How to Train an Anxious Dog

Dog and woman

We are a lot like you. When a dog is timid, shy or scared, we want to just through our arms around them and tell them it will be OK.

Training a dog suffers from anxiety is not just dog training. Dog fear and anxiety are complex behaviors that require expert intervention.

Animals with anxiety seek reassurance, avoidance and rituals or habits that distract them from their anxiety or give them the illusion of safety. We often accidentally reward this behavior.

Dog Behaviorist for Anxiety

Fear of walking on a leash

Fear of new places, people, dogs or events that become stressful for the dog. A common example is an attachment disorder referred to as separation anxiety. Dogs that fear other dogs and/or people are suffering from an anxiety disorder similar to social anxiety disorder in humans.

Social anxiety disorder in dogs are express in behaviors such as avoidance, fear aggression or “leash reactivity” leash aggression. These behaviors can become habituated but, in the majority of cases they are not reactions and a clear escalation of anxiety and effect can be seen.

We Are Different

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Dogs that suffer from anxiety disorders can be inappropriately aggressive, fearful and timid or over excited. They often exhibit all three facets in their behavior. Meaning that if you only work on dog aggression you are not addressing the majority of the cause.

We offer a compete spectrum of canine behavior training and address dog anxiety disorders as well as aggression.

Motley Dog Training Goes Beyond Dog Training and Use Behavior Science in order to give your dog the best life possible.

We have years of experience researching and applying theories and techniques such as :

  • EMDR
  • Reframing
  • Exposure
  • Shaping
  • Episodic Memory
  • Implicit and explicit Memory
  • Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation
  • Priming, cues and recall

A few Links to Checkout

Mental representation and episodic-like memory of own actions in dogs

EMDR and “Purple Hat”

Rapid learning of object names in dogs

The point is that the behavior science we have used for decades is finally getting the recognition it deserves

Our Teams Say it Best!

Cashew is also listening a bit better at home and seems to be more behaved.  I can’t really explain how.  But, he’s more attentive and seems to be responding better. 

A Few More Interesting Links

How do you know when your dog is suffering from mental health issues?

Dr. Sylvalyn Hammond, DVM and Spokesperson for Zesty Paws, told Newsweek that signs of mental health issues in dogs are surprisingly similar to those of humans, and just like us when they’re depressed they will show changes in their behavior.

“A once playful and energetic dog suddenly becomes disinterested, listless, withdrawn, or inactive. Sometimes changes in eating and sleeping habits are also noticed,” she said.

And article about dogs and depression is a good read.

What to Know About Mental Health Care and Dogs

Post by: Dr. Wendy Hauser

The Animal Brain

Dogs Can do anything

Research has found that mood disorders in people and dogs are based in the “animal brain.” This can be seen as a malfunction of our fight, flight or freeze response. On the brighter side some dogs and people seem to have no fear and these are the K9’s we depend on for many dangerous jobs.

Our Mission is to Make the Lives of Dogs and Their People Better

Contact Motley and find out how we can help


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