What are the tips to manage new dog anxiety?

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This blog answers: What are the tips to manage new dog anxiety?  What are some other ways to manage anxiety? What are the therapy options for anxiety?

What are the tips to manage new dog anxiety? 

Some tips to keep in mind before getting a dog such that one can feel less anxious and stressed after getting a dog are:

Lifetime Fur Friend

The most important tip to remember is that dogs are for life. The average lifespan of a dog is about 13 years. If you decide to get a dog, it will have to be a long-term commitment. 

This means that you must commit to your dog from the puppy stage right into the golden years and everything else that comes in between. 

Hence if the thought of having a pet companion for a long period does not spark anxiousness in you, you can consider having a loyal companion.

Researching the Breed

Another tip to keep in mind is to do appropriate research on which breed you are planning to buy. The breed you are looking to buy should match your lifestyle as well as your surroundings or it might lead to extreme stress.

One must also consider the family structure and living arrangements and accordingly decide on a small or big breed and consequently the temperament of the breed in order to find the right fit and welcome the dog into the family without any anxiousness. 

Affordability

Dogs are very expensive, and this expenditure is a lifetime one which could possibly cause a financial strain in the long-term leading to anxiety. It begins at the initial adoption phase and goes on to vaccinations, deworming, feeding, and medication.

This expenditure particularly goes up as the dogs grow older and as medication and hospitalization becomes more expensive.  

Hence people must consider their financial standing before getting a dog to avoid anxiety related to finance in relation to their pets.

Time 

It is important to spend adequate time with your dog. Walking them, playing with them, cuddling, and most importantly training them. While on the other hand, it is also crucial to make time for veterinary appointments.

Before getting a dog, one must remember that dogs cannot be kept alone for too long as they may become aggressive and insecure leading to trust issues. 

Kid-Friendly 

An important tip to keep in mind before getting a dog is to understand if the children at home like the idea of having a dog. Often parents might want to surprise their children with the gift of a dog, however, it is important to see how the child reacts and interact with the dog to know if they are well suited for each other. 

Activity

Dogs have a lot of energy and need daily exercise. This means walking your dog in a local park or playing games in the backyard at least once a day. Some dogs require more exercise than others. This is very important when choosing a breed of dog.

 What are some other ways to manage anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques

 

Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.

Socialization

 

A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over one anxiety concern in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy

 

It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.

Medication

Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time

Conclusion 

Having a dog at home is like having a baby and bring up the baby into the world. Just as parents engage in several parenting plans and do research for their new-born, the same procedures need to be followed before getting a dog too to avoid future stress and anxiety.

The most important tip is to research and speak to other pet parents regarding their experiences. Once people who want to get dogs to get acquainted with these tips, management, and care becomes much easier and you can easily get into the process of welcoming your dog home without a sense of anxiety. 

Frequently asked questions: What are the tips to manage anxiety about getting a dog?

Is it normal to be nervous about getting a dog? 

It’s very normal for new adopters to panic before getting a dog. It is common among those getting a dog for the first time. However, pet owners must remember that it is only slightly difficult in the initial stages until you get into a routine, post which everything falls into place. 

What to consider when thinking about getting a dog?

 

Some things to consider before getting a dog are:

  • Is a dog the right pet for me or do I prefer another pet?
  • Does the whole family want a dog or is it just me?
  • Do I have enough time to spend with the dog? 
  • Can I provide for the dog with everything it needs? 
  • Do I have a suitable environment for the dog? 

How long do the puppy blues last?

Evidence indicates that puppy blues are very intense during the first three weeks following their onset. However, the symptoms may subside or become manageable within three months.

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/anxiety-triggers
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10634350/

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