Provide Interactive Toys For Your Dog To Play With While Youre Gone
Dogs with mild separation intolerance can also learn to enjoy the ritual of getting a treat-stuffed goody when their person leaves the house for the day. However, Flores cautions against leaving interactive food toys with dogs that are suffering from full-blown separation anxiety.
Sometimes, because the food toy has been given so often before departure, the food becomes a cue that something bad is about to happen, she explains. Once the food has been consumed, the dog will realize their person is still gone and panic.
Medications For Dogs With Anxiety
When traditional methods have failed for more extreme cases, a veterinarian may recommend over-the-counter or prescription drugs to treat dog anxiety.
Your veterinarian should examine dogs that are not improving within four to six weeks of changes to your environment, Dr. Burch says. Dogs that show almost all of the signs of anxiety typically need prescription medication in addition to environmental changes and should be evaluated, she adds.
Some types of medication that may be used to treat dog anxiety include the following, but be sure to talk to your vet before giving your pet any medication. It can be dangerous in the wrong dosage.
Dog anxiety medication dosage will vary and should be determined on a case-by-case basis under the direction of a veterinarian.
I recommend speaking with your veterinarian about specific dosages and management with prescription medication, Dr. Burch says. Each patient is going to require different dosages and needs. A veterinarian can also discuss any potential side effects your dog may experience from anti-anxiety medications.
Dog anxiety may be a common issue, but there are many ways to combat it and help our beloved companions. Its the least we can do for our pets who give us so much in return.
Incessant Barking In Dogs
When you have a pooch, some dog barking is to be expected, but it can go from adorable to obnoxious when it becomes incessant.
Again, misinterpreting the reason behind the behavior can make matters worse if you want to stop dog barking.
Angel Wasserman of Paws In Training shares a perfect example. I once received a call from a potential new client, she recalls. Her friend gave her the training protocol I issued to address her dogs barking.
She continues, The protocol didnt work for her dog and she wanted to know why! The why was because her dog was barking for a different reason then the other clients dog. When we got to the root cause of why the new clients dog was barking, we were able to apply the correct protocol for her problem.
So, if you want to know how to train a dog not to bark, he must be evaluated on an individual basis by a professional.
We consider our pets part of the family, and training them to be well-behaved members of the household can mean the difference between living in chaos and living in harmony. When your pooch knows how to behave appropriately and understands whats expected of him, youll be able to peacefully co-exist — and, believe it or not, hell be a lot happier, too!
Did you find these tips on dealing with difficult dog behaviors helpful? Youll love our next article, which discusses how to choose the right dog trainer for you!
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Fixing Separation Anxiety One Step At A Time
Effective treatment of separation anxiety can feel overwhelming. Its a slow process made more difficult by the fact that sometimes progress comes at a literal pace of one second at a time.
Guiding your dog through a separation anxiety protocol might not be easy, but having not only gone through this process with many clients but also with my own beloved dog, I can honestly say there is hope and recovery is completely possible! Flores says.
Canine Separation Anxiety: Strategies For Treatment And Management
Accepted for publication 28 August 2014
30 October 2014Volume 2014:5 Pages 143151
Dogs without separation-related behavior problems are passive and inactive in their owners absence,1,2 and the initially anxious behavior of puppies separated from their owners3 has been found to decrease quickly after adoption.4 Dogs with separation-related behavior problems, in contrast, engage in undesirable behaviors when left alone. The most common of these are destruction and excessive vocalization, including whining and barking.59 Less common problem behaviors include inappropriate elimination , self-injurious behavior , increased or repetitive motor activity , attempts to escape, trembling, salivation, and depression.10,11
The bond formed between dogs and their human owners is consistent with an attachment.12 The emotional attachment between adult dogs and their owners, even in the absence of separation-related behavior problems, has been found to be similar to that displayed by human adults and their children.13 This is not surprising given that dogs have been selected for their dependence on humans over 10,000 or more years of domestication.13
Importance of separation-related problems
Factors that predispose dogs to separation-related behavior problems
Treatments for canine separation anxiety
Table 1 Options for the treatment of canine separation-related behavior problems
Other factors that may help
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Symptoms Of Confinement Anxiety
If you are wondering Does my dog have separation anxiety? these are the things to watch for. The common signs of confinement anxiety are whining, howling, barking, restlessness, destructive behavior, incontinence and obsessive behavior such as biting or fur chewing.
You can determine if your dog has dog confinement anxiety and not other conditions quite easily. If he or she starts to display anxiety when they think you are about to confine them, or when your dog is already confined. The thought of confinement is the source of anxiety.
Reconditioning Therapy For Dog Travel Anxiety
Reconditioning therapy is particularly effective for dogs with travel anxiety. The process involves using positive reinforcement techniques to desensitize your dog to approaching, getting into, and riding in a vehicle.
Dog behavior experts recommend:
- Giving your dog a week or two off from all car travel
- Changing vehicles to avoid association with past unpleasant experiences
- Using treats to make the car a happy place
- Providing special toys your dog only has access to in the car
- Gradually building tolerance to car rides
- Going somewhere fun on your practice trips so your dog looks forward to future rides
Since reconditioning an anxious dog requires a great deal of skill and patience, you may want to hire a professional dog trainer to help you.
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How To Socializing A Dog To Prevent Aggression
Trainers say that socialization is key, but if youre wondering how to socialize an aggressive dog, the answer is with the guidance of a dog training professional. Unfortunately, this should not be attempted yourself, again, because a person or pet could get seriously injured.
The good news is that you can prevent aggression issues by socializing your pooch at a young age, if you get him as a puppy. Make sure he meets lots of different people and pets, and make sure he has positive experiences .
Have friends come over to play with him and give him treats, and invite their well-behaved companions, too then, your dog will learn that making new friends is really fun!
I think socialization is one of the most important behaviors to work on, says Alan Baldwin of Legacy Dog Training LLC. A dog who is not socialized properly can exhibit a variety of issues to include aggression.
He continues, When a dog is not socialized properly to people, can become mistrustful of strangers. A dog who hasn’t been properly socialized to other dogs can exhibit barrier aggression, where they snap, bark and growl at a fence and pace back and forth.
He explains another potential problem. Leash aggression can manifest through a lack of socialization. Lack of socialization can also cause a lack of confidence or manners when the dog is put into a group of new dogs.
Does Your Dog Freak Out When You Leave
If your dog seems to worry when you’re heading out, destroys stuff when you leave the house, follows you from room to room when you’re home, goes berserk when you come back and seems to be eyeing you suspiciously even before you leaveyou may be dealing with a case of separation anxiety.
Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit distress and behavior problems when they’re left alone. Some of the most common ways they do this:
- Digging and scratching at doors or windows attempting to reunite with their owners
- Destructive chewing
- Urination and defecation
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Symptoms Of Dog Anxiety
When dogs are anxious, they may engage in repetitive or displacement behaviors to relieve their stress. For example, when we are anxious, we may pace, bite our nails, or play with our hair.
Dogs may also pace, groom, and more. Some dog anxiety behaviors may lead to property destruction, may cause us harm, or may simply be undesirable to our human sensibilities. This may include
- Eating his own poop.
- Aggression toward people, dogs, or other animals.
Punishment or aversive techniques will do little to stop these anxious dog behaviors in the long-run, because punishment does not address the source of the problem, which is the dogs anxiety. In fact, suppression of these displacement behaviors, through pain and dominance methods, will make the problem worse, because pain increases stress and uncertainty.
Below are some common ways on how to deal with dog anxiety.
Living And Management Of Fear And Anxiety In Dogs
If your dog is on medications, your veterinarian will want to conduct occasional blood testing to make sure your dogs body can process and eliminate the medications appropriately.
If behavior modification does not work over the long-term, your veterinarian may want to modify the approach. If left untreated, these disorders are likely to progress.
You will need to help your dog with behavior modification exercises and teach your dog to relax in a variety of environmental settings. Encourage calmness when your dog appears distressed. Distract him and redirect his attention, following the plan your vet has set for you.
Fearful or anxious dogs may need to live in a protected environment with as few social stressors as possible. They do not do well in dog shows, dog parks or large crowds.
And remember that not all dogs are calmer when crated some dogs panic when caged and will injure themselves if forced to be confined. Absolutely avoid punishment for behavior related to fear, phobia or anxiety.
Contact your veterinarian for a referral to get professional help with your dogs behavior modification.
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What Are Signs Of Dog Anxiety
Knowing the common signs a dog may exhibit can assist pet parents in figuring out what is causing the anxious or nervous reactions.
Excessive barking and howling
Compulsive behaviors like unusual chewing
Urinating or defecating in the house
Trembling or shaking
When a dog becomes stressed and anxious, oftentimes this distress manifests in symptoms that mimic misbehavior. If your dog is experiencing some of the common symptoms of nervousness, you may be wondering what you can do to help.
Does Dog Separation Anxiety Medication Work
In some cases, medications for treating separation anxiety in dogs can significantly help. You should schedule a behavior consultation with your vet. This is typically a slightly longer appointment than a check-up visit to allow you time to go into detail about your dogs medical and behavioral history.
In some cases, as with humans who suffer from anxiety, anti-anxiety medications can help with extreme separation anxiety in dogs.
In other cases, a short-term calming medication can help during the training process until the appropriate behavior modification has taken hold.
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How To Train An Aggressive Dog
No matter what triggers it, when it comes to aggressive behavior, it must be addressed, otherwise, someone is bound to get hurt eventually. As mentioned, its more complicated than learning how to stop a dog from biting, as thats a symptom of the root cause.
But figuring out the source of the behavior, then creating a plan to modify it, is difficult to do, according to Sonya Wilson of Southpaws Playschool.
Fear-based behaviors can get worse if the wrong techniques are used or if they are misinterpreted, she warns. It is so important to know what is really affecting the dog before trying to modify behavior. It’s like a doctor’s diagnosis–the wrong diagnosis can actually cause harm.
David Levin of Citizen Hound agrees. It’s highly unlikely that dog-dog or dog-human aggression is going to change without a lot of change in your life, he adds. The skills required to combat it are simply too advanced for most owners, and often they don’t have access to the types of training environments or setups that it takes to be effective.
The Most Common Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety In Dogs
Before you diagnose your dog with separation anxiety, take a moment to assess his behavior so you can be sure you are in fact dealing with separation anxiety. Treating canine separation anxiety and helping your dog cope with it will only work if the anxiety is directly related to actually being left alone.
Some of the most common symptoms of separation anxiety in dogs include:
Whining, Barking, Howling and Pacing
This can occur just before you get ready to go and continue on after you leave the house. Dogs are experts at reading our behaviors and picking up on patterns, and most of us have routines we follow before we leave the house.
For example, many of us wake up to an alarm, take a shower, pick out an outfit and make a coffee before we leave in the mornings. If your dog has separation anxiety, this anxiety can begin creeping in from the moment your alarm goes off.
As you go about your schedule and prepare to leave, your dog is anticipating being left alone. If he has negative feelings about what is to come once you head out the door, chances are your routine actions of getting ready to leave are triggering some anxious feelings before you even grab the car keys.
Destructive Behaviors That Only Occur After You Leave
Some dogs can be destructive out of boredom, and this can occur whether or not you are home. But for dogs who are anxious and dont do well with being left home alone, this behavior will only happen within 20 minutes of your departure.
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Signs Of Anxiety In Dogs
As we begin to re-open, more and more pet parents are noticing anxiety in their dogs when they are left alone, particularly after being home together for an extended time. Separation anxiety is one of the most common forms of anxiety in dogs especially in breeds that are commonly working dogs and like to have their pack all in one place. Dogs that have gone through trauma or have been abandoned in the past are also more prone to experience increased abandonment anxiety.
In this blog, well dive deep into the topic of anxiety in dogs, what the symptoms are, and what you can do to help your dog feel secure.
Why Dogs Get Anxiety Disorders
The way anxiety disorders develop in a dog or other domesticated pets are much the same way they would in a human. Anxiety is a reaction to stress or fear and can be brought about by changes. In a study that addressed anxiety in dogs, it was found that 72.5% of all subjects exhibited some form of anxiety-like behaviour. The majority of triggers were environmental factors that had been altered in some way or another.
As with humans, pets can be predisposed to anxiety due to their genetic makeup. Thats why some will weather massive changes to living situations without any problems, and others will get severely worked up when you move furniture around in the living room.
The early development and learning phase of a pets life, especially in a dog, can play a big part in whether or not they will develop an anxiety disorder.
A puppy thats properly trained and stimulated and raised in a safe, loving, consistent environment will be far less likely to develop anxiety even if they are genetically predisposed to it. This is why rescue pets are more likely to suffer from these disorders as they havent had the basic grounding from a young age.
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Before You Begin The Desensitization Process
It is best if you can consult a pet behavior therapist and take his help before you start the desensitization process.
If you dont want to do that yet, then with a lot of patience and commitment, you can yourself help your furry friend get better at being alone.
When you put your dog through a desensitization training process, it can help desensitize his anxiety triggers and heal his panic symptoms permanently.
Depending on the severity of anxiety, your dog can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks to show significant improvement in symptoms.
Before you begin this process, it is essential to set up a calm environment for your dog that will ensure he wont get any anxiety attacks when you are not with him.
You may have to leave your dog at a doggy daycare, hire a dog sitter, or leave your dog with a friend. Find out which option works best to keep your dog the most calm when you cant be by his side.
The more peaceful your dog remains throughout the training period, the faster his desensitization training will progress.