Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Gus - The Dog With Anxiety

A tortured little soul.
This is probably the cutest tragedy of all: my family dog was recently diagnosed with anxiety by a behavioral specialist.

My family did not understand why Gus would get so irritable.  He's the sweetest thing around his family and friends, but then the vicious switch gets turned on around anyone or anything he doesn't know.  He barks at every stranger. He hates bicycles. He hates children.  Deer? Horrible.  And don't even get me started on squirrels.

We had to do something about it, so my mother took him to see a behavioral specialist.  Apparently, the reason he gets so upset is because he has high anxiety! (Welcome to the family, bud.)  

She recommended anti-anxiety medication.  My dad was skeptical, not wanting to fundamentally change his personality.  Me on anti-anxiety medication?  Fine.  But don't mess with a man's dog.

What the behavioral specialist reminded him was that it is not pleasant for Gus to have all these negative feelings.  He isn't barking and snarling out of happiness, but out of fear.  It is upsetting to Gus just as his behavior is upsetting to us.  

Dad gave in, and Gus has been put on anti-anxiety meds and things do seem to be improving, but now he sleeps all the time!  Sometimes he goes upstairs to take a nap in bed in the middle of the day.

What's nice is that he and I can take anti-anxiety-medication-induced-fatigue naps together.  It's a bonding experience.  Together we will get through this.




  1. I love this photo of Gus -- I'd heard he was a little intense! Now I get it!

    1. He is intense in only the best way. He's the perfect dog for our family. :)