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3 Ways Regular Walks Can Help an Anxious Dog

3 Ways Regular Walks Can Help an Anxious Dog

When we think of anxiety disorders we often think of them affecting people, but rarely do we talk about how anxiety disorders affect dogs. Dogs, like people, can experience intense anxiety disorders which can impact their behavior, sleeping patterns, and quality of life. Some dogs experience anxiety due to a genetic predisposition and others acquire an anxiety disorder through traumatic experiences that have left them emotionally and mentally scarred. 

Whatever the cause, anxiety disorders in dogs can be difficult to diagnose and even tougher to treat. But ensuring your dog is getting enough exercise and pursuing an active lifestyle is an important first step to managing an anxiety disorder. 

Regular walks have been known to improve anxious dog’s temperaments and positively impact their mental health. So if you’re trying to manage a dog with an anxiety disorder, here are three ways hiring a professional dog walker might help. 

Exercise 

Exercise

Like humans, when dogs exercise they experience a rush of endorphins that positively impacts their brain chemistry. Dogs who get more exercise tend to live longer and happier lives. Not to mention the fact that exercise significantly reduces the severity of anxiety disorder symptoms. The more exercise your anxious dog gets, the more manageable their anxiety becomes. 

Hiring a dog walker is an excellent way to positively contribute to your dog’s mental health. If you work outside the home and your anxious dog spends much of the day alone and indoors, then hiring a professional dog walker is an excellent first step towards managing your dog’s mental health. 

Exposure Therapy 

Taking your dog on a walk is about more than just maintaining fitness. 

When you walk your dog, you also expose them to new surroundings and stimuli. For an anxious dog, new surroundings will likely be frightening at first, but the more often you take your dog outside of their comfort zone, the more comfortable they will be in their own skin. 

Putting your dog in new, unfamiliar, environments allows them to experience uncertainty in a safe and healthy way. Your dog will be able to experience new environments while still having the comfort of knowing their walker is right there by their side. This is an excellent way for your dog to grow emotionally and gain confidence. 

Once your dog is comfortable taking a certain route, it’s good to change things up a bit and take them on a different trail or down a street they’ve never been on before. Gradually adding change and uncertainty to your anxious dog’s life will improve their temperament and make them more capable of managing their anxiety without acting out. 

Healthy Routines 

One of the most challenging parts of treating a dog with an anxiety disorder is getting them out of their funk. It’s really common for anxious dogs to develop unhealthy routines like oversleeping, undereating or hiding. 

The most effective way a dog walker can help your anxious dog is by breaking old unhealthy routines and replacing them with new healthy ones. Hiring a dog walker means that even when you’re busy at work you know your dog is still able to get outside and experience the day instead of lying around the house. The structure a dog walker provides is exactly what an anxious dog needs in order to break bad habits and create new ones. 

Changing their routine is the best way to start a new chapter in your dog’s life. It enforces positive behavioral changes and allows your dog to slowly acclimate themselves to new people, new surroundings and a new way of life. 

If the new routine is maintained it will slowly turn into a habit. Once your dog gets used to regular changes and understands that they don’t need to be scary or stressful, then you will begin to see real behavioral changes. 

If you need help getting your dog into a healthy routine, please contact us today.

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