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Nervous Dogs
hi: i am the owner of a 5 year old english bulldog. the problem is that i cannot take her anywhere out of her surroundings, she starts to hyperventilate and gets so bad that she gasps for air, can’t breathe. the panting actually gets so bad she sounds like a duck. i cannot leave her in a kennel or get groomed, they call me up to take her home. i’ve tried everything, tranquilizers zonk her out so much it scares me. i’ve tried rescue remedy. i want to go to florida with my sister for a month. i’m afraid she will die while i am gone. i cannot drive and take her with me, i live in pa. i’m afraid to have someone come in to feed her and let her out. again i fear for her life. i have a daughter in atlanta also whom i cannot go see because of this problem. help, i need suggestions.
sandra tessaro
Helping your girl get over her anxiety is going to take a tremendous amount of time and commitment on your part, but I’m sure you can make things better for her (and for you) over time if you’re dedicated to that goal. She needs slow, progressive socialization to learn that moving out of her home environment can be fun. Start by taking her for short walks on-leash, maybe just one block at a time. Keep your own attitude very casual and friendly at all times. If you react to her anxiety, you will simply reinforce and exacerbate it.

Carry lots of little treats with you whenever you take your dog off your property. Small bits of hotdogs work great. Walk a few steps and give her a treat. Walk a few more steps and give her another treat. If she starts to hyperventilate, walk her a few steps farther, then quietly turn around and walk back home. Don’t treat her when she hyperventilates, or she’ll start associating treats with anxiety. Only treat her when she is reasonably calm.

Once she is able to walk to the end of the block without anxiety, see if your next door neighbor will allow you to bring her to their house for a brief visit. Ask them to welcome your dog calmly, without making a big fuss over her, and give them a couple treats to give her. Stay for only a couple minutes, then go back home. Again, keep treating your dog whenever she remains reasonably calm.

Over time, extend the length of your walks and continue to visit as many different places with her as you can. Eventually, she will start to make the connection between going places and receiving treats and pats, but it certainly won’t happen overnight. Plan on months or years of socialization.

In the meantime, try to find a pet sitter who will stay at your house with your dog while you’re away. Ask your vet or groomer for referrals and recommendations. If you do find someone with whom you feel comfortable, ask her/him to come to your house several times to spend time with your dog while you’re home. Once your dog gets to know the pet sitter, you can leave her with the sitter for just an hour or so while you go out to run errands. That’ll give you an idea how your dog will react to being left alone with the sitter. If it goes well, try leaving them for an entire afternoon or overnight to see how your dog responds.

Don’t necessarily give up on the tranquilizers, either. If an entire pill makes your girl really zonky, try giving her just 1/4 pill to see if that’ll take the edge off her anxiety. I don’t like drug therapy myself, but there are situations where it can really help the retraining process along.

I wish you the best of luck with your girl.

Kinda like my aunt with her dog. She is nervous and she makes her poodle nervous. Dogs will react to you the way you are. If your calm they will be calm but if you are nervous they will sense it and get all nervous. guppie
speak to your vet about putting her on a sedative,when you have to take her out,i know how she feels i suffer from anxiey attacks when i go out into the public.the only thing that keeps me calm is sedatives .try it it may help…….good luck teebos69

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