Dogs often experience anxiety as a result of fear. While many of the things that dog's tend to fear are not actually worthy of their worries, a perceived threat is a threat nonetheless. So in order to help your dog be less anxious, you have to work on eliminating the dog's fear, first. For example, when I first got my dog, he was spooked by the TV. The noises and voices confused him and he'd bark anxiously every time I turned the TV on. After many months of giving him treats and reassuring pats on the back during TV time, he finally realized that whatever is going on with the TV won't affect him. But in other instances, my dog's anxiety is a lot harder to challenge with exposure therapy. For example, ever since my dog was a puppy, he's suffered with separation anxiety. Now that we've been living together for 10 years, you'd think he'd understand that when I leave, I always come back.
Alas, with dogs, certain fears and deeply embedded into their psyche. So, in situations that are hard to avoid or repair, like leaving a dog alone, or dealing with an upset dog during a thunderstorm, there are certain activities, products and methods you can do to reduce the amount and extent of anxiety they experience. Here I've put together a list of some of the top ways to help your dog feel less anxious. Combine them all together or test them out one-by-one to see which your dog responds to the best. For me, turning on some calming music and giving my dog some puzzle treats helps him to stay calm when I leave him alone. It might take a lot of trial and error, but staying calm, keeping your dog exercised and making a ritual out of these methods will help to minimize your dog's irrational fears.