Help for Your Anxious Dog: Tips and Techniques That Work

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How to Help Your Anxious Dog With Music

By Janice Jones     |Last Updated 06-14-2023

Buying a CD or downloading music to help an ANXIOUS dog might seem odd, but it’s not as far fetched as you might think.

We know that humans respond to music and research is now showing that music has a similar effect on dogs. 

How to Help Your Anxious Dog

Not all music is thesame, though and if you are looking for something to calm your anxious, hyper,or nervous canine, read on.

It would seem that slow, classical music is the bestway to reduce stress and eliminate the need to medicate your anxious dog.  And there is research to back up theclaim.  In studies done in manycountries, dogs who were in stressful situations such as shelters were noticeablysoothed when exposed to music.

But, music is only one way you can help your anxious dog.

Stressed Dogs

Our favorite small dogs might not ever have to endure the stress associated with shelters, but most must deal with more mundane stress such as thunderstorms, fireworks, relocation, even car trips and household visitors.  All of these events that seem commonplace to us put additional stress on our dogs. 

I dread thunderstorms.  Not because I’m afraid of them or the damagethey can do, but because my little 8 pound Shih Tzu is terrified.  Itdoesn’t matter if the storm is miles away or right over head, Zoeystarts to shake the minute the clouds roll in. In my neck of the woods, it rains a lot and summers are always prime time for bad storms.

When dogs are frazzled they will react inpredictable ways:  barking, whining,pacing, drooling, spinning, tail chasing, destructive chewing, digging, and thelist goes on and on.

Owners have hunted for remedies for their dog’s anxietywhether it’s because of separation anxiety or other events such as thunderstorms phobia that cause distress.

Signs of Stress in Dogs

According to Dr Becker, from, there are at least 10 behaviors that dogs exhibit when they are feeling stress.

1. Nose/lip licking
2. Yawning
3. Panting
4. Reduced or absent appetite
5. Diarrhea
6. Tail lowered or tucked
7. Ears pulled or pinned back
8. Cowering/crouched body posture and/or hiding
9. Trembling/shaking
10. Increased vocalizations — whining, howling or barking

These behaviors can show their ugly heads when there is a situation that causes immediate stress such as a thunderstorm, fireworks, visit to the vet or something else that the dog finds stressful, such as the owner leaving for work.

Chronic stress occurs when a dog has been in a situation such as a shelter that puts a dog at risk for physiological problems. Chronic stress is hard on dogs as well as people.  It hastens the aging process, contributes to depression and chronic anxiety and even increases the risk of disease by depressing the immune system.  

Anxious Dogs are Stressed

Whatever is causing the stress in you dog, the bottom line is that they are going to show some form of anxiety.  This is called many things such as separation anxiety, thunderstorm phobia, or compulsive disorders.

How to Relieve Your Dog’s Stress


Calming music is one way to help an anxious dog relax.  There are many others.  In one study, Dr. Stanley Cohen reported on research done in Italy on Shelter Dogs that had been living in those conditions for 2 to 3 years.  The results showed that a daily walk significantly helped reduce the stress in these dogs.  So, simply taking a walk with your anxious dog may help reduce his stress level.

Pheromone Sprays, Candles, Tight Fitting Clothes

Walking is a relatively free cure but if that does not work, there are many forms of medications and treatments on the market that might help. From tight fitting shirts, to pheromone releasing sprays and collars, to treats that contain chamomile, the market has responded to the problem with almost too many choices.

The real problem is that there is not a perfect solution that fits every dog.  Some cures work better than others and what works for one dog may not work for another.

Thundershirt for Reducing Stress

The theory behind the Thundershirt is that it applies gentle but constant pressure on the dog to relieve stress and calms the dog while reducing fear.

Solo piano music seems to have acalming effect on dogs.

Less complex arrangements worked better on anxious dogs to calm them down.

Other research has shown that loweroctave sounds relax dogs more than music with higher notes. 

This is really good news for theaverage pet owner who wants to meet not only the physical but the emotional needsof their little one. I am no scientist, but I have dogs and when you get a lotof dogs together, you get barking.  I’vetried several CDs and am convinced that this stuff is real. 

I always loved classical music and playif for the dogs occasionally even when it is not raining.  As youmight expect, the slower, calmer music had an effect on them. 

The trouble is that most of the CDS availablehave both calming and stimulating music back to back.  Then I found the music specifically arrangedfor calming dogs.  Yes, my 16 dogs stillbark, but the frequency and duration of their barks are much reduced when Iplay the music specially arranged for their ears.

As I wrote this article over severaldays, I played a variety of different types of music, including some of the CDsthat are mentioned below.  It was amazinghow well the dogs seemed to settle and nap. There was only one problem; can you guess what it was?

I got very relaxed too. 
Relaxation: Not such a bad thing at all!!

For more information on research done, check out thewebsite,

Through a Dog’s Ear

If you want to give it a try, the following CD/Musicdownloads are all available through Amazon.

Ways to Help Your Stressed Dog at Small Dog Place

Further Reading

Here are a couple more pages that you might find useful:

Small Dog Syndrome

Dog Barking Problems

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

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