Why Your Boykin Spaniel Often Shakes Like They Are Wet

boykin spaniel puppy sitting in the grass

We know Boykin Spaniel dogs for their hunting skills and good company. These dogs are traditional family dogs and are incredibly intelligent and very confident, as well as friendly and energetic. Boykin Spaniel dogs are a classic dog breed, and they're still used for hunting. Although, today they are more common as household pets.

Potential owners should know that Boykin Spaniel dogs are typical family pets, meaning they get along with all types of people and even other animals. Of course, you need to socialize your Boykin Spaniel properly with other animals before they can live harmoniously with them.

Even though these dogs are great fits in most families, because these dogs have so much energy and intelligence, they don't do great in apartments because they can escape easily. Boykin Spaniel dogs are incredibly intelligent and easy to train, but they aren't great for first-time dog owners. These dogs have tons of energy and they need someone who's ready to commit to the activity levels they need to stay healthy. Without getting as much daily exercise as they require, these dogs can turn into destructive, anxiety-ridden animals.

Boykin Spaniels would love nothing more than to enjoy a delightful afternoon exploring a grassy field on a hill. These dogs are likely to run away, if they see an opening, towards something outside. Although we don't know them to be obnoxious barkers, Boykin Spaniel dogs have a tendency to bark more than most other dog breeds. Boykin Spaniel dogs will not howl or bark nearly as much as breeds like the Beagle or Husky do.

Potential owners need to make sure they can match the energy of a Boykin Spaniel dog because these animals need tons of stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Without it, these dogs can become nervous wrecks and it can show either through their body language or behavior.

Boykin Spaniel Breed Overview

Boykin Spaniel dogs are very playful puppies. Even when these dogs grow up to be adults, they might act like a puppy until they're 5 or 6. Their energy and delight in everything make them seem so young and precious.

The average Boykin Spaniel dog will stand between 14 to 18 inches to their shoulders and they can weigh anywhere from 25 to 40 pounds. These dogs were perfect for their original job, which was to be an ideal hardworking, quick, and friendly hunting dog. Their size is perfect because they can still reach swift speeds, but they aren't fragile animals. 

They bred these dogs to run long distances and their breed has maintained the energy to do this throughout its history. Because they've maintained this energy, they will suffer in some way if they don't get to expel it. These dogs need an hour or two of exercise daily or else they might fall into a depression. Dogs that don't get their minimum activity requirements often respond with bad mental health and possibly physical health issues. 

 brown boykin spaniel sitting in the grass

Boykin Spaniel Health Overview

All dogs need regular grooming care to ensure they are in their best health. These dogs need weekly teeth brushing sessions to make sure they maintain great oral health. They benefit from monthly ear cleanings to ensure they don't get ear infections. Owners should also be sure to clip their nails anytime they can hear them tapping on the ground.

Potential owners should know Boykin Spaniel dogs are healthy and can live up to 12 years, although there are cases where a few dogs have lived longer. Even though these pups are healthy overall, they do carry the risk of developing several health issues that run in their breed. 

This breed is at risk of developing cataracts, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and skin problems. While there is a very real genetic risk that a Boykin Spaniel puppy will develop one of these conditions, most of the dogs in this breed will live their whole lives without being affected by any physical health conditions.

All dogs will experience psychological health conditions such as stress and anxiety at some point in their lives. It's common and natural for many animals to have stress and anxiety, especially rescue animals or abused animals. Boykin Spaniel dogs may suffer from anxiety for many reasons. 


Anxiety is a common mental issue many dogs deal with. The most common type of anxiety seen in dogs is separation anxiety. While it's likely there will be many Boykin Spaniel puppies that experience symptoms of anxiety, it's also possible these dogs will get anxiety from many things. Also, it's worth mentioning that any neglected dog or abused dog will probably suffer from more severe symptoms of anxiety than more mild symptoms. 

When dogs are away from their owners for too long, separation anxiety appears. Often, smaller dogs suffer from separation anxiety more than larger dogs since smaller dogs are more often bred as companion pets and not as dogs that can perform a service for their families. Raised to hunt among other services for their families, Boykin Spaniel dogs don't typically struggle with separation anxiety as much as other breeds of dogs struggle.

Sometimes, dogs that have experienced trauma will exhibit extra symptoms of anxiety when they remember something from their traumatic past. Some dogs get scared of vans because they had bad interactions with vans that have taken them to the pound. Dogs remember these things and develop bad associations with them. 

Dogs that do not receive socialization training correctly may become stressed out in new environments. Socialization training helps dogs associate new environments with positive feelings. Owners should slowly encourage their dogs to meet new people, travel to new areas, try new things, and even meet other animals. Allowing your Boykin Spaniel to calmly open up to the world while providing verbal praise is a great way to help prevent anxiety around new situations. Often when owners adopt dogs, no one has been able to properly socialize them yet, so new situations may cause a lot of anxiety.

Thunderstorms, fireworks, and loud sirens can all cause anxiety in dogs. Loud noises have made many dogs anxious. Because dogs can hear so well, loud noises can affect them much differently than it affects people.

Breeds of dogs that have a lot of energy, like Boykin Spaniels, require a lot of activity. If dogs don't get their recommended amount of daily exercise, they can become incredibly stressed. Dogs that don't get to release their energy productively through exercise will release it in other ways. They may have destructive outbursts or agonizing hours of anxiety. 

Boykin Spaniel dogs can develop anxiety because of these situations. Understanding the cause of your dog's anxiety is a key factor in being able to relieve some of their symptoms. However, owners must be able to recognize symptoms of anxiety to help their dogs at all. 

boykin spaniel wearing an orange collar

Anxiety Symptoms

There are a variety of symptoms your Boykin Spaniel might show if they're suffering from anxiety. Many dogs communicate through body language primarily and vocally secondarily. Boykin Spaniel dogs have been vocal, but they are much more likely to show signs of anxiety through changes in their body posture than through crying or whining. 

There are many symptoms anxious dogs show. Some symptoms come as a raised heartbeat, lethargy, dehydration, or lack of appetite. Many dogs that suffer from anxiety will hold their ears back or tuck their tails between their legs. Some dogs may hide behind their owners or even nudge their owners towards whatever is causing them stress. 

Common symptoms of anxiety are excessive drooling and panting. Many anxious dogs refuse to relax and stay on edge by pacing around the room. Dogs may become vocal while pacing and might even start whining, crying, or barking.

Some dogs shake and shiver when they have anxiety as if they can't cause themselves to calm down. Boykin Spaniels shake as if they're shaking off water after getting a bath, but instead they're shaking off negative energy. Shaking is a common way dogs try to get themselves to de-stress. Some dogs even shake right after they're hugged to release themselves from the tension they felt.

More extreme symptoms of anxiety include your dog trying to escape their home. Sometimes, extremely anxious animals will urinate or defecate in the house. It's also normal for extremely anxious animals to refuse to eat or drink water during their times of anxiety.

There are many ways to help anxious dogs deal with their symptoms of anxiety. Depending on the severity, dog owners can decide if they want to relieve minor symptoms of anxiety or put their dogs through a rigorous informative process that can permanently relieve them of their traumatic triggers. The level of treatment owners give their dogs is up to their judgment. 

boykin spaniel laying on autumn leaves

How Owners Can Take Action

Owners can help their dogs deal with their anxiety by noticing what causes it and trying to take that out of their life. For example, if your dog shakes after every time they get hugged, stop hugging your dog. Once owners remove their dog from the stressful thing (if they can) then they can begin providing other things to help their dog relax.

A newly common method to calm an anxious dog is by creating a safe space for them. Dogs naturally create a safe space for themselves in their homes, whether or not owners make these spaces for them. A dog needs a break from people just like people need breaks from each other. When dogs want to go on a break, they'll exit to a quiet place that is out of the direction of main traffic in the house. Owners can help dogs form these safe spaces by picking out areas in the house for their dogs and providing them with comfortable blankets to lay on.

Some owners go above and beyond and make their dog's safe spaces look like tiny personalized rooms. While it isn't necessary to do all that, owners can give their dogs a bed to put in their safe space. If your Boykin Spaniel is fond of its crate and feels safe in it, then you can also consider putting their crate in its safe space as well. Owners should try to give their dogs access to fresh water in their safe space as well. Owners can help their Boykin Spaniel dogs adapt to their safe space by giving them treats anytime they enter it. 

Calming treats can help some dogs ease their anxiety symptoms. They make certain dog treats specifically to calm anxious dogs down. Some owners give their dogs CBD treats to help deal with their anxiety symptoms. You can administer dog CBD in little oil droplets put on their dog's food or through CBD-infused dog treats.

Breeds like the Boykin Spaniel need a lot of activity and are often anxious creatures when their families don't provide them with the right amount of exercise. Boykin Spaniel dogs will react by having destructive and anxious tendencies. These dogs often shake as if they are wet to de-stress themselves. If owners know they aren't giving their dog two hours of exercise, then they should provide their dog with more activity daily. Enrichment games are great ways for dogs to get rid of the energy while bonding closer to their owners. 

A more permanent way to help Boykin Spaniel puppies relieve themselves of their anxiety is through counterconditioning training. This training method involves hiring a professional dog behaviorist to identify what is causing your dog stress and help re-condition them to have a different reaction to stress. The goal is to change their reaction to one of indifference, or a positive reaction. Usually, owners only resort to counterconditioning for the most severe cases of anxiety. Dogs that have a history of abuse would benefit from this method of treatment. 

Finally, some owners find that anti-anxiety medication is the best way for their dog to deal with their anxiety symptoms. Some animals have chronic anxiety and benefit from long-term medication to treat their mental conditions. Owners can always chat with their vets about whether anti-anxiety medication is best for their dog or not.

boykin spaniel carring a stick


Any dog with anxiety will not have a shorter life span because of their anxiety alone. Most animals only need some supplements or lifestyle changes to help them with their condition. In helping a dog with anxiety, it really is up to the owner to decide how severe their dog's situation is and how much help they're willing to provide. Some situations, such as thunderstorms, are hard to help dogs with since there is no way to control the weather. But you can help your dog deal with different types of anxiety.

Owners should never provide their dogs with anything without their vet's approval. If you think your Boykin Spaniel would benefit from counterconditioning treatment, ask your vet if they have any recommendations. 

Before trying these treatments, owners should keep in mind that some of these may not work for their dog. All dogs are different and some Boykin Spaniel puppies may respond well to anti-anxiety medication, and some dogs might do better when they're provided with dog CBD. Also, owners can always combine methods to make a more effective anti-anxiety remedy. It would be a great idea to provide your Boykin Spaniel with daily enrichment, a safe space, and calming treats whenever they get nervous. 

boykin spaniel sitting on asphalt


Boykin Spaniels are high-energy dogs that will develop anxiety if they don't get to use their energy in a healthy way. Often when Boykin Spaniel dogs shake their heads, it is out of stress and anxiety. Owners can help their dogs by noticing their pup's anxiety symptoms and providing a calming remedy. When dog owners spend time training their dogs, playing with them, and exercising with them, they will naturally come to understand their dog's body language. You will know when your dog is excited, scared, or anxious.

Owners can best help their Boykin Spaniel dogs deal with their anxiety by providing remedies based on their severity. We can comfort our dogs with less severe anxiety with a safe space, a dog bed and a crate alone. These dogs typically won't need much, although they will benefit from extra calming methods if they still seem tense. Methods like anti-anxiety medications might seem tempting, but these can have adverse side effects on your dog's health and you should save them for more extreme cases of anxiety. Counterconditioning is also a complicated process we should reserve for dogs with severe symptoms of anxiety.

Boykin Spaniel dogs will benefit from owners who can provide them with the activity and attention they require in their daily lives. These dogs need stern owners who are patient and consistent in their lives. They need an owner willing to provide a lot of time and energy to ensure these dogs are mentally and physically stimulated, so they don't go around the house shaking all willy-nilly. Boykin Spaniel owners should also talk to their vet about their dog's anxiety and check in with them to get a second opinion on the best way to help their pets. 

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