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When you see your australian shepherd is anxious, not only is it concerning, but it’s also saddening to see them feeling this way. While sometimes it can be a simple fix, unfortunately, other times it’s much more challenging.
Why Is My Australian Shepherd Anxious:
Australian shepherds feel anxious when they’ve gone through a big life change. This can be moving into a new home, a loved one passing away, or a change in their daily schedule or routine. Other reasons are pent up energy and picking up on their owners emotions.
In this post you’ll discover:
- 11 real reasons why your australian shepherd might be anxious
- When your aussies anxiety is something to worry about
- 5 tips to help your australian shepherd overcome their anxious feelings (Tip #4 can help the quickest!)
- And much more
Let’s jump right in.
Table of Contents
11 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Get Overly Anxious
1) Problems Being Separated From You
One of the most severe forms of anxiety that australian shepherds experience is separation anxiety.
This happens when an aussie becomes overly attached to their owner and experiences extreme distress when they’re not around.
Some common signs of separation anxiety include: excessive barking, shaking/shivering, whining, salivating, urinating or defecating in the house, and destructive behavior.
If your neighbors have told you that your aussie isn’t able to calm down when you’re away or if you’re noticing them shaking when you come home, they likely have high levels of anxiety.
Related Reading: 7 Ways To Eliminate Your Dogs Anxiety, Shyness Or Fear
2) Sudden Change To Their Schedule
Another big trigger for anxiety in australian shepherds is a sudden change to their schedule.
This could be anything from you working late one night, working more often in general lately, or going away on vacation.
If there’s a significant change in the amount of time you’re spending with your aussie or when you’re interacting with them, it can cause them to feel anxious and stressed.
Australian shepherds are at their best when they have structure and routine.
And when this suddenly changes, it turns their world upside down and can make them feel quite anxious.
Related Reading: Are Australian Shepherds High Maintenance? (Explained!)
3) A Loved One Passing Away
Whether it’s their canine brother/sister or a person in your family recently passed away, this terribly upsetting event can cause your australian shepherd to feel anxious.
Just like people, your aussie is capable of mourning the loss of a loved one and can start experiencing anxiety in their absence.
They may also develop anxiety if they see you grieving and don’t understand what’s going on.
In either case, it’s important to be patient with your aussie and provide them with plenty of love and support.
Related Reading: 7 Indicators Your Australian Shepherd Is Depressed + Tips
4) New Home
If you’ve recently moved to a new home, your australian shepherd may start feeling anxious.
This is because they’re not used to their surroundings and everything is new to them – from the smells in the air, their daily living environment to the people/dogs they interact with on their walks.
It can take some time for an aussie to adjust to a new home environment, so be patient and give them plenty of time to explore their surroundings.
In the meantime, make sure they have a safe place in your home where they can retreat to when things get too overwhelming.
This could be their bed, crate or a designated corner in a room that’s just for them.
It’s also helpful to get them on a new routine as quickly as possible.
Related Reading: Top 8 Best Beds For Australian Shepherds
5) New Person Living With You Full Time
If you’ve recently had a baby, or someone has moved in with you, your australian shepherd may start feeling anxious.
This is because they’re not used to having someone new in their home and it can be overwhelming for them.
It indirectly changes their home environment and this change can be hard for them to accept/embrace.
It can especially make your aussie feel anxious if they stop getting the same amount of attention from you since this new person started living with you.
Related Reading: 5 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Get Jealous + 4 Tips
6) Picking Up On Your Emotions
Did you know that dogs can actually smell your emotions?
Sounds crazy, but there’ve been studies that prove a dog can smell whether a person is feeling happy or sad.
Also, your australian shepherd can pick up on your facial expressions, body language and tone of voice to gauge how they should feel themselves.
This is because they see you as the leader of their pack and if you’re feeling upset/anxious about something, they’ll trust your judgment and replicate those feelings for themself.
If you’re going through a stressful period in your work or social life, your aussie might be picking up on how you’re feeling.
Once things return back to normal and you’re feeling your joyful self again your pup should perk back up as well.
7) Unintentionally Trained Behavior
Did you know that you could be unintentionally training your australian shepherd to be anxious?
If when your aussie acts anxious you give them treats, toys or attention to make them feel better, it’ll only make them want to behave that way more often.
While you don’t want to neglect them when they’re feeling anxious, it’s important to find the root cause to treat their anxious behavior instead of catering to it.
This way, you can help them overcome their anxiety and not just hide it.
8) Someone Is Mistreating Them
Sometimes someone in your home may be mistreating your pup without you being fully aware of it.
And odds are the person doing it doesn’t know they’re causing harm to your aussie.
They might think they’re just playing or treating them how anyone else would treat their dog.
If you have any young kids who might be a little too rough with your pup or someone who’s a little more on the aggressive side when handling your pup, keep an eye out.
If you’re able to see them mistreating your australian shepherd (knowingly or unknowingly) you can help put a stop to it which should help their anxiety.
9) Still a Youngin’
Just like humans, dogs can go through anxiety during different stages in their life.
Aussies are more likely to feel anxious as puppies.
Puppyhood is a time of big changes for them – they’re adjusting to being a part of a new family, learning how to behave appropriately and exploring their surroundings.
All of these changes can be really overwhelming for them and cause them to feel anxious.
While there’s not much you can do to change these stages in their life, being patient and understanding with them will go a long way.
You can also help socialize your young australian shepherd by taking them to puppy classes, dog parks or doggy playdates.
This’ll help get them used to being around other people and animals which can make them feel more confident and less anxious.
Related Reading: 11 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Are So Hyper + 5 Tips
10) They’re Afraid Of Something
Australian shepherds can have fears and phobias of different things.
Some common fears/phobias in dogs are: loud noises (thunderstorms, fireworks), being left alone, people they don’t know, other animals, new environments.
If you notice your aussie is particularly scared of something, like going on walks in certain areas or being in the car, it might be helpful to consult with a professional dog behaviorist or trainer.
They can help you understand what might be going on and give you some tips on how to help your australian shepherd feel less anxious in those situations.
Related Reading: 8 Reasons Your Australian Shepherd Is Scared Of Everything
11) Feeling Neglected
It’s not uncommon for australian shepherds to feel anxious when their owners are too busy or just don’t have enough time for them.
If your aussie isn’t getting the amount of exercise they need, it can lead to pent-up energy and anxiety.
The same goes for attention.
If they’re not getting the love and attention they need from you on a regular basis, it can make them feel neglected which can lead to anxiety.
5 Tips To Help Calm Your Australian Shepherds Anxiety
1) An Owner’s Touch
Physical contact can do wonders for your australian shepherd’s anxiety.
Not only has physical contact between a dog and their owner been proven to release oxytocin and serotonin, but it also reduces cortisol!
The first two are happiness hormones that facilitate feelings of love and joy, and cortisol is the stress hormone.
Which means the less they have in their system, the less stressed out/anxious your australian shepherd will be.
It sounds too simple, but an owner’s touch can really help when your aussie needs help calming down.
Whether it’s cuddle time, some loving pats, or a good belly scratch.
2) More Exercise
If your australian shepherd isn’t getting enough exercise, it can lead to pent-up energy and anxiety.
A good rule of thumb is that your aussie should be getting at least 60 minutes to an hour of exercise every day.
This can be in the form of walks, runs, hikes, swimming, playing fetch or tug-of-war.
The more active they are, the less anxious and stressed they’ll be.
They’ll be more interested in resting because they’re tired from their physical activity rather than focusing on what’s making them anxious.
Related Reading: 12 Best Harnesses for Australian Shepherds
3) Help Them Overcome It
If your australian shepherd is afraid of something, or gets stressed out from the same situation(s), you can help them overcome it.
This might mean taking them to a training class to help desensitize them to their fear or phobia.
It could also mean slowly introducing them to the thing they’re scared of/worried about in a controlled environment.
For example, if your aussie is scared of loud noises, start by playing some calm music and have them stay near you.
Slowly increase the volume of the music as they get more comfortable.
The key is to be patient and take things slow.
You don’t want to rush them through their fear or it could cause even more anxiety.
There are some products on the market that can help your australian shepherd with their anxiety.
One of the most popular is the thundershirt.
It’s a shirt that puts gentle pressure around their body which has a calming effect for some dogs.
You can also try using music to calm your aussie down.
There is a lot of calming music specifically designed for dogs.
Or you could try leaving a piece of clothing that smells like you with them to cuddle with.
While these things can help with your aussies anxiety, it’s important to note that they’re just band-aids.
They should only be used as temporary solutions to help while you try to find the root cause behind their anxious behavior.
5) Have a Professional Look At Them
Whenever your australian shepherd is behaving out of the ordinary it’s never a bad idea to have a vet look at them.
And if your vet says there’s nothing wrong with their health, you can then speak with a behaviorist to help you resolve their strong negative feelings.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find your pup’s trigger and know how to help them overcome it on your own.
Which is why speaking with a professional can be very beneficial.
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