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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-04-2014 09:03 AM
carmspack If the dog has a nervous tendency from the start then the owner's anxiety will feed , confirm the dog's anxiety.

Do remember though that dogs are selected for PTSD , and for psychological support for people with panic disorders and other problems .
The dogs that are solid are not affected.
06-04-2014 08:49 AM
Kaasuti I have some anxiety. When i first got Charlie i was absolutely terrible, panic attacks..the full works, Charlie would submissive piddle all the time back then. I don't suffer from it like that anymore and since then Charlie has stopped being submissive. He is a good dog and loves everybody, the only time he even gives a hint of anxiety is at night time in the park. But that's because we have trouble in our parks sometimes and we are both on alert, lol.

I do think it affects dogs sometimes, but not always.
05-22-2014 02:55 AM
Sarah~ I have anxiety, I have meds I can take to stop my panic attacks but I don't take them often unless I know I'll be doing something that could provoke a panic attack. Eko is also a very tense, anxious dog. I do feel I have a lot to do with it. Like when we walk and a car approaches, I involuntarily tense up, heart races, and I get this feeling of total dread that the car is going to hit me. Totally ridiculous, but one of many silly things I think of that makes me afraid and start to have a panic attack. Eko sees me and the car and thinks it must be a threat to us and charges right at it, barking and having a total fit. At least that's how I interpret that behavior.

We worked on it and he doesn't do it anymore but I also had to change our route so we saw a lot less cars because I still have anxiety and I don't want to mess up his progress. That's just one example, there are a few other things but it's all the same idea, basically.
05-22-2014 02:19 AM
Pax8
Quote:
Originally Posted by angierose View Post
If you can, see if you can get into therapy. You don't need to go forever, although some people choose to and that's fine. Even a few sessions with a good therapist can help. I did an intensive outpatient program for a couple of weeks, they taught different techniques for dealing with situations and different calming techniques, and how to change the way you think. Even books can be helpful, they have cognitive behavioral therapy books for anxiety. The key is keeping up with what you're taught on your own. Some people do grow out of anxiety, but many do not, and if you develop the tools to deal with it and practice consistently, your life can be a lot more fulfilling.

Sorry to veer off-dog-topic, but I was terrified of things for more years than was necessary because I wouldn't seek help. It's no fun.
Thanks, I've definitely tried therapy and just about every treatment and medication under the sun. The anxiety is largely due to another chronic disorder so it's difficult to treat. Really the only thing that has helped in any meaningful way has been having my dog. It's one of the reasons I'm looking into training him as a service dog. He already helps ground me during panic attacks and he's learned to apply chest pressure to calm me down when I'm in a situation where that is possible.

On a more thread related note, service dogs are handled very commonly not only by people with physical disabilities but also people with mental imbalances and challenges as well. I don't think I've ever seen an aggressive service dog. So I suppose the same thing can be said for most sound, well-raised dogs that have been trained to adapt to new situations. A service dog may be more specialized as far as temperament, but they do spend most of their lives often with someone who depends on them due to impairments that can include severe anxieties and tense behaviors.
05-21-2014 08:31 PM
Mishka&Milo I've found that my girl helps me overcome a lot of it just by my not wanting to make her uneasy.... Now she is even trained to alert my husband when I start feeling uncomfortable, and lick my hand. I'm well looked after


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05-21-2014 05:50 PM
angierose If you can, see if you can get into therapy. You don't need to go forever, although some people choose to and that's fine. Even a few sessions with a good therapist can help. I did an intensive outpatient program for a couple of weeks, they taught different techniques for dealing with situations and different calming techniques, and how to change the way you think. Even books can be helpful, they have cognitive behavioral therapy books for anxiety. The key is keeping up with what you're taught on your own. Some people do grow out of anxiety, but many do not, and if you develop the tools to deal with it and practice consistently, your life can be a lot more fulfilling.

Sorry to veer off-dog-topic, but I was terrified of things for more years than was necessary because I wouldn't seek help. It's no fun.
05-21-2014 05:40 PM
Pax8 I say it's dependent on both genetics and how you carry yourself during interactions where there is a chance for anxiety.

I have a severe anxiety disorder that often results in panic attacks, but my current dog is the most stable one I've ever had. It's probably partially due to genetics as I was very picky about finding temperamentally solid dogs to buy a puppy from, but there is a lot that can be said for his extensive socialization and the care I put into my body language when we encounter new or stressful situations.

It also helps that having a dog around makes a huge positive impact on my stress level. I've gotten better, but alone I still tend to be a nervous wreck. But with my dog? I could go into pretty much any situation confident that I could handle it. So that confidence is something Kaiju is exposed to anytime he is around me whether we are walking, training, or working.
05-21-2014 05:26 PM
ApselBear Some dogs will naturally be more confident than others. I like to think that if you build a trust in your dog and then keep your focus on how she's handling situations, and less on how you will handle it, she'll help you lose some of that edge.

I am by no means confident in everything I do. And I'm definitely awkward at times, but I have became more comfortable over time just realizing that everyone is a little awkward and probably even insecure, we just all have different ways of handling it. Ultimately, it takes work just like everything else life throws at us. The more we work on it, the less it matters, or we even improvements.

Trust your dog, she'll do the rest.
05-21-2014 05:23 PM
Athena'sMom I too have generalized anxiety. Athena is a social butterfly. My dogs are my therapy. Being with Athena and Sinister automatically calm my nerves on a bad day. Dogs read body language more than emotions. If your body is tense so is the leash and then so is the dog. What I try to do on walks is relax, turn my mind off. It is not a time for me to "what if" think or stress about my day it is a time to be with my dogs and release the stress of the day.
My trainer I go to taught me to relax my arms as I hold tension on my leash. At first it was not natural but over time it became a habit. Also don't react with the leash if you see something she may bark at. relax the leash if you tense up she feel that on her collar and then she goes into protection mode not fear. Again dogs speak in body language not with their emotions, just stay calm and relax your body. I use yoga as a way to learn to breath. It helps me be in the moment vs. living in the anxiety. My anxiety is so much better since starting yoga. Good luck!!
05-21-2014 05:11 PM
Cara Fusinato Conversely -- I am massively comfortable with my dog any time, anywhere because previously I had a service dog (long story, seizures from head trauma, I got better, didn't replace when my dog retired/passed). I have had my dog at Disneyland, jury duty, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, dog training, Wal-Mart on a Sunday, you name it. No fear.

My current dog is a bundle of nerves. Like shivering nerves. Afraid of people, dogs, buses, worried sick about anything and everything tht might harm us.

I go to vet yesterday, me and the sheltie sitting on the bench chatting with people, looking out the window, my boy literally cowering under the bench. New vet -- never been there, no bad memories. He could hear traffic. Dogs walked by the window as did people.

While not answering nervous people = nervous dogs, I can answer confident people can have nervous dogs. Can have a nervous one and a solid one side by side in the exact same environment.

What you may be sending in your example is the "protect me" signal. Not the same as fearful and weak-minded. There have been many times were I have had a nervous moment and my SD would puff up and go protective, once where I was in danger and someone was coming at me and he barked once and blocked, other times when I was a little uneasy and to that his response was much lesser with just a steady warning gaze to someone to give space.

The "protect me" thought is way different than saying a dog is fearful, aggressive, and anxiety-filled.
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