Dog Anxiety & Creating a Refuge
A Little Background
Dogs can be comforted by things in the environment that many of us don’t even think of. One way of helping dogs to cope with anxiety is to provide a safe and comfortable refuge. Crates are meant to be “happy places” for dogs. There are also special beds that create a cave-like environment that is comforting to many dogs. There are things we can do to make the environment even more calming.
Placing an article of clothing with your scent on it spread across your dog’s favorite place. A t-shirt that you worked out in or pajamas are perfect. It should NOT be washed and should not have perfume or any other artificial scent. The point is to comfort your dog by having a loved one’s scent that provides some security. Dogs have very sensitive noses. They gather information from the environment through scent and they associate your natural body scent with you.
Some people are under the impression that a crate is a bad thing. Crating is are NOT supposed to be used for punishment. On the contrary, a crate can serve as a safe home. First of all, the crate must be the right size. The dog should be able to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. You may or may not close the door. If your dog becomes destructive while you are away you may close the door. While someone is at home it is best to keep the door open. The crate is a happy place. Allow your dog to enter or exit at his own will. It is best to cover the top and all sides except for the door. Now your crate has turned into a little cave.
Next you need to make it cozy. You can place a worn article of your clothing in there, some pillows, toys, and a blanket. It is now a comfy cave. You can even throw in a few pieces of dehydrated liver to make it a REALLY happy place before you leave. One of my dogs used to run into the closet during thunderstorms. She tends to do run to her little house now. This is helpful for separation anxiety.
You can also purchase a little “cave.” It is more popular for cats so if you have a small dog it is perfect as a little hang out cave. My dogs LOVE theirs.
A Comforting Pal
I don’t know about this product, but it sounded interesting to me so I wanted to share with you. SnugglePuppies are toys that have a part that goes inside the stuffed animal that sounds like a soothing heartbeat. It also has a warm pack that is put inside so your dog can feel the warmth of his pal.
Another product, PetZu Heartbeat Pillow uses a similar concept as well as similar features to the Snuggle Puppy. It has a “real feel heartbeat” and provides gentle warmth as well. PetZu is shaped like a pillow which is made with comfy sherpa material.
For all products read descriptions and details to make sure that your dog can safely take them and to check to be suitable for your purposes.