Tag Archives: anxiety

Quick tip: Early walks

When do you walk your dogs? We’ve had a routine for a while now where during the week they get walked after work, and on the weekend they get walked a few times starting from about 10am. The one thing we’ve noticed, walking in the morning is so much easier.

Tayla is troublesome to walk at the best of times. She is highly energetic, easily distracted, and fairly relentless. She is getting better, but still a hassle. We’ve found when walking her early in the morning she is happy, doesn’t pull, listens to what you say, and is generally pleasant to walk.

Walking in the morning means the dogs have plenty of energy, they are still relatively happy and alert, but without being pent up and anxious like they may be after being pent up all day.

If you have a dog that is difficult to walk and you have the choice of doing it in the morning or after work, then try it out.

Clearly a tie in with another quick tip

Quick tip: Walk time

Just a quick tip for when it comes to walk time. We all know some dogs have some anxiety and get a little crazy around walk time. Tayla certainly does, but we’ve found that getting out of the house nice and fast helps her incredibly.

In the future try not to let them get excited about going for a walk until you are ready to walk out the door. Letting them know they are going for a walk (for example putting their collar and leash on) and then letting them wait while you slowly get your shoes and socks, get yourself a drink, and go to the toilet just gives them plenty of time to get over-excited and anxious. Try to do everything nice and quietly, and then leave briskly after your dog realises what is going on.

Tayla being contemplative

The New Years Dilemma

It’s New Years Eve tomorrow, which brings about the usual issues that dog owners face year after year. Fireworks.

Luckily we don’t have an issue with fireworks or thunderstorms. Not because we live in some sort of paradise-like bio-dome bereft of celebrations and weather, but because none of our huskies give a flip what is happening that far up in the sky. I know quite a few huskies that are the same, I’m not sure if it’s the breed or the owners but many huskies don’t seemed phased with fireworks.

Tayla’s usual position during fireworks, not fussed in the slightest.

Unfortunately that isn’t the same for everyone, so here are a few things to keep in mind and try during the festivities on Monday night.

  1. Go for a long walk or go to a dog park before you start celebrating. Try to wear your dog out, and then hopefully by the time the fireworks come there won’t be as much interest.
  2. Distractions are great for getting your dog use to disregarding the noise. Encouraging your dog to do other things during fireworks can help your dog learn to ignore them. Do some obedience training, try some tricks, play with some toys, anything to keep the dog distracted. This doesn’t mean fill them up with treats, as that can be seen as rewarding them for feeling anxious. If possible try to start distracting them before (or as soon as) the fireworks start. It will be easier to distract the dog if it doesn’t have time to get itself worked up.
  3. Make your own noise to help cover up the fireworks. Depending on how close they are then just putting music on or turning the tv up a little can help to drown out the unfamiliar noise. If you have roller shutters or blinds then close them also, as they can help block out the noise and the flashing.
  4. Make sure that your dog is safe and secure, wherever they will be. Many dogs get out of the yard during fireworks. Sometimes the flight response kicks in and they run. If you are going out and the dog is at home by itself then make sure the yard is secure (especially for huskies and malamutes, who are expert escape artists at the best of times). Also make sure that the dog has somewhere sheltered to go in case of a freak out. It’s important to make sure that your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag with a phone number on it, just in case the worst does happen.

Keep calm and carry on

Anything you do while the fireworks are going should be calm and positive. Don’t start showing too much worry for the dog, or start cursing the fireworks and running around. Dogs often look to us to learn how to react. If you seem panicked and anxious (for whatever reason) then your dog might too.

Don’t try to overly comfort the dog to make up for it being scared, as dogs often see this as approval of what they are doing and how they are feeling. Letting a dog jump on your lap (yes I know some huskies that try to lie on their owner’s lap) and being overly affectionate during distressing times can reinforce the anxiety and make it harder to break.

For the puppies out there…

Like many other potentially problematic issues like strangers, cars, and children, we got Logan desensitised to fireworks and thunderstorms very early. During his first thunderstorm Drew sat out the back with him, every time Logan started paying attention to the noise and getting anxious Drew would distract him and get him doing something else. Doing that a few times during thunderstorms and fireworks led to Logan not caring in the slightest, which is great because our neighbours love fireworks. If you have a puppy this is something that you could try, you might be able to nip the problem in the bud early on.

Logan as a brave (fireworks free) puppy