Dear Pet Expert,
I am 6 months pregnant and before I even knew, my dog (shih-tzu) started acting up. She is always panting and running back and forth and does not relax. She just want to be outside all the time.
Is there anything we can do to make her more comfortable in our home?
Congratulations! It is funny how we often think our dogs and kids do things because of something we have done. I think this is Mommy Syndrome! It is true that your dog may sense changes with you but it is also likely that patterns and other things have changed as well. Even subtle things like routines, naps, walks, etc. Often posture changes in Moms can lead to a dog being a bit uncertain about what is going on.
You mentioned that she wants to be outside and runs back and forth panting. Think about what has changed in the neighborhood. New dogs, kids going to school... Often these things will cause some changes in behavior. The other factor is to rule out any medical causes for these symptoms, anxiety or other types of issues.
Once a medical condition is ruled out, here are some ways to address her behavior:
I hope that some of this is helpful and I wish you luck on the final stretch of your pregnancy!
Jennifer Shryock, creator of Dogs & Storks™ DVD and national program, is a stay-at-home Mother of four and a certified dog behavior consultant, specializing in safe Kid and K9 interaction. Believing the relationship between dogs and their family is precious, Jennifer created her business, Family Paws to offer opportunities to families to enhance their relationship with their dog/s. Jennifer uses only positive dog and kid friendly techniques that anyone can perform in their own home. Jennifer's combination of passion and experience as a parent, special education teacher and certified dog behavior consultant allows her to connect and support families in a unique way.
Jennifer is certified through the International association of animal behavior consultants, and maintains professional membership with Association of pet dog trainers. Jennifer is also the U.S. rep for Doggone safe, a non profit organization dedicated to dog safety. Jennifer has been featured in such publications as the Wall Street Journal and Dog fancy as well as been a popular guest various radio programs.
Jennifer and family share their home with 4 rescued dogs. Carin mal/shep mix, Bailey, siberian husky, Duke, German shepherd, Windsor, pit bull and 5 cats.