Dog to help anxiety

(13 Posts)
Pullyers Mon 22-Jul-19 16:38:47

Hi,

Does anyone have any experience of getting a dog to help with anxiety? I have anxiety and ptsd. I don't work and have plenty of time. I have read a lot to say it could be very helpful - I want to get out and exercise but lack motivation, I love walking with a dog as I have much more confidence. Just thinking about this and am in no way going to go and get a dog, just wondering about this and hoped some may have experience. Thanks!

OP’s posts: |
MoaningMinniee Mon 22-Jul-19 16:44:48

There's plenty of evidence that having a friendly dog in your life is brilliant for your mental health.

All dogs are different, I walk a great many every day as a professional dog walker. Some I would love to take home with me - others (the ones we call the ASBO squad!) are actually quite stressful to walk as they are boisterous and unpredictable.

Why not do some volunteer dog walking with The Cinnamon Trust to see how it pans out? Or maybe foster a dog? Putting my other hat on as someone who helps with a rescue, we are always interested in kind people who can offer a dog a temporary home and care while we sort out a forever home.

Pullyers Mon 22-Jul-19 16:48:10

Thank you! Yes, this is what I have been doing, walking for a local charity but it's not the same as having a dog so when I wake feeling anxious it's hard to get up dressed and drive to then walk dog but it's good as it's shown me I really enjoy walking a dog and those times of companionship.

OP’s posts: |
Walney Mon 22-Jul-19 17:10:38

Are there any breeds that you enjoy walking more than others? Its also important to have a dog that will relax at home so as not to cause stress. I find that greyhounds are brilliant for this as they love a walk but at home are complete couch potatoes.

We have a basset hound who is very gentle and lovely, we are going to try and get her recognised as a Pets as Therapy dog she is so great. However as much as I love her and the breed, they are very stubborn and will 'flat basset' and refuse to move on walks.

I had terrible anxiety before getting my dog and simple things like leaving the house was very hard, but having a dog that needs walking has helped me more than I ever thought possible. Its also great for meeting new people as dog owners love to chat about their dogs.

As a PP has said, fostering sounds ideal for you as there are lots of dogs needing temporary homes.

Pullyers Mon 22-Jul-19 17:14:05

Thanks so much and glad to hear it has helped your anxiety. I was also thinking a dog may be a good focus and help with intrusive negative thoughts too. I enjoy walking the labrador type dogs. They have very expressive eyes and I don't worry about them breaking a leg (like the italian greyhound type cross!). I suppose the dogs are like best are labs and goldens but I like all dogs and bassetts are beautiful too! But the ones I've seen have been very noisy and smelly! Although I guess most dogs get a bit whiffy! Thanks again.

OP’s posts: |
IlluminatiParty Mon 22-Jul-19 17:18:45

It sounds like you have experience to build on which is great. I'd recommend getting an adult rescue with a known temperament not a puppy as puppies are a huge amount of work and can be stressful to train, they are like newborn babies needing 24/7 care. I agree rescue greyhounds like a good walk but are very laid back.

Pullyers Mon 22-Jul-19 17:20:47

Thanks! My only problem is I have 3 cats and I'm worried about greyhounds because aren't they bred to chase small animals??

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IamtheOA Mon 22-Jul-19 17:23:02

Some greyhounds are cat friendly. The Dogs Trust often cat check their dogs

Pullyers Mon 22-Jul-19 17:23:21

Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
Walney Mon 22-Jul-19 19:49:10

Rescue lurchers could also be a safe bet, my parents in law have a whippet and a lurcher who live with a cat, so they can be fine with cats.

Bassets can be noisy but we have trained ours not to be as we knew that would be an issue, think I'm nose blind as I don't think mine has a strong smell.

Good luck with your search!

stucknoue Mon 22-Jul-19 19:54:19

Dogs can be excellent for this, I advise an older dog because puppies are really stressful! There's charities that specifically rehome dogs with people in your situation but your local rescue is a good option too. My collie is amazing with my asd dd, he gets her.

RedHelenB Tue 23-Jul-19 08:41:16

I feel more anxious walking with a dog in all honesty due to other dogs/ him wanting to jump up at people etc. Wouldn't change having him but I think you will have more comments from other people when you're with a dog.than without.

Piffyonarockbun Fri 26-Jul-19 17:02:54

I have had dogs (and ptsd) and i struggle to leave the house some days. Unfortunately for me on the days when i absolutely couldnt get out it just gave me another stick to beat myself with that i was neglecting the dog too.
I had 2 dogs of a high maintenance anxious breed who would bark at other dogs and it was quite stressful taking them out. I would feel quite housebound at times i thought would be busy. I now have a much lower maintenance breed. A small fluffy thing and it is less stressful but i get a lot more people approaching me. Luckily he is totally unbothered and doesnt add to my stress. Id say a low maintenance or small breed might be better than a lab type if youre going for a puppy. Owning a lab can be stressful until they are trained.

Id just say that it can sound like the dream solution to have something that would 'force' you to get out. But its not all that. What it means is that you have something depending on you and when you cant get out and do what needs to be done it just makes you feel 100 times worse than when its just you. Tbh i find the thing for me that gets me out and keeps me functioning is my job. When im feeling good a dog is brilliant but when im struggling it doesnt always help. Im not saying dont get a dog but im saying it might be best to think about the downsides too and maybe make sure you have a dogwalker arranged for the days when its too much (thats how i managed with my neurotic ones).

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