Anxious Dog?

Avatar for ubergeek
Community Leader
Registered: 09-23-2010
Anxious Dog?
3
Thu, 03-28-2013 - 11:45am

Hi everyone!

I have a mixed breed rescue. She's now 6, we adopted her when she was 3 months old. She's terrier mix (honestly, a little bit of everything). She's big — about 6ft on her hind legs (when she jumps up on me she's taller than me and I'm 5'6. She weighs about 100 lbs.

Here's my question: over the past 2-2½ years she's become increasingly anxious. She barks, growls, low growls at EVERYTHING. Even if she just *thinks* she hears something. Or even dumb things. Any noise, honestly. Or if she sees me look out the front door. She barks. And it's not one bark. It's incessant. My husband's chair, for example, is not motorized closure. So when he closes it, it makes a "bang" sound. She barks and goes running to the window. I can be talking to the baby and say something like, "Where's Mickey?" and the dog barks. 

I'm planning on taking her to the vet to get her nails clipped (she can't see a groomer because she bites — she's territorial, the trainer said because she's anxious) and was going to talk to him about this. Would I look like a fool if I asked about medicating her? I deal with anxiety myself, so I know it can be rough. So if she's *this* anxious and it's not just a fluke thing I think she needs help. I don't want to medicate just to shut her up, but it's really affecting normal activities. It's like she lays waiting for something to happen. Even when she goes outside, she'll only go if someone goes with her. 

Would love some input!

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001
Thu, 03-28-2013 - 6:51pm

Hi Erin...and Welcome to the Board.  I'm sorry you're going through this with your dear puppy.

One thing I will say...if you say you suffer from anxiety she could definitely be picking up on this.  I suffer from depression so I know that feeling like anxiety or panic attacks (which I've also had before) are something that are difficult to control...but dogs do pick up on our feelings.

Has anythng changed in your life lately?  A move, new job, different work hours, etc?  That could be bothering your dog.  Or was there any kind of incident that frightened her?

Talking to your vet is a great idea...but, as you said, you don't want to medicate her just for th sake of medicating her.  You might want to purchase something like Rescue Remedy; that might help a bit.  Or even buy her a Thunder Shirt; even though they are used for dogs with noise issues, it might help.

Your last resort may be a dog behaviorist.

Here is an article that may be of some assistance:

http://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/behavioral/c_dg_fears_phobia_anxiety

Good luck....and please be sure to keep us posted.  Give your puppy an extra hug for me.

Laura
Avatar for ubergeek
Community Leader
Registered: 09-23-2010
Fri, 03-29-2013 - 1:58pm

Hi Laura,

Thanks. When it first started, I thought it was the upcoming arrival of the baby. But now that the baby is almost 2... ;) And thankfully, she's not woken easily by the barking, but she is scared by it (she'll run to hide if Lola starts barking suddenly). I wouldn't mind the barking if it had a reason: the doorbell, a knock, someone on the front porch. But it's the ghost barking, as well as the barking for everyday things (the mailman going by, the garbage men, the chair being closed, someone getting up off the couch suddenly, and so on). 

I have two pet stores within 5 minutes of me, I'll hav to take a peek and see if they have the rescue remedy. Can't hurt to try it out. 

Thanks again! And I'll definitely follow-up!

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001
Sat, 03-30-2013 - 2:18pm

You might also try the "don't bark" command.  When Lola starts barking tell her to "don't bark"....once she stops give her a treat and praise her.  That way she'll understand that when she stops barking it's the right thing to do.   It may take a while but, hopefully, she'll soon understand.

Good Luck.

Laura