Calming Techniques for Anxious Dogs

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Hiya Gorgeous!

If you have a pet or have in the past, then you know all about that special kind of love between fur babies and their humans. They brighten our days with sloppy wet kisses and snuggles, encourage us to get outside and play, make us laugh with their silly antics, and add meaning to our lives in so many other wonderful ways.

And because we love them so much, we want them to be just as happy as they make us. We hate to see them stressed out, anxious, sad or confused. I don’t know about you, but I’d do just about anything to make Lola feel better when she’s having a tough time. But because we don’t speak the same language (even though sometimes I swear she knows exactly what I’m saying!), it can be hard to figure out what’s bothering them and how we can help.

That’s why I’m so excited about today’s post. Amanda Ree, the incredible founder of Sama Dog, is on a mission to help humans and their canine pals find a state of balance (or “Sama”). Amanda and her team do this by considering all aspects of a dog’s life, including diet, exercise, personal history, mind-body type (known as their “dosha”) and several other factors. Honestly, I could gush about Amanda and her innovative, holistic approach to our furry friends’ well-being for hours, but I don’t want to wait another minute to hand this post over to her.

I think you’re gonna love these tips for helping relieve anxiety for your pup. Make sure to grab the free guided meditation—yes, it’s for you and your dog to do together!

Take it away, Amanda!

Calming Techniques for Anxious Dogs

By Amanda Ree, Sama Dog

Thanks, Kris!

Dogs are brilliant little beings. Get close to one and your life is instantly filled with more laughter, less stress and a furry reminder to live in the present moment. This is exactly why therapy dogs are so popular—because they work! But what about the canine that needs their own therapy dog?

What Canine Anxiety Looks Like

Just like humans, there are pups in our lives who suffer from anxiety. Physically, canine anxiety may manifest as shaking, panting, licking or pacing. Behaviorally, an anxious dog might also urinate, excessively lick/bite themselves or even try to escape.

If left untreated, the added stress takes a similar toll as in humans, creating imbalances in the body that promote illness, disease and a lower quality of life. Luckily, we can prevent this by using our personal human-animal bond to help a dog with anxiety.

Help Your Dog by Helping Yourself

It might help to know that we commonly share our current state of mind with our canine companions—it’s something we regularly see evidence of at Sama Dog. Clients with anxiety or even sensitivities to touch, food or noise often arrive with a human companion suffering from the same ailment. It’s called mirroring, and the solution often lies in treating the human first.

The impact you have on your furry friend is real. Are you experiencing emotional turbulence, anxiety, stress or overwhelm? If so, then it’s time to begin constructing a balanced lifestyle for yourself. Make yourself a priority to help your dog. Set time aside for the things you enjoy and re-commit to regular exercise, relaxation, quiet time and healthy eating. As you become more relaxed and at ease, so will the canine in your life.

Meditate Together

An excellent foundation for a more balanced life is meditation. Studies show that it can have long-term beneficial effects when used to treat anxiety. Even a few minutes each day can positively influence mood, behavior and emotions by decreasing stress hormones and increasing the happy ones.

The peacefulness of meditation is a natural tonic to a canine’s nervous energy and it’s easy to include them because dogs are natural meditators. Simply sit with your pup in a quiet, comfortable space and bring your attention to your breath. When your mind begins to wander, recognize this and come back to your breath. Remember, this ebb and flow is the practice of meditation.

Sama Dog has seen a consistent meditation practice bring better health and wellbeing to many, many dogs and their humans. To get you started, I created a free guided meditation for you to do with your pup. Download it below!

Canine Anxiety Triggers

While some dogs suffer from general anxiety, many have specific triggers that make them feel nervous or fearful. Here are some of the most common, and how you can help.

Separation Anxiety

Many dogs are worried you’ll never come back. Teach them you’ll always return by easing into it. Prepare as if you’re going to leave for a while but be gone for only 1 minute. A few hours later, leave for 4 minutes. The next day, try 8 minutes, and very slowly build the duration over a week until they remain calm while you’re out of the house.

Meeting New People

Enlisting the support of several patient, dog-loving friends, ask the “stranger” to first allow your dog to approach them, using a treat or favorite toy as a reward. When your dog becomes comfortable with this, allow the human to do the approaching. Repeat this process with several friends. Limit your dog’s exposure to actual strangers until you can condition a favorable experience with new people.

Past Trauma/Abuse

Building trust with your dog is the golden ticket to every human-canine bond. Be hyper-aware of creating a positive association for them with all your interactions. Especially for dogs with anxiety due to poor treatment by humans, dominance and training with punishment must be avoided.

Our pups ask for so little and in return provide us with an abundance of friendship, joy and unconditional love. They magically lower our stress levels with just their presence, so why shouldn’t we help manage theirs? Lucky for us (and them) this requires no doctor visits or doggy Xanax, only some dedicated time, understanding and much love.

Thanks, Amanda!

I hope that you and your furry friend find some time soon to meditate together or try another one of Amanda’s wonderful tips. I know that Lola and I will be tuning in to the guided meditation next time we both need to release some stress (don’t forget to download it here!).

And as you figure out what works for both you and your pup, keep in mind that anxiety is totally normal—just like it is for us. Take your time, practice patience and recognize when they make progress. I’ll be sending you both lots of love and stress-free vibes along the way!

Your turn: Does your canine BFF experience stress or anxiety? Which techniques have you tried (or plan to try) to help them feel calmer and more at ease? Let us know in the comments below!

Peace and furry friends,

Kris Carr

P.S. Create a happy, stress-free life for your fur baby!

When you stress less, so does your pup! Grab my Extraordinary: Meditations for a Magnificent Life album for help finding a sense calm and ease, no matter what you’ve got goin’ on.