We all love our dogs and want to ensure that we care for them the best we can. Dogs can be sensitive to different environmental changes and can feel anxious when they haven’t been properly adapted to their surroundings. I’m going to take this opportunity to share with you a curated list of the top 10 ways to make your pup feel safe.
1. Socialize your dog from an early age. This might seem obvious. But to many, it’s not. Due to our hectic schedules, exercise typically consists of a run around the yard or a quick walk around the block. As a consequence, our dogs aren’t given the opportunity to socialize with other dogs and adapt to the sound of loud cars. This means that when they finally do go out for a longer walk, they are more easily startled.
2. Crate train them. As I mentioned in Part III, of my three-part series, providing your dog with a crate and a comfy pillow is essential to making them feel safe by providing them with a space to call their own.
For more information on how to crate train your dog, check out this super helpful video!
3. Don’t make your dog do something they’re not comfortable with. If you know that your dog doesn’t like it swimming, don’t force them into a lake. Not only does this make the dog feel unsafe, it also tarnishes the trust between you and your furry best friend.
4. Develop patience. If you become immediately annoyed or frustrated by your dog’s behaviour while training them, this can lead to them feeling anxious, confused and unwilling to learn.
5. Maintain structure in your dog’s life. This means developing a schedule in which breakfast, walks, play time and nap time are scheduled for more or less the same time every day.
6. Leave a light on or the television when you’re not home. If you’re out of the house all day, and your dog will be alone, leaving a light on, especially if you will be gone at night, will help your dog feel safe as they will be able to better see their surroundings.
7. Give your dog space. This is especially important if there are small children in the house or other pets. You want to ensure that your dog doesn’t feel overwhelmed or anxious by a small person tugging at their ears or pulling their fur. Not only will this lead to irritation, but your dog can express his frustrations in a way that his uncharacteristic of his usual self. It is important to remember that this is not your dog saying that they don’t like the child or other pet, but that they need time to adjust to the new addition and feel safe.
8. Show your dog affection. This can be something as simple as an ear rub or speaking to your dog in a soft, loving tone. These simple gestures help to make your dog feel safe and loved.