My dog Nemo had really bad adoption anxiety. Here's how we dealt with it


I know it’s homeopathy, and might be bunk


At least with humans, there could be a placebo effect - but you’re not going to see that with dogs, lacking any concept of “medicine” in the first place.


You put so much love, time and effort in. I think that was the ultimate “cure”.


Since the “experiment” isn’t blinded, the placebo effect would still be with the owner, who would be interpreting the results.


Agreed on love, time, and effort. And booze. Rescue Remedy is 27% alcohol.


Exactly. Confirmation bias is really, really hard to eradicate, which is why even scientists who are sure that they are impartial still know that it’s best to do double-blind tests.

In this case, there could also be elements of ritual, as Jason says, or even the dog sensing that the owner is calmed by the ritual, or all sorts of other causes.

(Edit: and perhaps booze, as @JonathanR says.)


I am an attorney who practices in the area of FDA regulatory law and I regularly review homeopathic labeling for clients.

I felt compelled to add to the voices objecting to the inclusion of an homeopathic water as a treatment for any person or animal in distress.

There is no “might” about it. Homeopathic treatment is, at best, a rip off and at worst, deadly.

Typically the effect is that by the time someone is in a bad enough situation to get off their butts and buy a “remedy” they are about to turn the corner anyway. If there was any effect here, it was 1) just such an effect, or 2) a placebo on your your perception of the severity of the issue, or 3) both.

You are writing for BoingBoing so I am going to assume you have a brain. Use it. Do the research. Math works. Science works. Homeopathy doesn’t.


Kennel training needs to be consistent for it to be effective. Letting the dog sleep wherever it wants during the day, but locking it up at night only teaches the dog that the kennel is “different” and possibly a punishment. It can also help keep them calm when traveling since they still have a piece of home to sleep in.

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The Bach Flower Remedies aren’t even really homeopathy-- Dr. Bach felt the vibrations of the flowers in his hand, and decided what they did based on color and vibration. Only then, did he dilute them. Yes-- that mystical.

However, there is an active ingredient that the flower extracts are preserved in-- brandy. Which is probably what helped the poor pup sleep.


Though, wouldn’t it be kind of ridiculous to crate an animal for 17 hours a day if you’re crating it when you’re asleep and at work?

I have to crate mine at night because she gets anxious when people are upstairs (where the bedroom and the cats are) and she’s unaccompanied downstairs. Oddly enough, she isn’t anxious if you physically leave the house entirely (maybe she can’t hear us?) - which is why we don’t crate her during the day.

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It depends on your situation, since not letting the dog have any time out due to an owner’s long schedule would be bad. Whether or not you actually close the dog into the kennel isn’t as important as the training to associate the kennel with a place to be calm or sleep.

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Am I the only person bothered by the use of the word ‘adoption’ talking about a dog? A dog can be found, rescued, bought, given, sold but only a child can be adopted.


Good point. I’ll adpot this rule from now on.


Good job!! Nemo got lucky when you rescued him. Someone with less patience and commitment would have returned him to the organization or worse. My dog is a rescue who is really afraid of sounds like gunshots, hammering, hard rainfall, etc. She would tremble and remain immovable for hours at a time, stiff as a statue. Her vet recommended a low dose of prozac daily and she’s been using a Thundershirt for over two years. Now when something scares her she comes to me and stands patiently while I put it on her and her episodes last maybe 10 minutes compared to 5 hours. The Thundershirt might not work for every dog but it helped make my dog’s life less stressful and instead of just getting hysterical she knows the Thundershirt will bring her security and calm. Also, don’t hesitate to comfort a frightened dog despite what some people say. Follow your gut feelings on what would make you feel safer.


Be careful. Sounds like the amount of alcohol was small and the dog wasn’t, but it looks like the dosage for dogs is far smaller for dogs than an equivalent sized human…

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You’re concerned that people are giving their dogs too much affection and dignity? Gosh, that’s just awful!


No - please do give your dog affection and dignity. I’m just thinking about language.

“…no measurable trace of the initial extract is present…”

Here, let me fix that for you:
“…overwhelming odds that not one single molecule of the initial extract is present…”

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