It’s unsettling for any owner to watch their poodle shake and tremble with nerves. Naturally, we want to know why this happens and if there’s anything we can do to help. This article has everything you need to know.
Six main reasons why poodles shake include:
- Anticipating daily events
- Getting nervous in her environment
- Getting anxious when left home alone often
- Dealing with bad experiences from her past
- Nervous or anxious around people or other dogs
- Underlying Health Concerns
These will all be explained below as well as ways to help reduce the shaking and nerves in general.
6 Reasons Why Poodles Shake & Get Nervous
Let’s run through all the reasons why your Poodle could be shaking, trembling, or shivering with nerves. Some of the reasons may instantly stand out to you, so you’ll know what to focus on first.
1. Anticipating daily events
This is the one we all know about, shaking in anticipation of something, or when waiting for you to do something. Dogs of all breeds do this and it’s very normal.
As mealtime approaches, or it’s nearly time to go out for her daily walk, the shivering and trembling starts.
An innocent mix of excitement and nervousness creates a tense moment between when she knows something is nearly coming, but it’s not quite happened yet.
Whenever you witness your Poodle shaking or trembling, have a think about the time and what usually happens. Maybe it’s 10 minutes to her mealtime, maybe your partner arrives home from work in 5 minutes, or it could be that she needs to go out for a potty break!
2. Getting nervous in her environment
Dogs are very sensitive to their environment and can be spooked easily.
Loud noises, unfamiliar smells, building works, people walking by, vehicle traffic, new neighbors, new pets… Many things can unsettle your Poodle that we may not be aware of.
You have to remember that your poodle’s sense of smell can be up to 100,000 times better than yours, and their hearing is also better. Their heightened senses pick up what’s happening in your entire neighborhood and depending on what it is, can be quite unsettling.
3. Getting anxious when left home alone often
Poodles, just like most breeds, don’t do very well when left home alone. This is becoming an increasing problem as our lives keep getting busier.
It’s more than possible your Poodle starts shaking and shivering as you get ready to go for work. Patterns emerge and she knows exactly what it means when you put your shoes on and pick up your keys. This can be just one of many triggers for her anxiety.
OR, another plausible reason is shaking when you come back. If you often leave your Poodle home alone, this alone can create anxiety and stress. If she gets left alone too much, it can affect her behavior even when you are at home.
Stress and anxiety are just a couple of the negative health issues caused by being left home alone too much, too often.
4. Dealing with bad experiences from her past
If your Poodle was from a breeder, this likely won’t be an issue for you. But if you rescued your Poodle from an animal shelter or foundation, this could be the cause.
Bad experiences include everything from abuse, severe punishment, abandonment, neglect with previous owners, or even from being in the shelter itself.
These kinds of experiences can seriously alter a dog’s personality and behavior for many years.
While previous experiences are completely out of your control, there are ways you can nurture your Poodle back to a more stable state. This will be covered below.
5. Nervous or anxious around people or other dogs
If your Poodle wasn’t properly socialized or introduced to a range of other people or dogs throughout puppyhood, it’s possible she gets nervous around anyone but her owner.
The amount of interaction a puppy receives from other people and dogs when they are young is important. In general, puppies who are exposed to new people, new pups, new smells, and environments will often grow up to be friendlier, calmer, and well-behaved dogs.
Without this exposure, your Poodle’s natural response is to become overly suspicious, nervous, and anxious.
If your Poodle seems to be fairly aloof, this may suggest a lack of socialization to be the cause.
6. Underlying Health Concerns
In unfortunate cases, your Poodle’s shaking and nerves may be caused by an underlying health concern.
Constant trembling could be related to chronic pain or disease.
This is very hard to diagnose, and the only way to know is by having a full health check-up with your veterinarian.
If you see other accompanying symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, food refusal, or severe behavior changes, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your vet.
If you are ever unsure, it’s always best to play it safe and speak to your local veterinarian. It’s never “too early” to speak to a vet.
This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag: www.thepuppymag.com
Reducing Your Poodle’s Nerves: The Most Important Principle
Shaking, trembling, or shivering, whichever word is preferred, is caused by nerves.
Before moving on to direct solutions related to each cause, this next principle is perhaps the most important.
⭐ It’s crucial to stop reinforcing the nerves and anxious behavior. This surprises many people, but when we respond directly to the nerves and displays of anxiety with comfort and reassurance, it actually reinforces it.
⭐ Probably one of the worst things you can do is react by giving your Poodle too much reassurance. Believe it or not, this kind of reaction actually validates her nerves and anxiousness in the first place.
Dogs typically see this response as a positive response to their previous actions, which therefore reinforces it for the future.
So what should you do? The best way to approach her nerves and anxiety is to distract her from it. Use games and her toys to distract her attention away from whatever is causing the nerves.
Other than that, it’s advised to just remain calm, and don’t directly speak to her as if you are addressing her nerves. Give her space and time to adjust.
This is particularly true if she’s dealing with previous bad experiences. For dogs who have suffered abusive pasts, simply having a warm place to live with kind owners, a bed, toys, food, and water is a world of difference. Sometimes she will just need time.
Reducing Your Poodle’s Nerves: Addressing The Cause
The next step in reducing your Poodle’s shaking and nervousness is to address what’s causing it.
Everyone’s situation will be different, and hopefully from reading the causes above you have an inkling into what may be behind it.
1. Addressing her environment
Some environmental issues will only be helped with time. This may be the case if you’ve just moved into a new house, or you’ve got new neighbors.
If you live by a busy road, or close to where people walk by, try keeping your Poodle away from those rooms. Spend more time with her where there are fewer outside distractions and noises.
Even small changes like keeping specific windows shut should help reduce noise levels significantly.
You can also increase the number of walks you take her on. Aside from her regular exercise, go for more walks (on the leash) around your neighborhood. This will give your Poodle a chance to experience the sounds and smells and will make her more aware of her own surroundings. She’ll gradually feel more comfortable when she hears and smells the same sounds from within the house.
2. Reduce how much time she spends alone
If your current routine involves leaving your Poodle home alone for more than 3-4 hours, it’s advised to call in some help.
For us, 3-4 hours isn’t that long and with college or work, we can easily be out of the house for several hours at a time. Unfortunately, this is far too long for your Poodle. Even if she seems fine, she likely isn’t.
The first step would be to ask friends and family to come round and sit with her for 30 or 40 minutes throughout the day, to break up the time spent alone.
If this isn’t an option, you can hire a dog sitter or dog walker to come round every day and take care of her for however long you agree. As this is such a common problem nowadays, dog sitting has become a very well-known service, and you can find reputable companies online with a simple Google search.
The overall health benefits for your Poodle will be staggering and you’ll stop her from developing anxiety and nervousness in all aspects of her life.
3. Begin socializing her more
If your Poodle seems to get anxious around other people and other dogs, it’s time to start socializing her more. And in fact, the benefits of meeting new dogs and people are so great, it’s advised to do this anyway!
Whether it’s taking her around a friend’s house, going to the dog park more often, or visiting doggy play centers that are dedicated to socializing. It ALL counts.
Even if she’s afraid in the beginning, it’s important to work past it to where she enjoys it. And before long, she will. Dogs are social animals and crave interaction from both other canines and us.
Constantly being exposed to new people and dogs will provide unrivaled mental stimulation and will use a tonne of mental energy. An amazing result of this will be a more chilled and relaxed demeanor when she’s at home. Plus she’ll feel happier and more content in general.
The Importance Of Exercise
Exercise both physically and mentally is crucial. A well-exercised dog will feel more content, satisfied with their life, and more relaxed in general. Pent-up energy can directly cause nervousness and anxiety.
Poodles have a lot of energy and as a breed, need around 1-2 hours of exercise per day. Toy Poodles require less than this, but for Miniature and Standard Poodles 1-2 hours is ideal.
Ensure your Poodle is receiving enough mental stimulation too. This can come in the form of regular command training, playing with interactive puzzle toys, and frequently socializing with other dogs.
Exercise is fundamental to mental health, just as much as it is physical health. So if your current routine isn’t sufficient enough, adjust this as soon as possible and your Poodle’s well-being will improve.