Walking An Anxious Dachshund
When you have a reactive dog the danger of people, children or other dogs approaching is always a worry. So, under the present regulations, it’s actually less stressful to walk my anxious Dachshund.
Darcy is enjoying his walks much more and not consumed with stress about keeping me safe. There are less people around and the roads are quieter which helps him stay calm.
Previously, he didn’t want to walk too far from home and is much happier when he knows we are on our way back.
Darcy came to us five years ago, he was difficult to rehome because his fear aggression was so bad. As with all rescue dogs, there is limited background information, however, we could tell that he needed a stable, secure future.
Recently we found a companion for him in the hope that it would help with his insecurities. Little Ripley, is now Darcy’s sidekick. He follows him everywhere and Darcy seems to like having a BFF.
We chose a very confident puppy who would show Darcy that the world is not a scary place. So far, it seems to be working!
It’s so hard to rehabilitate a dog with severe anxiety and it has been very slow progress. There will always be problems that are too ingrained to change and we have learned to live with some aspects.
Spotting triggers and avoiding situations has become a part of everyday life with Darcy.
I have spoken to people who also have anxious dogs and picked up some helpful tips which will help all dogs, not just Dachshunds.
Here Are My Top Tips For Walking An Anxious Dog.
1. If you feel stressed whilst walking with your dog he will feel the tension through the lead, so it is important that you do everything you can to relax.
2. It is well known that a well-exercised dog is less likely to show unprovoked aggression. So by establishing a regular walking routine, the dog should start to act in a much more relaxed manner. Remember that exercise is not just great for physical fitness, but also mental health too. Walking an anxious dog will also cut down on destructive behaviour and separation anxiety.
3. Another suggestion is that the dog could wear a coat, bandana, or lead which signifies that he is a nervous dog or one that needs his space. Strangers can instantly see that the dog should not be approached by the distinctive yellow colour. These have been around for a while now and I have noticed that many dog walkers recognise the significance of the yellow bandana and will avoid close contact which really helps whilst out walking.
4. If you are worried that your dog may become aggressive, a muzzle can be helpful. I was concerned that Darcy would lose sensory enjoyment when wearing a muzzle, however, I was reassured that there are types which don’t hinder the dog’s ability to smell or bark. Someone is a lot less likely to approach a dog wearing a muzzle, so just the sight of one should act as a deterrent.
5. A Thundershirt is a coat that is attached firmly around the dog’s torso in a very similar way to swaddling a baby. The theory is that the tightly secured coat makes the dog feel safe. I bought one for Darcy and he is always happy for me to put it on him.
6. A few drops of Rescue Remedy in the dogs drinking water can reduce anxiety and allow the dog to get more enjoyment from his daily walk.
There is loads of information on this blog about how anxiety can affect dogs and tips that have helped along the way.
Here are just a few:-
This blog is now three years old and we have followed Darcy’s progress along the way. Holly my chihuahua mix is in her eighteenth year, she has recently become quite deaf but is still loving life. Having a puppy is hard work but we made the right decision to add another dog at this time.
Times are hard at the moment, we have had to make sacrifices, but the dogs are always there to make me smile.
I hope you are enjoying spending time with your dogs too.
Thank you for reading.
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