I was recently asked what a person or family could do to help their dog who had been through a natural disaster -(fire, flood, earthquake, etc.) get over their being anxious and fearful.
I think they were a bit taken back by my response but they have happily reported that the dog is back to his happy, outgoing self and is actually helping those they meet to feel better too!
What was my response?
1. Be calm, stop dwelling on the bad, focus on the good that came out of the disaster – After a little thought, they told me ” they all got out alive, they had somewhere to go, they actually were able to help others find shelter, or get help, etc.”
2.Don’t feel sorry for yourself or your dog. Don’t feed into the anxiety, sounds silly maybe but – Be happy! Their anxiety and fears had been picked up on by their dog. He was mirroring their emotions.
3. Help someone else, even if that help is only a smle or hug or kind word. When they began to stop thinking of all the bad and focused on the good and how they could help others, the dog began to actually act joyful! , playful and was drawn to others who were in need of cheering up! They are talking about having the dog go through therapy dog training! Yes, a dog that was as freaked out as they were, now calm and happy and desirous of helping others (people and other pets) smile.
Animals are resiliant and much, much more tuned into us and our emotions than we may want to admit.
You may be interested in reading this article for more about how dogs share our emotions HERE
Note: these articles are not dealing with phobias and fears that may have been brought about by the dog’s upbringing or lack there of or the mishandling of the dog being stressed out and frightened in a major way at one point in time that left him/her with anxiety and fears. You can find help in helping dogs recover from phobia’s/fears in articles I have written about phobia/fears.