My gorgeous Shih Tzu (approx 4 years) joined me about 7 weeks ago.
He has some quirks most I believe lead back to anxiety (some are obviously anxiety).
Now as far as I am aware dogs are very simple minded and thus I believe the way I act around him will impact the way he responds so this is more me asking for your advice on how I should respond, what should I do etc... I've read some conflicting information online so anything to back up your working methods would be so appreciated, and little details like how long do you take a certain action for, how many times a day, when did you see a change that sort of thing
So here we go
Fireworks & Loud Noises
There seems to be at least 1 loud bang where I live every night and I have the unfortunate situation of having a severely poorly sound proofed apartment (windows shake, thin) so with that regardless of where I put him the noise is almost equally as loud in each room.
Now, up to about last week he would run around at every loud bang, if we were outside he would be skittish running one way and not the other. I've tried to avoid taking him out late at night but its not always possible especially since we are in 90 degree weather here during the day.
Anyway, two days ago another bunch of fireworks... he runs around but I managed to guide him to his crate where he sat upright clearly not relaxing but he was at least in his crate (his crate is a soft travel crate and is never closed). I sat on a cushion next to his crate, he can't see me but I'm sure he can smell me there. Question: Was I wrong to stay there with him?
Yesterday, I bought him a thunder vest... it seemed to make him sleepy either that or it was a coincidence.
Once again, around 6pm a bang and set of fireworks go on (anyone would think I lived in Disneyland!)
So he gets up to run away, but this time he went into his crate and immediately laid down. Judging by his feet he seemed a little better than the times before.
And again I sat next to his crate but this time after looking at him lying down I went into bathroom then proceeded to my bedroom (very small apartment) and I left my bedroom door open.
After maybe 5-10 minutes he came into my bedroom, I popped him on my bed and he fell asleep.
Now today, 3pm broad daylight another bunch of fireworks go off... can't see the benefits in that but since I wasn't expecting it I hate to admit it but I think I panicked a tiny bit, because he didn't have his calming vest on and I was trying to think quickly about how to respond... all of which I did in the wrong manner I'm aware.
So, I would love to know what you do to lower your pups anxiety with loud noises?
I should add in we went to a fantastic trainer who gave good tips but with the noises going on every day and at all times of the day its hard to use those methods to relax him.
There are other things like growling at other dogs, people, launching forward on his leash... I would imagine this all stems from his stress and if I can somehow lower that I'll help the rest?
I would like to add in about separation anxiety, if I leave I have my mom watch him via FaceTime, he supposedly lies by the door but doesn't cry. When I come back he scratches at the door and cries. I'm only heading out for 20 mins to 1 hour but I really want to get him used to longer periods to avoid any issues once quarantine etc is lifted.
I have purchased a slip knot leash as well which was advised by the trainer.
Sorry this was long but I would love your input!