Supporting an anxious dog
I had no idea that dogs could have anxiety conditions too, and just like people, they need support and help to find ways to manage daily experiences. Sharing life with an anxious dog can be very challenging, worrying yet also highly rewarding.
Chilli will always need my support when we’re out and about. And that’s ok! I love being his Mummy. One of the biggest challenges we face is other people! Most passersby are mesmerized by him and speak to him, give strong eye contact and reach out to touch him. This of course is a disaster and he reacts – some people get very offended calling him aggressive and a bad dog and some are so compassionate and understanding and apologise to him. We’d love you to follow our campaign on Instagram here.
I’m a reactive dog
Hello, I’m Chilli, and if you don’t already know I am what they call a “reactive dog”.
Basically this means that I don’t cope with many situations that people find normal: for me these situations make me feel triggered. So I react in the way I know how to, bark and growl at everything to make the situation triggering me to basically just go away.
“Some dogs need space” the Yellow Dog campaign is simply great – it is such a simple thing to do and has a huge impact on the dog’s wellbeing. By simply giving a dog some space, most of the trigger factors are removed and the dog doesn’t feel anxious or threatened. This can be a reactive dog or injured dog or perhaps disabled dog.
Help me, support me
One of the reasons I feel so strongly about this subject is that we shouldn’t write off a reactive dog and only leave him at home. There are so many things we can do to help support them. There will be limits of course, and those should always be respected. But there is some room for us to meet somewhere along the way.
Working closely with a dog behaviourist I really gained huge insight – we had to help change the way Chilli felt about certain situations, not force change in behaviour.
I learned to read his signs and understand what he was communicating with me. I saw this nervous, highly strung little boy who couldn’t relax and felt threatened most of the time. So we created coping mechanisms for him and tried them out.