Does Swaddling Help Dog Anxiety?
How to calm your canine takes a few deep breathes on your part and a few tricks (if not treats). While a loving pat and stroke from the master is enough for some mutts, others can become severely hysterical and frantic during storms or other stressful situations. So, how do you help calm your pup when it seems like nothing will do?
Dog Swaddling: Hey, it works for babies, so why not give it a try? Obviously, the smaller the dog breed, the easier this is said and done. However, some of the larger breeds can benefit the most. It is easy to pick up and cuddle a small dog, but when your big dog is frantic (and feeling small) it isn’t always easy for him to turn into a lap dog.
To start, you’ll need some swaddling gear. This can be a blanket or even just some fabric off the spool. You may need to start with a dog t-shirt or sweater if those legs are too wild to tame. The material should feel and smell familiar and comfortable. Maybe it is a blanket you use or one of your old t-shirts?
For a small to medium-sized dog, you may be able to scoop up the pup and snuggle him close to you. For elderly or larger breeds, try getting on his level and snuggle on the floor.
If the thought of getting Fido to sit still long enough to swaddle when he is anxious you may need a treat to coax him to the cuddle position. Once laying next to you, wrap your pup tightly in the swaddle material. In most cases, you’ll keep the blanket completely clear of your dog’s face, but there are dog’s who are happiest when their entire head is buried and protected from whatever is causing the anxiety.- similar to blinder on a horse. In some cases, if they can’t see the thing that is terrifying them, it is as though it can’t see them either.
Do enlist the help of another adult if available, but try not to include children. An anxious animal can react badly in some cases – even if he has not ever done so before. Beside the fact that it can scare a child to see the family pet acting strangely, it can lead to injuries if not treated with caution.
Once your pooch is swaddled and calm you may need to stay with him to maintain that level of comfort. With time, you may be able to back off completely and let the blanket do the calming but don’t expect such a result on the first try. In fact, it may not work at all. Every dog is different, but it is certainly worth a few tries. Hopefully, canine swaddling can restore some peace to your anxious pup.
This trick is also a good one for puppies and overly excited animals. Try swaddling and laying the dog on his back. This submissive position combined with the swaddle will provide calming comfort while teaching that you are the boss and master; you name the time when he needs to calm down from all the excitement of playing. However, always do this out of love and never when angry with the dog to ensure that you are communicating comfort and not fear.
Guest post by Susan Wright DVM, who writes for Dog Fence DIY, a great resource for invisible fence options aimed at keeping your pet safe.