties is not a drug or a 'quick fix.' By naturally reducing stress levels it helps a pet become more receptive to the establishment of new, healthier patterns of being in the world.
Food can profoundly affect behaviour.
A highly nutritious, supplement enriched diet in many cases results in a healthier, calmer pet, compared to one fed on highly processed commercial pet food (wet or dry). We can advise on this if you wish to make the switch.
Many behavioural problems arise or are compounded by lack of sufficient physical exercise and healthy mental stimulation, which satisfy instinctive, evolutionary needs. This is particularly the case for energetic, highly intelligent and sensitive working breeds. Significantly increasing exercise (or play time) plus introducing activities such as scent work, can be of great help in dispelling excess nervous energy which would otherwise fuel anxiety and unwanted behaviours. Working with a good trainer can be very useful in this respect.
We hope this information is helpful.
If you have a pet you need more assistance with, please don't hesitate to contact us.
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