How do I calm my rat terrier's anxiety?

I just adopted a five year old rat terrier who instantly bonded with me and is great but he constantly circles the floor with anxiety. I have tried calming him and soothing him and after a few minutes he calms down but then reverts right back to his anxiety circles. Any ideas on what I can do to help ease his anxiety?
From my understanding I am the third owner and his first was abusive. He is not yet neutered. I just want to assure him I will not put him in danger.

Asked by Member 1157128 on Feb 26th 2013 in Behavior & Training
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It is so difficult to watch the dog you love go through this. I know - I adopted 2 dogs that came from a hoarder situation, and one of them had been severely abused (broken jaw that was never tended to). Needless to say, the two of them were very anxious and high strung.

The truth is, the best thing to do is nothing. By trying to soothe the dog, you confirm to him that there is indeed something to be anxious about. If you let him be, he will come to realize that there is nothing to fear. It takes time, and it's hard to watch, but it will get better.

In the 2 months that I've had my babies, they have gone from running away from me every time I approached them and spending 95% of their time curled up together in their crate, to sleeping with me every night. I also worked with them by showering them with treats any time something that might be considered stressful came their way - visitors, noises, etc. It helps them to realize that good things happen when these events occur.

Rusty answered on 2/27/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Teaching your dogs some tricks will help. Teach him to stay. So if he starts to circle you, make him sit a few feet away from you for awhile.

Member 1157258 answered on 2/27/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer