Lark still has a lot of anxiety. It has gotten worse since we moved to the new house. I’m not sure if she doesn’t like the new yard, or if it’s just the bad timing that our move coincided with it getting colder out. Where she used to spend as much time as possible outside, now she starts shaking when she thinks she’ll have to go out, and only wants to be in the house. She has two safe spots in our house – my bed and her crate. She spends a lot of time in those two places, but will also lay on my lap if I’m at the kitchen table or on the couch. Once everyone has gone to bed and the house is quiet, she comes out to play, racing up and down the stairs and chasing Annie around. I was less than thrilled with this night owl behavior.
At the last adoption event I was talking with a foster mom who also has a dog with a lot of anxiety. I asked if there was anything I could do to help Lark and she recommended exercise. We tried taking the dogs for a walk at our old house, but that street was way too busy for Lark. She wouldn’t move an inch. But! The new neighborhood is super quiet. Very few cars parked on the street, very few cars on the road, and a nice little loop for us to walk.
We tried our first walk last week and Lark did great! While she looked a little frantic, her ears were up. She got nervous a few times, but with a little encouragement kept on going. Even better, she went to sleep when the rest of us did, and didn’t keep me up until 1am! Success. I have made sure both dogs get walked every day since. She definitely keeps tabs on me throughout the walk, but her ears are always up (rather than pinned back), so I think she enjoys it. She knows the route now, so is a little more comfortable. The consistent walks have helped Annie too. She’s a lot more active outside now, and seems happier. At some point, there will likely be too much snow or it will be too cold, but until then – walks every day!