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28 Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs 3 Types of Dog & Puppy Separation Anxiety Dog Separation Anxiety Diagnosis, Solutions & Cure: Common Symptoms & Signs, Reasons & Causes Solving Destructive, Obsessive, Compulsive Dog Behavior Dog Anxiety Treatment & Care, Cure & Prevention Helpful Ways to Ease Dog Separation Anxiety Dog Pain, Fear & Separation Anxiety Signs How do you know if your Dog has Separation Anxiety? Which Dog Breeds have Separation Anxiety? Natural Remedies & Solutions for Dog Separation Anxiety Dog Separation Anxiety Misconceptions Tips to Leave your Dog & Puppy Home Alone! The Variations of Dog Separation Anxiety How to break Dog's Separation Anxiety Dealing with Separation Anxiety in Puppies Dog Separation Anxiety Analysis & Information The Hollistic Approach to Dog Separation Anxiety Help your Dog to Fight Tunderstorm Phobia Desensitization as Treatment for Separation Axiety Dog Separation Anxiety Cure & Medication Dog Separation Anxiety Solutions Travel vs Dog Separation Anxiety: Tips Jobs to Provide to Get Your Dog Busy Petcube Camera Helps to Fight Dog Anxiety! Do Puppies grow out of Separation Anxiety? Curing Dog Separation Anxiety: Treatment, Training & Rescue Comforting A Fearful Dog Misconceptions Crating the Dog against Anxiety Dog Separation Anxiety vs Boredom How to Calm a Fearful Dog Dog Fear Body Language Signs Dog Tail Fear & Agression Signs Dog Anxiety & Fear Subordination and Happiness Natural Healthy Homeopathic a& Herbal Remedies What Causes Separation Anxiety? Why My Dog Has Separation Anxiety? Dog Separation Anxiety Top Risk Factors How to Comfort a Fearful Dog Toys & Games to Fight Separation Anxiety! Dog Separation Anxiety vs Bad Habits How to Know when Dog is In Pain? How to Sozialize Fearful Dog & Puppy Dog Separation Anxiety Natural Treatment Dog Separation Anxiety Care & Cure Relaxing Music & Video for your Dog How to fix Dog Anxiety at Night Dog Anxiety Remedies Grieving Dogs Anxiety Cure Tips What Is Stress? Dog Home Alone Xenophobic Dogs
Separation Anxiety is a disorder that causes dogs to panic at the idea of being left home alone.
Xenophobic (Fearful) Dogs: Xenophobia means "fear or hatred of things strange or foreign." Dogs with xenophobic temperaments, due to genetics and puppyhood experiences, are more inclined to travel farther and are at a higher risk of being hit by cars. Due to their cowering, fearful behavior, people assume these dogs were "abused," and even if the dog has ID tags, they will refuse to contact the previous owner. Some of these panic-stricken dogs will even run from their owners! Very sadly it is the second leading cause of owners relinquishing dogs to dog pounds or euthanizing their dogs !!!
One of the hard things about our relationships with dogs is that when something is up, they can not easily communicate that to us. That's why, with issues such as anxiety, we need to be aware of the signs so we can help our doggie. If you think your dog might be anxious, there are recognisable symptoms and treatments available to ease their and your worry. But before that, let's take a look at Dog's Separation Anxiety types:
Types of Anxiety in Dogs
Separation Anxiety Separation anxiety, when your dog doesn't like to be separated from you, is the most common form of anxiety. Dogs often associate everything they value in their life: company, play, food, going for walks with when people are around. When they are left alone, it's likely they have none of that good stuff. And if they haven't learnt to be cool with their own company, that's when they can experience separation anxiety. Dogs need to learn to cope with being away from their humans, and the best time for that to happen is when they are young.
Fear of Loud Noises Things like thunderstorms and fireworks can trigger anxiety in dogs. Dogs are naturally fearful of those events because they are loud and scary, so they learn to associate the lower level noise of wind or rain with those events. For that reason, dogs often become anxious even if they sense a storm might be coming.
Changes in Environment & Resource Guarding Less common forms of anxiety can involve changes in environment, such as going to the vet, in the car or moving house. Even things like changes to work hours, the owners travelling - any sudden change to normal routine can prompt anxiety. Resource guarding displays of aggressive behaviour designed to scare other dogs or people off. It can also be an issue if a dog is anxious about a valued item being taken away.
It's important not to dismiss behaviours that we sometimes consider normal!
28 Symptoms of Dog's Separation Anxiety
1. Non-Stop Barking It's fine if your dog barks at something they see outside, or if they react when they hear a suspicious noise. But if yours is barking for no reason, and can't be soothed, it very well may be a sign of anxiety.
2. Howling when owner isn't home This symptom is pretty common. Dog in Anxiety being scared and trying to call for his owner with this howl.
3. Panting and Pacing - even when it's not hot! If your dog paces around the house, they may just be bored. But it can also be a sign of anxiety. We have all caught ourselves pacing when anxious, and dogs do it, too. Some pacing dogs move around in circular patterns, while others walk back and forth in straight lines.
4. Pacing, Shivering, Shaking & Panting Dogs that shake or pant, or act generally nervous may be experiencing anxiety. While panting after exercise is normal, panting during a loud fireworks display is likely not.
5. Running Away and / or Cowering in the Corner of a House Just like a human - when the panic takes control over your dog, he tries to escape it by any ways he can.
6. Digging Same as with previos symptom, Dogs wish to hide themselfs.
7. Escaping the Yard Escaping behaviors are not only a sign of anxiety, but are also dangerous for your dog. You obviously don't want them bolting for the door, or running down the street. So do what you can to ease their anxiety, while also keeping them safe.
8. Destroying Furniture A common symptom of anxiety is destruction of furniture or other objects that they normally do not chew or shred.
9. Self-harm, including Excessive Licking or Chewing Chewing on objects, door frames, or window sills. Digging at doors or doorways or destroying household objects when left alone, are all signs of anxiety. This is your dog's way of getting nervous energy out of her system.
10. Not Eating Anxious Dog's Appetite has been reduced dramatically.
11. Urinating more Frequently When a dog is anxious, they tend to leave trails of pee as they walk. Urine dribbling or defection happens during the fight-or-flight response. Dog's body - just like humans, produces a sympathetic nervous system response, which increases adrenaline, and allows them to get out of there. A by-product of this is relaxing of the bladder and anal sphincter muscles, allowing waste to release.
12. A General Inability to Settle Anxious dogs sometimes display a surge of energy and appear hyperactive.
13. Lip Licking Anxious dogs may compulsively lick or chew at their fur or lips.
14. Chuffing If you ever catch your dog exhaling sharply, or expelling a bit of air along with a small bark, take note. This behavior is known as "chuffing" and it's a form of stress relief.
15. Tail Thumping We humans tend to think of all tail wagging or thumping as a sign of happiness, but no. Tail thumping and a submissive grin together are a classic sign of anxiety and unhappiness in the canine world. Compared to the happy tail wag dogs have when you come home from work, for example, tail thumping can be slower and a bit more "sheepish." When that's the case, it may help to bond with your dog to help them feel more at ease, while also making your house more comfortable.
16. Yawning While it may seem like they are just being cute and sleepy, if your dog is yawning constantly, it may be due to stress. Yawning is a very subtle and non-specific sign of anxiety that is often missed.
17. Shaking & Trembling Some symptoms are easier to spot, as is often the case with shaking and trembling, which is a sign of moderate to severe anxiety. Your dog may also appear visibly worried or concerned. If your pup looks freaked out, that's because they are. Wide eyes, furrowed brow and expressive ears are other signs of anxiety.
18. Hiding Dogs who are anxious will attempt to avoid situations, things, and people that scare them. This may look like leaving the room, pulling away on leash, hiding behind their owner's legs, and so on.
19. Scratching & Drooling Pacing, drooling, constant yawning, lip licking, scratching, and general body tension can all be signs of anxiety. These are collectively known as "calming signals." They are also normal behaviors, but are potential signs of anxiety when they are out of context. If your dog is yawning or scratching when you are out in public, for example, it may mean they are feeling uncomfortable.
20. Seeking Comfort Other anxious dogs will have the opposite reaction, and seek more attention or affection. They may jump in their pet parent's lap or require more attention.
21. Aggression Anxious dogs may become suddenly aggressive, even to their pet parent. Anxious dogs may suddenly snap, growl, or show signs of aggression.
22. Excretion House-trained dogs may suddenly defecate indoors when they are under duress.
23. Panic Attacks Dogs that experience any number of these symptoms may start to have panic attacks. Panic attacks can last from minutes to hours, and can involve any number of the above symptoms.
24. Showing Whites of the Eyes Stressed dogs, like stressed people, may have dilated pupils and blink rapidly. They may open their eyes really wide and show more sclera white than usual, giving them a startled appearance. Ears that are usually relaxed or alert are pinned back against the head.
25. Avoidance & Looking Away When faced with an unwelcome situation, dogs may "escape" by focusing on something else. They may sniff the ground, lick their genitals, or simply turn away. Ignoring someone may not be polite, but it's surely better than being aggressive. If your dog avoids interaction with other dogs or people, do not force the issue. Respect his choice.
26. Changes in Body Posture Dogs normally bear even weight on all four legs. If a healthy dog with no orthopedic problems shifts his weight to his rear legs or cowers, he may be exhibiting stress. When scared, dogs may also tuck their tails or become quite rigid.
27. Shedding Show dogs that become nervous in the show ring often "blow their coat". Dogs also shed a lot when in the veterinary clinic. Although less noticeable in outside settings, such as visiting a new dog park, shedding increases when a dog is anxious.
28. Changes in Bodily Functions Like people, nervous dogs can feel a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. When your dog urinates shortly after meeting a new canine friend, he may be marking territory and reacting to the strain simultaneously. Refusal of food and loss of bowel function are also stress indicators.
Genetics Plays a Role! Some breeds are genetically predisposed towards anxiety and insecurity, which is something you should consider when deciding which breed you are going to go for - particularly if you are going to be absent for long stretches of time. Even within a breed are those individuals who tend to be hyper-vigilant, even if their owners are with them. These are the dogs that are always running to the door or window or nervously follow their owners around the house.
What Causes Dog & Puppy Separation Anxiety? Dogs are pack animals by nature. In the wild, dogs are hardly, if ever, alone. This is the reason why they get nervous when they are left alone and many dogs will suffer from this anxiety when they are separated from the people within the family that they perceive as their pack! While the main cause of separation anxiety is being left alone, there are numerous other causes, including changes in routine, breeding instincts and loud noises or other things that jolt the senses.The Broad Institute has made great progress in mapping the complete gene catalog - genome of dogs.
They have also made great progress in understanding which genes favor compulsive and aggressive behavior in dogs. That does not mean that love, patience, training and or medication can not improve your dog's situation. It might also help you understanding that we pet owners, and our dog's earlier traumas might not be entirely responsible for our dog's current psychological issues. Many pet owners who write to me feel that guilt and frustration. There is really no reason for them to feel that way. Try not to.
What NOT to Do !!! It's a common misconception that dogs behave this way as a form of revenge.
Do not scold or punish your dog. Anxious behaviors are not the result of disobedience or spite. They are distress responses!
Your dog displays anxious behaviors when left alone because he is upset and trying to cope with a great deal of stress.
If you punish him, he may become even more upset and the problem could get much worse!
Separation anxiety has little to do with training or discipline - the behaviors are a result of the severe panic your dog feels when you are not there.
Left untreated, it causes damage to your house and belongings & serious psychological suffering for your dog.
Separation anxiety is diagnosed in around 15% of behavioural cases.
When left alone, most dogs find a familiar spot and go to sleep. Separation anxiety describes dogs that are usually overly attached or dependent on family members.
Somewhat ironically, problems related to separation anxiety are the major cause for dogs ending up in animal shelters.
With enough time and patience, your dog will be separation anxiety free!
For younger pups, separation anxiety stems from the fact that in the wild being alone is something that would almost never occur to a dog, what with all the litter mates, babysitters and other pack members not contributing to a hunt. Young pups should therefore be eased into this situation in the initial stages. Never leave a young pup longer than a couple of hours and even then make sure it's nap time - post action, post meal! Separation anxiety in older pups is a different matter altogether. With older dogs, certainly from 6 months on, separation anxiety is probably not a result of your pup wanting to be with you, a pup that is upset about being left out of the loop.
More so your dog, feels responsible for you. This can arise for two reasons. One, it is typical dog breed behaviour. It's no accident that your shepherd and herding types suffer this issue the most, they are used to rounding up and protecting their group. It can happen any dog though, usually through your own unconscious doing, after they have been convinced he is the boss of the house. As such he will take up certain characteristics that come with the role. One of these is responsibility for all other pack members. As most pet owners know, dogs form their habits early on during puppyhood. As a result, monitoring and correcting behavioral issues as soon as possible is critical. Here are some tips for dogs and separation anxiety to help you prevent it before it starts: When you are raising a puppy there can be a parade of behavioral issues that march through his and your life.
Separation anxiety can be one of them. Understanding and recognizing the problem is the first step. Then you will be equipped to address it right from the start. This is key because once canine behaviors are established, it takes time and work to change them. So it's better to prevent puppy separation anxiety before it starts and that time is in puppyhood. New pet parents are often overwhelmed with excitement, responsibilities and general chaos that comes with having a new puppy in their home. Sure, most people start training their dogs while they are still young but overlook prevention. However, preventing separation anxiety disorder from developing during the puppy stage might be one of the best things you can do for your dog.
What is puppy separation anxiety? Separation anxiety can take root in puppyhood, now is the time for prevention. It is always better to prevent than untrain, so provide your puppy with "stuff to do" in your absence - stuffed Kongs and always remember to make entries and exits to the home very low key. Practice separation as a behavior, starting with a small duration and gradually building as your dog is successful. It's fairly straightforward: Whether in a puppy or an adult dog, separation anxiety is when your dog exhibits stress and or behavioral problems when left alone. Sadly, it is also one of the most common reasons why owners get rid of their dogs. This is especially unfortunate because it is an issue that can be treated by implementing a few simple but important tactics. As the responsible owner of a new puppy, hopefully you have laid the foundation for a well-adjusted, well-behaved dog through puppy training, socialization, crate training, and the investment of time and consistency. Therefore, many of the recommendations here are things you are already doing, or have done.
What is the difference between separation anxiety and normal canine behavior? Separation anxiety is a serious condition, and it goes beyond the occasional mournful whimper when you leave the house or the shredded sock waiting for you upon your return. It is also not the same as boredom, and unlike a little mischief when your dog is left alone, separation anxiety is the result of legitimate stress. Genuine separation anxiety is not just your puppy's anxiety when you leave it continues to plague your dog until the moment you return.
What are the signs of puppy separation anxiety?
Here are some of the behaviors you dog may exhibit. One or two of them, that happen occasionally, may not be a sign of puppy separation anxiety, but if he has multiple episodes of more than a few of them, he is most likely suffering from SA.
Excessive barking or howling.
Destructive acts, such as chewing furniture and frantic scratching at doors or windows
Indoor "accidents" - urinating or defecting in the house
Excessive salivation, drooling, or panting
If confined, prolonged attempts to escape.
What causes puppy separation anxiety? It is unclear why some puppies are more prone to separation anxiety than others. There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest it's more common in shelter dogs, who may have been abandoned or suffered the loss of an important person in their life. The more people-oriented breeds may likewise be more susceptible. Also, smaller dogs can be prone to separation anxiety if they are accustomed to near-constant companionship. Life changes can also cause the condition, including a sudden change in schedule, a move to a new house, or the sudden absence of a family member, whether it's a divorce, a death in the family, or a child leaving for college.
What can I do about puppy separation anxiety? Neither you nor your puppy wants this constant cycle to continue. It's difficult seeing a beloved pet under so much stress and just as difficult to come home to mayhem and destruction. While there's no magic bullet, there are some things you should try. As said, these methods should already be part of a puppy's routine, but they are also specific to addressing SA.
Crate Training It's well-established, but it always bears repeating: The crate is your dog's ally, and it's an important training tool and the solution for a number of puppy challenges. It's neither cruel nor unhealthy. Look at it this way: For millennia dogs have been "den animals." In the wild, they use small, enclosed spaces for protection, warmth, and to raise their puppies. This hardwired instinct can be employed to give your pup a safe, quiet place to retreat to. Especially when you are not home. Some dogs feel safer and more comfortable in their crate when left alone. Watch his behavior in the crate to see if he settles right down or if the anxiety symptoms ramp up. Crate training is a subject unto itself, so here is everything you need to know.
A good way to remind them that the crate is a happy place is to give treats and other positive reinforcement to get them to go in and also once they are calmly inside. Some pet parents even find the dog sleeping in their crate if the door is left open since it is a safe and cozy place where no one else will bother them. Taking the time to train your dog about all the good things that happen in the crate is essential to success. A crate is also a good place to keep your pup out of trouble. To get started, read our guide on how to crate train your dog and then find the best dog crate to fit your needs.
Conditioning Conditioning is an important element of raising a mentally and physically healthy new puppy. In some cases, you can try to relieve his dismay by teaching him that separation has its rewards. Right now, he is conditioned to go into stress mode when he knows you are leaving him. Try countering that reaction by using a "high value" treat - something he especially loves, and that you only bring out for important lessons and rewards. If he gets a treat right before you leave, he might even begin to look forward to your departure. Begin conditioning your puppy early on by leaving him for very short periods of time and gradually lengthening the amount of time you are gone.
Exercise Lab puppy playing with toy.Physical: Make sure your puppy gets plenty of exercise. This is especially true for large, high-energy dogs with a lot of it to burn off. A tired, contented dog, who's had a brisk walk and playtime with you, is more likely to settle down when you leave.
Mental Exersize Mental exercise is just as important as physical, if not more. Games that build his self-control, focus, and patience are key to him getting better when alone." Kilcommons' book, My Smart Puppy, provides games that will develop and occupy that busy puppy brain.
Medication and Natural Supplements Sometimes, no amount of training and conditioning will help. Some vets recommend medication such as amitriptyline, which is used to treat depression, or alprazolam, which is prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. These require a prescription and are safe for most pets, though you will need to consult with your vet, and be extra diligent about the use of medication with a young dog.
Natural Supplements & Diet Another option is natural supplements and homeopathic treatment. Natural supplements that help ease anxiety in dogs include the amino acid L-theanine, chamomile, passionflower, St. John's Wort, and valerian. The natural supplements help ease anxiety in dogs because they have various mechanisms of action that basically function to alter neurotransmitters in the brain - such as serotonin, GABA, or dopamine, to induce a sense of peace and calmness.
Nothing is Free Follow a "nothing in life is free" protocol. It's important for puppies to learn that they must earn the things they want. Ask your puppy to sit before being fed, going out to play, even being petted.
Play it Cool DO NOT pay attention to your dog when he follows you around closely. Most behaviors considered "attention seeking" can be modified by ignoring them. When you are about to leave, try not to give cues that your pup will begin to recognize. In other words, depart calmly and without fanfare. The daily routine can be established that provides stability and predictability for the puppy, beginning with meeting the dog's social and physical needs, followed by sessions of inattention during which the dog is given the opportunity to nap and rest or to engage in exploratory play with his food and chew toys. Keep greetings and departures low-key. Help your puppy associate your departure cues with good things. Never reward or encourage attention-seeking behavior. If you are wondering if puppies grow out of separation anxiety, the answer is not that straightforward. In cases where dog stress symptoms in puppies are just caused by their young age, it's possible. But, your puppy won't kick their destructive or negative behaviors overnight, as much as you might want or pray.
Please, keep in mind - Separation anxiety in puppies and dogs is not always preventable, despite your best efforts. But with patience and a positive attitude, you may be able to reduce your puppy's suffering.
The development of puppy separation anxiety Several factors can lead to the development of separation anxiety. The "socialisation period", which occurs between about 4 and 12 weeks, is when dogs learn about all the sights, sounds and experiences that form a part of normal life. Things that are not encountered during that period will be more likely to be scary to a dog when it encounters them later in life. If a puppy does not experience being left alone during this period it may find this difficult to cope with when it is left at a later stage. However, some dogs that do experience being left alone in their socialisation period can still go on to develop separation anxiety. This may be because the dog is genetically timid and therefore predisposed to developing fears and anxieties. Such a dog may more easily develop separation anxiety if something unpleasant happens when he is left alone and forms a negative association as a result.
Removal of Puppy Too Early From Litter Dogs that were separated from their mothers and siblings too early have been identified as being especially prone to separation anxiety also. Puppies from pet-stores are a perfect example of this. They are usually taken from their mothers well before the earliest possible age, which is 8 weeks, and confined to a small glass box or a cage in the pet store for anywhere between a few weeks to a few months. This early weaning, together with the lack of exercise and human affection while in the pet store is mentally distressing for the young dog.
Introducing Puppies to Adult Dogs Puppies usually pester adult dogs unmercifully. Before the age of four months, puppies may not recognize subtle body postures from adult dogs signaling that they have had enough. Well-socialized adult dogs with good temperaments may set limits with puppies with a growl or snarl. These behaviors are normal and should be allowed. Adult dogs that aren't well-socialized, or that have a history of fighting with other dogs, may attempt to set limits with more aggressive behaviors, such as biting, which could harm the puppy. For this reason, a puppy should not be left alone with an adult dog until you are confident the puppy is not in any danger. Be sure to give the adult dog some quiet time away from the puppy, and perhaps, some individual attention.
Here are some things to consider, to prevent separation anxiety when you have a puppy:
Teach your puppy to be alone
Teach your puppy to feel comfortable in a crate
Keep greetings and departures low-key
Make sure your puppy has plenty of exercise
Help your puppy associate your departure cues with good things
Never reward or encourage attention-seeking behavior
Because separation anxiety is much easier to prevent than to treat, taking steps early to train your dog to be away from you is something every puppy parent should think about. Putting in this effort now will save you heartache, frustration, and costly repairs when your dog is older.
Teach your puppy to feel comfortable in a crate. Our crate training tutorial will help you get started.
Teach your puppy to be alone. Make time in your day for your puppy to be alone, either in his crate or in a puppy-proofed area. This may sound silly and unnecessary if you work from home or are retired, but if you don't do this it can set the stage for separation anxiety later on.
Keep greetings and departures low-key. Highly emotional comings and goings tend to ramp up a dog's arousal level which over time can make it harder for him to be left alone.
If you are anxious or emotional about leaving, you might unintentionally transmit that tension to your dogs. Some owners leave without saying goodbye at all.
Help your puppy associate your departure with good things. Think of the things you typically do before you leave: Putting on your coat, jingling your keys, picking up your bag or briefcase, etc. Start doing these activities when you are not leaving, give your puppy something he loves - like a stuffed Kong or a favorite toy, and put him in his crate. Wait a short time and take him out before he is finished with his treat. The idea is to teach him to associate the signs of your departure with feeling good. Some owners save high-value toys and treats for alone time to help this process along.
Follow a "nothing in life is free" protocol. It's important for puppies to learn that they must earn the things they want. Ask your puppy to sit before being fed, going out to play, even being petted.
Make sure your puppy gets plenty of exercise. Appropriate exercise depends on the age of your puppy, but free play with other puppies, gentle fetch games, and short walks can all burn off excess energy. Keep exercise sessions short and allow the puppy plenty of rest periods. Avoid long walks - over a mile and runs until your dog is 1 year old. The growth plates at the ends of his bones are still developing, and hard exercise can cause swelling or even stunted growth.
Discouraging the Unacceptable Behavior It's virtually inevitable that your puppy will, at some point, chew up something you value. This is part of raising a puppy! You can, however, prevent most problems by taking the following precautions:
Minimize chewing problems by puppy-proofing your house. Put the trash out of reach, inside a cabinet or outside on a porch, or buy containers with locking lids. Encourage children to pick up their toys and don't leave socks, shoes, eyeglasses, briefcases or TV remote controls lying around within your puppy's reach.
If, and only if, you catch your puppy chewing on something he shouldn't, interrupt the behavior with a loud noise, then offer him an acceptable chew toy instead and praise him lavishly when he takes the toy in his mouth.
Make unacceptable chew items unpleasant to your puppy. Furniture and other items can be coated with "Bitter Apple" to make them unappealing.
Don't give your puppy objects to play with such as old socks, old shoes or old children's toys that closely resemble items that are off-limits. Puppies can't tell the difference!
Closely supervise your puppy. Don't give him the chance to go off by himself and get into trouble. Use baby gates or close doors so you can prevent him from going where he shouldn't.
When you must be gone from the house, confine your puppy to a small, safe area such as a bathroom. You may also begin to crate train your puppy. Puppies under five months of age should not be crated for longer than three hours at a time, as they may not be able to control their bladder and bowels longer than that.
Make sure your puppy is getting adequate physical activity. Puppies should not be left alone in a yard as they don't know how to play by themselves. Take your puppy for walks and or play a game of fetch with him as often as possible.
Give your puppy plenty of people time. He can only learn the rules of your house when he's with you.
Encouraging the Acceptable Behavior! Provide your puppy with lots of appropriate toys.
Rotate your puppy's toys. Puppies, like babies, are often more interested in unfamiliar or novel objects. Put out four or five toys for a few days, then pick those up and put out four or five different ones.
Experiment with different kinds of toys. When you introduce a new toy to your puppy, watch him to make sure he won't tear it up and ingest the pieces.
Consider the various types of toys that can be stuffed with food. Putting tidbits of food inside chew toys focuses your puppy's chewing activities on those toys instead of on unacceptable objects.
If your puppy is teething, try freezing a wet washcloth for him to chew on.
What Not to Do! Never discipline or punish your puppy after the fact. If you discover a chewed item even minutes after he is chewed it, you are too late to administer a correction. Animals associate punishment with what they are doing at the time they are being punished. A puppy can't reason that, I tore up those shoes an hour ago and that's why I am being scolded now. Some people believe this is what a puppy is thinking because he runs and hides or because he looks guilty. Guilty looks are canine submissive postures that dogs show when they are threatened. When you are angry and upset, the puppy feels threatened by your tone of voice, body postures and or facial expressions, so he may hide or show submissive postures. Punishment after the fact will not only fail to eliminate the undesirable behavior, but could provoke other undesirable behaviors, as well. In most cases, destructive chewing by puppies is nothing more than normal puppy behavior. Adult dogs, however, can exhibit destructive behaviors for a variety of reasons, which can occasionally be the cause of chewing problems in puppies, as well.
When puppies play with each other, they use their mouths. Therefore, puppies usually want to bite or "mouth" hands during play or when being petted. With puppies, this is rarely aggressive behavior in which the intent is to do harm. Because puppies are highly motivated to exhibit this type of behavior, attempts to suppress it or stop it are unlikely to be successful unless you give your puppy an alternative behavior. The goals of working with this normal puppy behavior are to redirect your puppy's desire to put something in her mouth onto acceptable chew toys and to teach her to be gentle when a hand is in her mouth.
Redirect your puppy's chewing onto acceptable objects by offering her a small treat whenever you pet her. This technique can be especially effective when children want to pet her. As you or the child reach out to scratch her behind the ears - not over the head, with one hand, offer the treat with the other. This will not only help your puppy learn that people and petting are wonderful, but will also keep her mouth busy while she's being petted. Alternate which hand does the petting and which one has the treat. At first, you may need to pet or scratch your puppy for short periods of time, since the longer she's petted, the more likely she is to get excited and start to nip.
You must also teach your puppy to be gentle with hands, and that nipping results in unpleasant consequences for her. Teach your puppy that nipping "turns off" any attention and social interaction with you. After a nip, look your puppy right in the eye, and yell "OUCH" as though you have been mortally wounded, then ignore her. Leave the room if you must, but ignore her until she's calm, then try the treat & petting method again. It's even better if you can coax your puppy into a sitting position using food. It may take many repetitions for her to understand what's expected. Nipping and mouthing hands can also be discouraged by loosely holding your puppy's lower jaw between your thumb and forefinger after she's taken your hand in her mouth. Don't hurt her by squeezing too hard, just gently hang on so that wherever her mouth goes, your hand hangs on. This will quickly become tiresome and she' will eventually pull away. After several seconds, release her jaw, but continue to offer her your hand. If she licks or ignores it, praise, pet and offer a tidbit. If she closes her mouth on your hand again, repeat the procedure.
A third alternative is to wear cotton gloves coated with a substance with an unpleasant taste such as Bitter Apple. In this way, your puppy will learn that hands in mouth taste bad. For this method to work, every time she nips your hand she must experience this bad taste. The possible disadvantage to this method is that your puppy may learn hands with gloves taste bad and those without gloves don't. Remember that any of these three methods will probably not be effective unless you work hard to teach your puppy the right behavior by offering her an acceptable chew toy.
Jumping Up When your puppy jumps up on you, she wants attention. Whether you push her away or block the jump by raising your knee towards your chest, she's being rewarded for jumping up - even though it's negative attention, she's still getting attention. When your puppy jumps up: Fold your arms in front of you, turn away from her and say off. Continue to turn away from her until all four of her feet are on the ground, then quietly praise her and give her a treat. If she knows the "sit" command, give the command when all four of her feet are on the ground, then quietly praise her and give her a treat her while she's in the sitting position. When you begin to praise her, if she begins to jump up again, simply turn away and repeat step two, above. Remember to keep your praise low-key. When your puppy realizes that she gets no attention from you while she's jumping up, but does get attention when she stops jumping up and sits, she will stop jumping up. Remember, once you have taught her to come and sit quietly for attention, you must reward her behavior. Be careful not to ignore her when she comes and sits politely, waiting for your attention.
It's very difficult for children under eight or nine years old to practice the kind of behavior modification outlined here. Children's first reaction to being nipped or mouthed by a puppy is to push the puppy away with their hands and arms. This will be interpreted by the puppy as play and will probably cause the puppy to nip and mouth even more. Dogs should never be left alone with children under ten and parents should monitor closely all interactions between their children and dogs.
This will eventually teach him that there is a world beyond you, even when you are home, and that he can comfort himself once in a while. Don't be stern and don't punish him, but just don't pet him every single time he asks for it. If he were to escalate his demands, then go as far as leaving the room but do not reward that behaviour of course. So, separation anxiety is a tricky one. It can be devastating if full-blown, but it's really easily preventable. Start these good habits now and give yourself and your dog peace of mind.
Teach your dog to be alone! Independence training is a great way to teach your dog boundaries and make them feel more comfortable when alone. If your pooch is clingy and never strays far from you, use commands like "stay" and "wait" to encourage self-sufficiency. Having a dog that follows you around loyally and lovingly can be adorable, but it's not advisable to nurture this type of behavior. Even though you might think your dog will be sad if they are not constantly with you, a little bit of independence can prevent obsessive dog behavior and separation anxiety. Teaching them positive behaviors and how to properly deal with puppy separation anxiety early can save you a lot of hassle, effort and potentially money in the long run. As with many behavioral problems, it is much easier to prevent than to cure.
If you are wondering if puppies grow out of separation anxiety, the answer is not that straightforward. In cases where dog stress symptoms in puppies are just caused by their young age, it's possible. But, your puppy won't kick their destructive or negative behaviors overnight, as much as you might want or pray.
Does your dog experience anxiety or fear in social situations like going to the park, walking through crowds, going to the veterinarian, or even visiting your friends' homes? Proper socialization is essential for all dogs. Failure to socialize can result in a dog with crippling social anxiety, fear and sometimes even aggression. Many people don't realize how a lack of socialization can impact their dog's behavior.
The Cause of Social Anxiety in Dogs Social anxiety is common in dogs rescued from puppy mills. It may also occur in stray dogs - those found on the street living on their own, or dogs rescued from abuse or neglect situations. Most of these dogs have had little or no human contact at all. Some have only had negative experiences with humans. When you take this type of animal and put him in a social setting, he may feel trapped and cornered. This often results in fear aggression. When a cornered dog experiences the biological fight or flight response, the only available action is to fight.
Preventing Social Anxiety in Dogs Socialization is most successful when started early. Begin the puppy socialization process as soon as possible. This essentially trains your dog to handle himself in busy situations. A well-socialized dog is not fearful of crowds and plays well with other dogs. Start by taking your puppy out to different places. It is best to do this after he has been fully immunized against Parvo and Distemper. By exposing him early to different sights, sounds, and people, you teach him young to accept these as normal, and you will have a happy, friendly dog who handles others well. If you adopt an adult dog, you cannot be sure what he has been exposed to. Don't worry - you can still socialize an adult dog. In fact, you should start this process as soon as you bring your new dog home.
How To Help Dogs With Social Anxiety If your dog is already the anxious type, you need to take careful steps to help overcome his fear. Start small. Begin by letting your dog meet one person at a time. Let your dog initiate contact. Be sure that your dog has a safe retreat he can go to if he feels overwhelmed. Reward him in the calm moments. Just remember to go slowly and reward for good behavior. Be sure not to comfort him when he is fearful, as this can reinforce the fearful behavior rather than help him overcome it. Desensitizing a fearful dog is hard work. This can be a long, drawn-out process, but it's well worth it. You will need to judge your own dog on how much he can handle at once. Some are fine indoors or in their own territory, but they panic at leaving home. Through steady exposure, you should notice that your dog is relaxing more, as things become more familiar. Make every outing fun. If you take him down a busy street and he acts afraid, finish the outing at a place he enjoys - like a quiet park to play, or a walk down a quiet street. This way, he is less likely to fear outings in general. Your dog may never learn to love being out in busy areas. However, he can learn to tolerate them if he can associate outings with the "good part" at the end.
If your dog is anxious around other dogs, then be sure to keep him away from dogs when you do not have control over the situation. Avoid dog parks. Cross the street during walks if another dog is coming. If you decide to introduce your dog to another dog, do so very slowly and carefully. Choose a calm, aloof dog that will seem non-threatening to your dog. Reward your dog for calm behavior. If your dog remains calm, you may gradually decrease the distance between the dogs and increase the time of exposure.
At the first subtle sign of fear or anxiety, increase the distance between the two dogs or remove your dog entirely if necessary. The goal here is to avoid letting the anxiety build up to a high level. Your dog may never learn to enjoy the company of other dogs. However, he can learn to tolerate the presence of another dog at a distance. This process can take weeks to months. Be patient and keep it positive.
A crate can also be an effective preventive tool. Dogs who have been properly introduced to their crate tend to feel safe and secure in this private den. In some cases, dogs prefer the sanctuary of a crate to being left alone in a big open house. Since every dog is different, it's important to pay attention to exactly which options are comforting to your dog - and which are not before leaving him home alone. When crating is not a viable option, the next step is to create a looser, enclosed space with a little more room for your dog to roam about. In this space, you should include toys to provide a viable distraction.
To Crate or Not to Crate? Crate training can be helpful for some dogs if they learn that the crate is their safe place to go when left alone. However, for other dogs, the crate can cause added stress and anxiety. In order to determine whether or not you should try using a crate, monitor your dog's behavior during crate training and when he is left in the crate while you are home.
If he shows signs of distress - heavy panting, excessive salivation, frantic escape attempts, persistent howling or barking, crate confinement is not the best option for him. Instead of using a crate, you can try confining your dog to one room behind a baby gate. Unfortunately, sometimes separation anxiety just isn't preventable, especially with an older dog. Experience or genetics may have already triggered the onset. But, thanks to desensitization, crating techniques, and an understanding of the disorder, it's treatable. In fact, a diagnosis of separation anxiety in no way precludes a healthy and happy existence for your dog. With some extra effort, your relationship can be extremely satisfying for you both. Do not reserve the crate only for times when you are away. Using the crate when you are at home helps your dog become accustomed to using it, both when you are at home and away.
A crate, when used humanely, can be a wonderful way to prevent little puppy accidents when the pup is not yet 100% toilet-trained. But it is by no means a therapeutic tool for separation anxiety! Crating a dog that strongly separation-averse needs to be, at best, a very temporary management measure to prevent the dog from hurting itself. But I would argue that a dog that already shows destruction behaviour should no longer be left home alone until the end of the treatment.
How do you associate the crate with positivity? 1 - Feed your dog his meals in the crate. Food equals positivity in a dog's mind and in ours too, let's be honest, so associate the crate with meal time and this will help your dog enjoy his crate.
2 - Give your dog chewing items in the crate. Antlers, bully sticks, and frozen kongs make great chewing items that dogs love! Chewing items are a very positive way for dogs to exert their natural need to chew, so chewing items in the crate are an excellent way to keep your dog distracted, and his emotions at bay.
3 - Give your dog treats when he is in the crate. Treats are an obvious positive! So be sure to reward your dog when he is in the crate with treats, treats, treats.
4 - Give your dog these items of positivity EVERY time he is in the crate! On top of these quick tips, it is very important that you make your dog understand that the crate does not always equal being alone for long periods. To prevent this type of anxiety, allow your dog to have breaks inside the crate WHEN YOU ARE HOME in addition to the times that you are gone. Have your dog spend some time in the crate while you are home so that he isn't automatically associating the crate with being left alone. How in the world does putting my dog in the crate for short periods of time help his anxiety? It makes your dog realize that just because he is going into his crate and you are leaving, does not mean that you will be gone for 8 hours every time.
For instance, if you start by putting him in the crate for very short periods, such as when you are just going to get the mail, it will slowly condition him to grow comfortable with spending time in the crate. As he starts to get used to the crate and being left alone for short periods, you can slowly increase the amount of time he is in the crate, when you are running errands, shopping... Obviously you will still have to go to work and leave him for long periods as well. However, the idea is that he won't get himself worked up prior to you leaving and think that you will gone forever, every single time he has to go in the crate. As one final reminder, separation anxiety is a tricky subject that is not nearly as easy to change as say jumping on people or even destructive chewing. It's a long process that some owners need to work on over the entire span of their dog's life!
Crate Training Crate training your dog may take some time and effort, but can be useful in a variety of situations. If you have a new dog or puppy, you can use the crate to limit his access to the house until he learns all the house rules - like what he can and can't chew on and where he can and can't eliminate. A crate is also a safe way of transporting your dog in the car, as well as a way of taking him places where he may not be welcome to run freely. If you properly train your dog to use the crate, he will think of it as his safe place and will be happy to spend time there when needed.
Make the crate a welcoming space by placing their favorite toys, treats or blanket inside. Gradually increase crating periods, working your way up from meal time to a few hours - ideally, not more than 6-8 hours. Encourage your dog with a calm voice and don't leave the room the first few times you crate them - your presence will make them feel more relaxed!
Important note: Sometimes people hear the words "crate training" and they think it is a bad or cruel thing. Often this is because they have been misinformed about how crate training is actually done. The crate is not a punishment. Your dog should always associate the crate with positive experiences: toys, treats, privacy, peace and quiet. If your dog does do something you do not like, never say "bad dog!" and put him directly into the crate. If you do that, the crate WILL seem like a punishment to the dog. Also, a dog or a puppy should only spend a maximum of a few hours in the crate at a time, during the times when you are not able to directly supervise him. At all other times he should be with you! While crate training your dog or puppy, you must be able to arrange your work, sleep, school, social schedule to allow the dog or puppy a "bathroom break" and some affectionate interaction every few hours during the day and sometimes during the middle of the night.
Selecting A Crate Crates may be plastic, often called "flight kennels" or collapsible, metal pens. They come in different sizes and can be purchased at the Soffer and Fine Adoption Center. Your dog's crate should be just large enough for him to stand up and turn around in.
The Crating Process.. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training. The crate should always be associated with something pleasant, and training should take place in a series of small steps - don't go too fast.
Step 1: Introducing Your Dog to the Crate Put the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Bring your dog over to the crate and talk to him in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is securely fastened opened so it won't hit your dog and frighten him. To encourage your dog to enter the crate, drop some small food treats near it, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If he refuses to go all the way in at first, that's okay - don't force him to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If he isn't interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days.
Step 2: Feeding Your Dog His Meals in the Crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding him his regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, put the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If your dog is still reluctant to enter the crate, put the dish only as far inside as he will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed him, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat his meal, you can close the door while he is eating. At first, open the door as soon as he finishes his meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until he is staying in the crate for ten minutes or so after eating. If he begins to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving him in the crate for a shorter time period. If he does whine or cry in the crate, it's imperative that you not let him out until he stops. Otherwise, he will learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so he will keep doing it.
Step 3: Conditioning Your Dog to the Crate for Longer Time Periods After your dog is eating his regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine him there for short time periods while you are home. Call him over to the crate and give him a treat. Give him a command to enter such as, kennel up. Encourage him by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise him, give him the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to ten minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time, then let him out of the crate. Repeat this process several times a day. With each repetition, gradually increase the length of time you leave him in the crate and the length of time you are out of his sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you out of sight the majority of the time, you can begin leaving him crated when you are gone for short time periods and or letting him sleep there at night. This may take several days or several weeks.
Step 4: Crating Your Dog When Left Alone After your dog is spending about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving him crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put him in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave him with a few safe toys in the crate. You will want to vary at what point in your "getting ready to leave" routine you put your dog in the crate. Although he should not be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate him anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged, but matter of fact. Praise your dog briefly, give him a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to him in an excited, enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low key. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you are home so he doesn't associate crating with being left alone.
Step 5: Crating Your Dog at Night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night, and you will want to be able to hear your puppy when he whines to be let outside. Older dogs, too, should initially be kept nearby so that crating doesn't become associated with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with his crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer.
Potential Crate Training Issues & Problems Too Much Time In The Crate - A crate is not a magical solution. If not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated. For example, if your dog is crated all day while you are at work and then crated again all night, he is spending too much time in too small a space. Other arrangements should be made to accommodate his physical and emotional needs. Also remember that puppies under six months of age should not stay in a crate for more than two or three hours at a time. They can't control their bladders and bowels for longer periods.
Whining If your puppy or dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether he is whining to be let out of the crate, or whether he needs to be let outside to eliminate. If you followed the training procedures outlined above, your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from his crate. Try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, he will probably stop whining soon. Yelling at him or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you have ignored him for several minutes, use the phrase he associates with going outside to eliminate. If he responds and becomes excited, take him outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you are convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore him until he stops whining. Don't give in, otherwise you will teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what he wants. If you have progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you will be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but he may injure himself in an attempt to escape from the crate.
When it comes to crate training as a way to solve separation anxiety, it's crucial to monitor your dog's reactions. Moderate whining, reluctance, and wariness are normal at first, but if the behavior persists, don't force them. Dogs have been known to urinate, defecate, howl or even injure themselves in an attempt to escape. Crates are not the right fit for every dog, as each furball has their own personality. Some animal behaviorists claim that crating is inhumane and, in cases where it's not done properly, it can be counterproductive and even abusive. This is why it's important to follow your dog's body language and their reactions to the crate. It's up to you to make the best choice for your pooch and make sure that you follow best crating practices.
Separation anxiety is not really exclusive to specific breeds, but there are some dog breeds that seem to be at a higher risk than others. While there are also many factors to separation anxiety, some dogs seem to fall victim to it without any rhyme or reason. If you are currently struggling with separation anxiety or want to try to avoid the problem at all costs when searching for a new dog, it might be best to avoid these breeds or adopt adults with a known temperament. Some breeds most likely to experience this problem include: Siberian Husky, German Shorthaired Pointer, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyrenees, Border Collie, and Standard Poodle, among others. There appears to be a strong familial component, with the likelihood of a genetic influence.
German Shepherd Dog The German Shepherd Dog is known as the jack of all trades in the dog world, as they have been used for many different tasks from sheep tending to search and rescue to police suspect apprehension. Unfortunately, the breed has seen a decline in health in recent years and this includes the temperament of the dogs. Separation anxiety is seen quite often in this breed.
Australian Shepherd Like other active herding breeds, the Australian Shepherd seems to have a higher instance of separation anxiety than other breeds. They were bred to work and a lack of activity makes them bored and anxious, as well as being away from their people for long periods of time.
Labrador Retriever The Labrador Retriever is the most popular family dog breed in the United States and it has grown accustomed to being with family members. The breed has suffered a decline in health like the German Shepherd, including an increasing number of cases of separation anxiety.
Vizsla The Vizsla is a very popular gundog from Hungary. Bred for hunting alongside their owners for long periods of time, the Vizsla does not do well when left alone for long hours. They are considered to be velcro dogs and are very active, so too much alone time and too little activity will greatly increase the risk of severe separation anxiety.
Border Collie The Border Collie is one of the most predominant working and sport dogs today, excelling in a variety of venues. Because of their high energy and intelligence, these dogs need a lot of mental stimulation to prevent them from reaching excessive boredom. This boredom will turn into separation anxiety very quickly.
Cocker Spaniel The Cocker Spaniel is also a gundog, like the Vizsla, and is used to spending a lot of quality time with its family. They make great family companions but their popularity has introduced a lot of temperament issues, including severe separation anxiety.
Bichon Frise One of the most common problems reported among Bichon Frise owners is their separation anxiety. This breed is a companion and lapdog and does not do well when they are unable to see their owners for extended periods.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is one of the smallest spaniel breeds and was used primarily as a companion dog. They are used to being around people, enjoy being around people and are prone to having separation anxiety if left alone for too long.
Italian Greyhound Italian Greyhounds are the smallest sighthounds and they make excellent family companions, especially for those that aren't as active. Because they bond so closely with their owners, they are prone to suffering separation anxiety should they be left alone for long periods.
Toy Poodle The Toy Poodle is the smallest of the Poodles and probably the softest in temperament. Bred solely as companion dogs, they do not fare well when left along for long periods as they desire regular human interaction.
Havanese The Havanese is a small dog from Cuba that makes an excellent family companion. Because they were bred to be lapdogs, they desire human companionship and do not do well when left alone for long hours.
German Shorthaired Pointer The German Shorthaired Pointer is a German gundog and one of the most popular hunting dogs today. Because they were bred to work alongside their owners for long hours, they do not do well when left alone for extended periods.
When treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the dog's underlying anxiety by teaching him to enjoy, or at least tolerate, being left alone. This is accomplished by setting things up so that the dog experiences the situation that provokes his anxiety, namely being alone, without experiencing fear or anxiety. Dogs do show happiness outwardly, but not necessarily using their mouths. When a dog feels genuinely at ease, he may actually position his mouth in a way that truly resembles a smile. But he might make such a face when he's not really at ease, too.
Onset of Fear and Anxiety in Dogs Most dog owners tend to see the first signs of serious fear and anxiety in their pets between ages one and three, when their dogs are starting to become socially mature. However, other timetables are present in more specific cases. For example, very extreme fears that result in withdrawal tend to appear earlier on in dogs who are around eight to ten months old. However, it is common for pet owners to see a sudden onset of fear and anxiety in their dogs as they get older. While this onset of anxiety in older dogs is typically a result of the normal aging process, it can sometimes be caused by psychological or physical problems. Common causes of anxiety in older dogs include:
Sickness or Pain Canine Dysfunction Syndrome Loss of Bladder or Bowel Control Failing Senses
Smiling Dog Body language can be an effective gauge of how at ease a dog feels. Happy dogs have a general looseness to their bodies, and that applies to the mouth area, too. If the sides of your pooch's mouth point slightly higher than the rest of it, that often, but not always, signifies that all is wonderful in your dog's world for the moment. More telling is your dog's tongue. A loose hanging tongue combined with a mouth slightly ajar generally points to a good moods in a doggy, according to the Caring Hands Humane Society website. Although dogs don't actually smile like humans, they sometimes happen to make expressions that look like smiles.
Anxiety and Smiling A smiley expression in a dog doesn't necessarily indicate happiness. If your dog's mouth is open just a tad, with the sides raised, he may indeed look like he is smiling, but he may actually be anxious, nervous or otherwise in distress. Signs of distress accompanying a stiff smile include heavy panting with the tongue in, whining and chattering teeth. Consult your vet.
Subordination and Smiling A dog may also give the false impression of smiling in subordinate situations, according to the ASPCA. If a dog is threatened by another animal or human that he feels is higher in ranking, he may attempt to show his subordination by raising his lips in a nonaggressive display. It's a different baring of the teeth than an aggressive one, and the dogs know the difference. It has the appearance of a smile, but the poor pooch is scared. Look out for other "hints" of subordination, including crying, pushed back ears and a hanging head. Make sure the upper portion of the doggie's snout is not crinkled. That sometimes is a belligerent body language signal to back off.
DOG FEAR CATEGORIES This article is proudly presented by WWW.HORSE NETWORK.COM and College of Veterinary Medicine in Cornell University
A tail held in a low position indicates nervousness or fear. A dog with a low or tucked tail is showing that he is unsure or afraid of what's going on - and it also indicates that the dog could become defensive and lash out in an effort to protect itself. A fearful dog will sometimes wag only the tip of his tail in short, rapid bursts. If the tail is raised while shuddering, it is likely that the dog is becoming an active threat.
Dogs wagging their tails to the left were found to be expressing negative emotions such as fear, anxiety and aggression, while dogs with tails wagging to the right were showing positive feelings like happiness, excitement and satisfaction. Rightward wagging communicates happiness. When good moods prevail, the left side of the brain takes over and controls the right side of the body, including the dominant tail movement direction. A leftward leaning indicates that fear and anxiety are the probable emotions ruling the situation.
Fear of Thunderstorm I have listed this problem here, not because it is a behavioral problem in the classical sense, but it is a real problem to the dog and something that the owner can do something about. Called a Thunderstorm Phobia or simply Storm Phobia, this condition occurs when a dog is overly frightened of one or more aspects of the storm causing him to display physical, psychological, and behavioral signs.
Fear of Children Fear of Nail Trimming Fear of Noises Fear of Objects Fear of Other Animals Fear of People Fear of Riding in Cars Fear of Specific Places Fear of the Veterinary Clinic Neophobia (Fear of New Things) Separation Anxiety
Bringing fearful dogs to the dog park to socialize them Again, like dog-aggressive dogs, fearful dogs need calm, quiet, controlled environments with low stimulation levels to learn how to get over their fears. Fearful dogs could be afraid of too much noise, other dogs, sudden movements, other humans, trash cans or any number of things. If you have a dog that tends to be easily scared or nervous, a dog park is a nightmare. Think of it like this: if you were really afraid of spiders, what if someone dumped a bucket of spiders on your head and said, "See! It doesn't hurt!" It may not hurt, but it would completely freak you out! Same thing with bringing a dog that is scared or insecure to a place with too many new stimuli. It could lead them to become even more afraid, or worse, start lashing out to protect themselves from what scares them so much. To socialize a fearful dog, work with a trainer or take small-group classes. But avoid the dog park until your dog has gotten over her fears.
DOG FEAR & AGRESSION: SEPARATION ANXIETY BODY LANGUAGE SIGNS This article proudly presented by WWW.THESPRUCE.COM and WWW.KYHUMANE.ORG and Jenna Stregowski and Amy Bender
So... what are the Dog Body Language signs for us to interpret as before-a-bite? Dogs can become aggressive for any number of reasons - fear, dominance, guarding possessions. No matter the reason for the dog aggression, the body language of a dog can let you know if he is about to bite. Knowing what to look for can help you prevent dog bites.
1. Growling and Snapping Growling and snapping are probably the most obvious signs that a dog is about to bite. Dogs growl or snap to let you know they are unhappy or uncomfortable. If a dog growls or snaps at you when you approach him, it's time to give him some space. Growling and snapping can be helpful, too. Pay attention to the times your dog growls or snaps. Does it happen when you approach him when he's eating, when strangers approach, or when you touch him while he's asleep? Knowing what elicits the growling and snapping allows you to manage the problem and work on changing the behavior.
2. Wagging Tail This is one of the signs that many people find surprising. Dog trainers often hear dog owners comment that their dog was wagging his tail right up until the moment he bit someone. But pay attention to the way your dog wags his tail. A happy dog may wag his tail and get his whole body involved. A dog who is about to bite is usually fairly rigid, and his tail will be pointed high and moving more quickly back and forth. This may be a sign of an impending dog bite.
3. Raised Fur When dogs are afraid or overly stimulated, you may see the hair on their backs stand up. In some dogs, just the hair on the back of the neck between the shoulders stands up. Other dogs have it at the neck and also near their tails. Still other dogs may have a ridge of hair that stands up down the entire length of their backs. If you notice a dog has his hackles raised, it's a signal that he needs you to back off.
4. Rigid Body Posture Often when a dog is about to become aggressive, his body language is a dead giveaway - no pun intended. A comfortable, happy dog usually has a relaxed body with his ears low and a happy, wagging tail. An aggressive dog is just the opposite. His entire body may go stiff, and his ears and tail are raised high. If you reach out to pet a dog, and his entire body freezes rather than wiggling to get closer, he is not happy with being touched. It's time to move away to make him more comfortable.
5. Lip Licking, Yawning and Averting Gaze If you notice a dog is licking his lips - when food is not involved, yawning repeatedly, or turning his head to avoid meeting your gaze, he is trying to tell you something. Dogs engage in these behaviors to let you know they are uncomfortable with something going on around them. For instance, a dog who has never been around children may lick his lips or yawn when a child comes over to pet him. It does not necessarily mean that he is about to bite, but it is a warning that he is not comfortable. A dog who is uncomfortable, afraid, or stressed is more likely to bite. Your best bet when a dog uses one of these appeasement gestures is to try to alleviate his discomfort.
6. Cowering and Tail Tucking Cowering and tail tucking are more overt signs than lip licking or yawning that you are dealing with a fearful dog. While fearful dogs don't always bite, fear does increase the likelihood. If you encounter a dog who cowers away from you with his tail tucked between his legs, back off. Let him approach you in his own time, and he will be less likely to feel the need to bite to defend himself.
7. Seeing the Whites of the Eyes Many dog trainers refer to this as whale eye. You will see the whites of a dog's eye when he moves his head slightly but doesn't move his eyes. A half moon of white will show around the dog's eyes. Whale eye is a sign of anxiety in dogs. It's an expression many animal shelter workers are familiar with. Again, this doesn't necessarily mean that a dog is about to bite. It means that a dog is feeling anxious, and anxious dogs are more likely to bite. If you see a dog showing the whites of his eyes, it's a good idea to give him some space until he feels more relaxed.
This dog is frightened but is not submissive and may attack if pressed. A dog will generally give these signals when he is directly facing the individual who is threatening him.
Stressed and Distressed
This dog is under either social or environmental stress. These signals, however, are a general "broadcast" of his state of mind and are not being specifically addressed to any other individual.
Fearful and Worried
This dog is somewhat fearful and is offering signs of submission. These signals are designed to pacify the individual who is of higher social status or whom the dog sees as potentially threatening, in order to avoid any further challenges and prevent conflict.
Extreme Fear Total Submission
This dog is indicating total surrender and submission. He is trying to say that he accepts his lower status by groveling before a higher ranking or threatening individual in the hopes of avoiding a physical confrontation.
Fearful Body Language: The tail is low and possibly tucked. The tail could be straight down in a fast, stressed wag. The ears are generally back and hackles may rise in excited fear. The head is usually held low and there may be some crouching. In more severe fear cases, fearful dogs may role onto their backs and or urinate from fear. This is the ultimate "no fight" communication from a dog. As fear escalates, dogs can move into either flight or fight response. In flight, the dog will be trying to exit in all directions in a panicked manner. If the dog cannot flight, fight may erupt with aggressive displays of teeth or vocals.
If this happens with a fearful dog, as a general rule putting more distance between the dog and the scary object will calm the dog down. Never back a fearful dog against the wall or into a corner where he cannot escape.
Aggressive Body Language: The head will be very high, with ears forward erect. The corners of the mouth will also be forward. If barking, you can almost see the "O" formed with the mouth. Aggressive dogs will often lean their entire body weight forward, even standing on their front tip toes to make themselves appear larger. The tail will be erect. Hackles may appear.
MYTH: If a dog is afraid particularly of men, it must have been abused / beaten. Not necessarily! Since behaviour is determined as a result of a combination of a dog's genes, experiences and learning, and the current environment, this is not always the case. Dogs with shy, reserved temperaments, dogs that have had a lack of social interaction, particularly in their early development periods, and dogs suffering from boredom and stress are amongst those that can display similar behaviours to dogs that have been abused.
MYTH: That guilty look isn't an expression of guilt - it's fear All the logic lines up: Your dog was left alone and did something they weren't supposed to do, that they knew better than to do, and when they are called on it their face says it all. Perhaps you are already saying "No! Bad dog! Bad dog!" or some variation thereof. Disambiguating the "guilty look": salient prompts to a familiar dog behavior," focuses on how people interpret dog emotions through the scope of human emotion. More simply: People tend to misattribute dog emotions to human emotions. The "guilty" look is a prime example of this. We are kind of wired to see it this way, so it's nobody's fault. It seems unlikely that they have the same types of thinking about thinking that we do, because of their really different brains, but in most ways, dogs brains are more similar to ours than dissimilar. That first bit is especially important: thinking about thinking, known as executive function, because it means dogs aren't likely to reflect on their actions and decide they have done something wrong. When you adopted your dog, and suddenly you are living with a dog, within a week we have opinions about the dog's personality, what they are like and what they are thinking. It's a way to try to predict what's gonna happen next with an organism that we don't really know. So we use the language of human explanation, and we just put it on the dog.
MYTH: Getting a new dog can help treat separation anxiety A lot of pet owners think that their dogs feel anxious because they have no one with them at home. So, as a solution, they get another dog. In certain cases, this can actually solve the problem, especially if a dog feels lonely. Any warm body, be it another dog or a human, can help soothe the dog's anxiety. However, there is always the chance that it won't work. Instead of solving the issue, you can end up with two dogs with separation anxiety. If you are considering getting the help of another dog, don't adopt right away. Ask one of your friends first if he can let his dog stay at your place for awhile. If your dog responds positively, then you can bring another dog at home.
MYTH: Destructive dogs are anxious dogs When a dog is suffering from separation anxiety, he will look for objects and places that can give him comfort. Most of the time, this includes the scent of the owner. By instinct, he will go through his owner's belongings as well as the door where his owner has left him. However, you need to bear in mind that not all dogs that show destructive behaviors are anxious dogs. In some cases, it can be linked to being untrained, under-stimulated and boredom.
MYTH: Dogs with separation anxiety won't eat Humans undergoing a lot of stress tend to lose appetite. However, for dogs, chewing can actually make them feel better. It helps them relieve tension and stress. They will gnaw on chew bones, treats and even their food dispenser. Keeping any of these things close by can help prevent destruction at home.
MYTH: Deaf dogs are more likely to experience separation anxiety No significant differences in frequency of separation anxiety was noted between deaf and hearing dogs. The reasons for separation anxiety in deaf and hearing dogs is different. Primary cause of anxiety for deaf dogs is waking up or looking up from a really interesting dust bunny he is playing with and realizing that his person has disappeared, whether that's into a different room or from the house altogether. Deaf dog will go hunt for his person and, once found, will frequently return to what he was doing and relax. A hearing dog with separation anxiety, she suggests, is more related to being left alone. For deaf dogs, it's more of a case of "Where are you?" causing stress rather than, "Why am I alone?" To prevent "separation" anxiety in deaf dogs: when you leave the room or the house, notify your deaf dog that you are leaving. When this simple and additional communication occurs, she finds that deaf dogs do not exhibit behavior similar to separation anxiety. Of course, every dog is different, but this is a good rule of thumb.
MYTH: Anxious dogs should never be put in a crate You can consider this one a partial myth. While it is true that there are dogs who will try real hard to escape to the point of mutilating themselves, there are also dogs who find comfort in their crates. This goes particularly true with dogs who are used to sleeping in their crates at night and those who wouldn't mind spending a few hours inside it during the day.
MYTH: Allowing your dog to sleep with you can lead to separation anxiety Letting your dog sleep with you will not directly trigger separation anxiety. However, allowing your dog to be close to you the entire time can build an intense familiarity and strong bond that can make it hard for him to be separated with you. Instead of sharing the same bed, consider putting a separate sleeping space for your dog. This doesn't mean that you need to keep him in a separate room or too far away from where you sleep. You can set up a bed for him next to yours. If he insists on getting up your bed, be consistent in putting him back to his own space. In case putting your dog in a separate room is inevitable, it's a good idea to set up a few cameras there.
MYTH: You should ignore your dog the minute you arrive A huge number of pet owners believe that for someone to avoid triggering separation anxiety in dogs, he needs to ignore his pet 10 minutes before he leaves and 10 minutes after he arrives. Although logical, this approach actually triggers more anxiety in dogs, especially if they don't know exactly why they are being ignored. Instead of totally ignoring your pet, try to greet your dog in a controlled manner. Avoid making a big fuss when you come home.
MYTH: Dogs that are hyper-attached to their owners are more at risk of separation anxiety There are dogs that just can leave their owners' side. They will follow their owners to their room, kitchen and even the bathroom. Because of how attached they are, it's easy to think that they are the ones who are likely to feel anxious when left behind. As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that not all dogs who are strongly attached to their owners suffer from separation anxiety. Dogs that don't constantly follow their owners aren't completely free from anxiety, too.
MYTH: Using special types of collars can alleviate anxiety in dogs Using a collar infused with citronella can stop anxious dogs from barking. This, however, doesn't mean that they won't feel anxious anymore.
MYTH: Exercising dogs can help prevent separation anxiety There's no doubt about how important regular exercise is for dogs. It can make them stronger, flexible and more focused. Unfortunately, its list of benefits doesn't include treating separation anxiety. If you want to really solve the issue, you have to know how to properly condition and desensitize your dog.
MYTH: You should let your dog stick close to you at home People get dogs for companionship and there's nothing wrong with that. However, if you have a dog struggling with separation anxiety, you need to learn to put just the right amount of space between the two of you. This can set proper boundaries as well as let him find other things he can put his attention to.
MYTH: Medicine is the Magician! Not at all! It hardly helps, but easily kills dogs...
What is Stress? The question of stress is one that I have given some careful consideration to. Stress has many definitions, but here are a few pertinent ones: A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation. The non-specific response of the body to any demand for change. Managing fear isn't simple. But, If you have a fearful dog and need help I suggest seeking out positive reinforcement trainers in your area. When it comes to helping a fearful dog it's important to keep your own behaviors in mind. While you won't reinforce fear by remaining calm & providing comfort you can make things worse by freaking out yourself. If you yourself panic when you meet a new dog your dog will start to pick up on that. If you are scooping your dog up every time they meet a new dog they may start to assume that hey there is something to be scared of, and they may begin to act more defensively when a new dog approaches. For long term solutions you are going to need to address the fear itself and come up with a way to help your dog through it. Dogs who are fearful, and therefore reactive or possibly aggressive.
Is Stress OK At All? Clearly stress is a serious deal, but maybe not all bad. Prescott Breeden published a very nice post on Stress and Learning recently. His article deserves a careful read, in case you haven't read it already. Are you back now? Great! I won't synopsize the whole article, but the two relevant points are: a little stress can be beneficial to learning and the optimal amount of stress for learning varies inversely with the difficulty of the task. Some express their fear through barking and lunging, or even growling and snapping or worse. Others appear more typical for what people would expect out of a fearful dog: cowering, turning their head or body away, or trying to hide, for example.
The fear isn't going to get better by just ignoring it, and it can often get much worse. If you find yourself in a situation where both you & your dog are fearful the best solution may be to just walk away. If you can't control what's happening and you are unable to turn the situation into a positive experience sometimes leaving is the best solution. It's certainly not easy to do, and it can feel like a failure. But knowing when to say this isn't working can help get you out of a situation before it incites even more fear. As with managing fear in any aspect of life it's a judgment call, and there isn't always going to be a simple solution. A common way to help fearful dogs is by using counter conditioning. It's the process of changing a negative emotional response into a positive one, and it works well for many fears. It's not a quick process, but to truly help with fear you should be trying to think of ways to help your dog start to see those scary things as not so scary after all.
MYTH: We Each Define How we Provide Comfort Differently So you asked a simple question on a dog forum: should I be comforting my fearful dog during a thunderstorm? You get a ton of answers from both sides, and you are probably feeling more confused and discouraged than you were to begin with. I mean it's a simple question after all, yet everyone answers it differently. The first problem with the question of comforting a fearful dog is the fact that we are not all on the same page when it comes to how we define comfort to begin with. The best way to address whether or not you should comfort your dog during X event is to think about what would help them out in the long run. Is this a one time situation that probably won't come up again? If that's the case sometimes the best way to provide comfort is to remove yourself from the situation.
If it's a scary situation that will come up again you should be thinking of ways to help make your dog comfortable with it in the long run. If it's thunderstorms perhaps giving your a treat when you hear the boom of thunder will help them start to associate it as not being such a bad thing. Managing fear isn't simple, and a stranger on the internet isn't likely to provide you with the best answer when it comes to your dog. It's about knowing your dog and what they find comforting, and knowing how to keep them from going over threshold and panicking. Comfort a dog whose nervous around strangers is a lot different than the way I'd comfort a dog panicking during fireworks. Levels of fear vary, and so do the levels of comfort we provide.
MYTH: Comforting Your Dog Will Not Reinforce Fear The most common misconception when it comes to comforting a fearful dog is that it will just reinforce the fear. I certainly understand where this concern comes from, but it is important to note the distinction between fear & behavior. Fear is the unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous. Behavior is the way in which one acts in response to a situation. When we talk about fear we are only talking about the unpleasant feeling that we are in danger, not the behaviors associated with it. We often get stuck in the mindset of thinking that providing comfort to a fearful dog is just reinforcing the fear, and that it's just going to make the fear worse.
Think of it this way: if your dog is terrified of thunderstorms & you pet them during one it's not going to make their fear of storms worse. Petting during a storm is probably not going to be enough to help them be less fearful next time, but it can provide comfort in the meantime. As long as the comfort you are providing is actually comforting to your dog you are not going to be reinforcing their fear. Keep in mind that fear exists on a scale ranging from mild to severe. For dogs that are extremely fearful of a situation providing a little bit of comfort isn't likely to solve the underlying issue, but it's certainly not going to make it worse. In certain situations where our dogs get extremely fearful comforting them is the most humane thing to do, and if that's not possible by simply petting them sometimes removing yourself from the situation is the best choice. It's similar to the way we help our friends deal with scary stuff. If your friend is terrified of elevators you can try to help keep them calm by distracting them during the ride. Your comfort & support isn't making their fear of elevators worse, but it may help make it easier for them to deal with. Providing comfort to a fearful dog won't enforce their fear. When we choose not to provide our dogs with help & support in scary situations that fear can get much worse.
MYTH: Comforting Your Dog May Reinforce Behaviors Another misconception I see regarding the idea of reinforcing fear by providing comfort is confusing fear with behaviors. We spoke about fear above - the emotional response of feeling like were in danger and how providing comfort won't make the fear itself worse. Now let's move onto behaviors. Fearful dogs can exhibit a variety of different behaviors when they are scared. They might exhibit the classical signs of fear such as pacing, shaking, whining and hiding. But scared dogs can also exhibit defensive behaviors such as growling or snapping. The best example of a fearful dog exhibiting defensive behaviors is resource guarding. It's when a dog gets defensive when you approach their stuff, most often their food. Laika had severe resource guarding years ago, and I'll be the first to admit I didn't see it as a fear based behavior at all to begin with. I thought she was just being a selfish jerk. After much research & with the help of a trainer we started to address Laika's resource guarding through counter conditioning & lots of patience. Dogs that guard their food aren't being territorial or dominant. They see you as a threat to their stuff and they are acting defensively out of fear. It's important to understand that behaviors such as resource guarding when your dog might be growling at your are actually fear based. In order to see long term results you need to address that fear and help them start to see you coming towards their food as no big deal.
Another example of how we can reinforce fearful behaviors is how we respond when our dog meets strangers. Let's say your dog is scared of having new visitors over, so when your friend comes over your dog starts to act defensively by growling. If you start comforting your dog & petting her telling her it's all OK during this meeting they may think "OK then I'll just keep growling." Your dog will still be scared of strangers because you haven't helped address their fear, and since you comforted them while growling they may start to think of that behavior as acceptable.
In other words nothing will change, and your dog will still be scared & probably growl the next time it happens. To help address my dogs fearfulness of strangers I like to make Laika's associations with new people positive. I will give them treats to give her, or tell them to kneel down & let her come to them. Since she's only slightly nervous around new people it's pretty easy and after 30 seconds they are usually her new best friend. With dogs with more severe fears you are going to have to work on it. You are going to need to find a method that helps your dog address their fear in a way they can manage, and one that will help them start to see that scary thing as no big deal.
MYTH: If a dog is afraid - particularly of men, it must have been abused / beaten Not necessarily! Since behaviour is determined as a result of a combination of a dog's genes, experiences and learning, and the current environment, this is not always the case. Dogs with shy, reserved temperaments, dogs that have had a lack of social interaction - particularly in their early development periods, and dogs suffering from boredom and stress are amongst those that can display similar behaviours to dogs that have been abused.
MYTH: You Should Wake Them Up If they appear to be having a nightmare Whether the dog's dream is an ongoing question, but till now there is no definite answer, the evidence points strongly in the direction that they behave. Dogs show REM moves the eye rapidly sleep, which is the kind of sleep that we have when dreaming. Dreaming is also linked with the process of getting the memories back, which is something the dogs have proven the ability to do. So let's know about the nightmares of dogs? For starters, we can't say that the dogs are able to have nightmares, given that we don't know about the dog's dream at all. The owners who recognize their dogs twitching and whining in their sleep, there Is a lot of stress in leaving your dog alone when they feel uncomfortable. Many owners take it upon themselves to avoid the dog free of its supposed sleepy horrors. However, this could be more harmful and stressful to your dog's health. Like humans, dogs also need a certain amount of deep sleep to maintain good mental health and normal development. Canines tend to nap between 14-16 hours every day. But in this deep sleep is very little. When your dog appears to be dreaming, it is having vital deep sleep that it requires. Disturbing their sleep could be unhealthy for them.
MYTH: Dogs that cower or duck when you reach toward them have been abused You might think so, but in most cases this is a myth about dogs that has no basis in fact. One thing you have to remember is that, like their cousins the wolves, dogs are social creatures and in many cases they are submissive to what they consider authority. Ever heard of that pretty doubtful "alpha dog" concept? Dogs tend to accept their place in the pack, and in most cases, they perceive humans as the leaders of the local pack. This isn't always the case, and size doesn't necessarily matter - anyone who's ever owned a Pomeranian can tell you they will usually try to be the alpha, no matter how small they are.
Your dog might be too anxious to eat or play with a toy when you are absent, so it is important to introduce her favorite toys and chews while you are present, building up a positive emotion around that particular toy. Once that positive feeling around toys has been built you can give them a few minutes before you depart which will allow her to focus on the toy rather than you leaving. Interactive toys such as rubber toys stuffed with treats and treat balls can help re-focus the mind, causing your dog to release anxious energy on an appropriate item rather than the sofa.
Go wild for the puzzles and enrichment! It's darker, it's colder and your schedule is packed. It might be hard to find the time to give your dog as much exercise as he's used to. Enter puzzle feeders. Giving him his meals out of a feeder exercises his brain. These brain teasers come into their own when you have guests round and the table is creaking with holiday food. And since lots of seasonal goodies can be bad for dogs, LINK a food toy can help steer him safely away. If walks become shorter, play with your dog inside or in the yard. Short, high-intensity games can wear a dog out as much as a longer leash walk Here are some ideas from our blog about play. BUT, Please do not rationalise the guilt away if you are having to leave the dog longer than you know he can cope with. A Kong is not a silver bullet and will only distract him for a few moments. But it will take the edge off your departure. A Kong is very much part of the counter-conditioning and prevention & maintenance protocol.
Safe Toys There are many factors that contribute to the safety or danger of a toy. Many of those factors, however, are completely dependent upon your dog's size, activity level and personal preference. Another factor to be considered is the environment in which your dog spends his time. Although we can't guarantee your dog's enthusiasm or his safety with any specific toy, we can offer the following guidelines.
Be Cautious The things that are usually the most attractive to dogs are often the very things that are the most dangerous. Dog-proof your home by checking for: string, ribbon, rubber bands, children's toys, pantyhose and anything else that could be ingested. Toys should be appropriate for your dog's current size. Balls and other toys that are too small can easily be swallowed or become lodged in your dog's mouth or throat. Avoid or alter any toys that aren't "dog-proof" by removing ribbons, strings, eyes or other parts that could be chewed and/or ingested. Avoid any toy that starts to break into pieces or have pieces torn off. You should also avoid "tug-of-war" toys, unless they will be used between dogs, not between people and dogs. Ask your veterinarian about which rawhide toys are safe and which aren't.
"Chewies" like hooves, pig's ears and rawhides, should be supervision-only goodies. Very hard rubber toys are safer and last longer. Take note of any toy that contains a "squeaker" buried in its center. Your dog may feel that he must find and destroy the squeak-source and could ingest it, in which case squeaking objects should be "supervision only" toys. Check labels for child safety, as a stuffed toy that's labeled as safe for children under three years old, doesn't contain dangerous fillings. Problem fillings include things like nutshells and polystyrene beads, however, even a "safe" stuffing isn't truly digestible. Remember that soft toys are not indestructible, but some are sturdier than others. Soft toys should be machine washable.
Active Toys: Very hard rubber toys, like Nylabone-type products and Kong-type products. These are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and are fun for chewing and for carrying around. Rope toys that are usually available in a bone shape with knotted ends. Tennis balls make great dog toys, but keep an eye out for any that could be chewed through and discard them.
Distraction Toys: Kong-type toys, especially when filled with broken-up treats or, even better, a mixture of broken-up treats and peanut butter. The right size Kong can keep a puppy or dog busy for hours. Only by chewing diligently can your dog access the treats, and then only in small bits - very rewarding! Double-check with your veterinarian about whether or not you should give peanut butter to your dog. Busy-box toys are large rubber cubes with hiding places for treats. Only by moving the cube around with his nose, mouth and paws, can your dog access the goodies.
Comfort Toys: Soft stuffed toys are good for several purposes, but aren't appropriate for all dogs. For some dogs, the stuffed toy should be small enough to carry around. For dogs that want to shake or "kill" the toy, it should be the size that "prey" would be for that size dog - mouse-size, rabbit-size or duck-size. Dirty laundry, like an old t-shirt, pillowcase, towel or blanket, can be very comforting to a dog, especially if it smells like you! Be forewarned that the item could be destroyed by industrious fluffing, carrying and nosing.
Get the Most Out of Toys! Rotate your dog's toys daily by making only two or three toys available at a time. Keep a variety of types easily accessible. If your dog has a huge favorite, like a soft baby, you should probably leave it out all the time, or risk the wrath of your dog! Provide toys that offer a variety of uses, at least one toy to carry, one to kill, one to roll and one to baby. Hide and Seek is a fun game for dogs to play. Found toys are often much more attractive than a toy which is blatantly introduced.
Making an interactive game out of finding toys or treats is a good rainy day activity for your dog, using up energy without the need for a lot of space. Many of your dog's toys should be interactive. Interactive play is very important for your dog because he needs active people time. By focusing on a specific task, like repeatedly returning a ball, Kong or Frisbee, or playing "hide & seek" with treats or toys, your dog can expel pent-up mental and physical energy in a limited amount of time and space. This greatly reduces stress due to confinement, isolation and or boredom. For young, high-energy and untrained dogs, interactive play also offers an opportunity for socialization and helps them learn about appropriate and inappropriate behavior with people and with other animals, like jumping up or being mouthy.
Puppies Love Chewing ! Puppies may be just as much work as human babies, maybe more so because puppies can't wear diapers and they have very sharp teeth! It's definitely true that, similar to infants and toddlers, puppies explore their world by putting things in their mouths. In addition, puppies are teething until they are about six months old, which usually creates some discomfort. Chewing not only facilitates teething, but also makes sore gums feel better. Although it's perfectly normal for a puppy to chew on furniture, shoes, shrubbery and such, these behaviors can be a problem for you. A puppy won't magically outgrow these behaviors as he matures. Instead, you must shape your puppy's behaviors and teach him which ones are acceptable and which are not.
Problem-solving games and books Think of games your dog could play in your absence. It needs to be mentally stimulating, safe to play in your absence, and reasonably long, no point if it's over in an instant. You could, for example, have a box of cardboard ready with scruffed up newspaper in it, and at the bottom, lots of treats for him to find. There are also lots of excellent brain games on the market, and some of them may be suitable for unsupervised play. A stimulating toy won't replace treatment, nor compensate for long absences, but it will take the edge off as you have just left. In many intense cases, the toy won't even make a dent - if the dog is simply too distressed. So it's just one of the weapons in your arsenal. The aim is to decrease the contrast between your presence and your absence somewhat in terms of mental stimulation.
PETCUBE Petcube Interactive Lets You Play With Your Dog From Anywhere
If you have a pet and work full-time, you likely have some pet parent guilt about leaving them home alone all day. How do you prevent them from just sleeping all day, or worse tearing up your stuff? That's exactly what Petcube aims to change. It's a sleek gadget that connects with your smartphone, allowing you to both see and play with your pet no matter where you are.
the Petcube box contains a wide angle camera, microphone, and speaker, so from the app you can both see and talk to your pet. You will just have to train them to come to the cube when you call. You can take photos and video directly from the app, which means you can capture all those silly moments even if you aren't home. But this isn't just a gadget for keeping an eye on your pet, you can also use the setup to play with them when you are not home.
The Petcube has a built-in laser pointer that you can control with the app. It's a game for both you and your pet! And if anyone in the office asks what you are doing on your phone during the day, just let them know you're exercising your dog or cat. No one can argue with that!
If you don't have a pet, never fear! You will actually be able to play with your friends pets by connecting to their Petcube. The founders eventually hope to install Petcubes in animal shelters to connect pet lovers with dogs and cats that are available for adoption. We are fully in support of using technology to connect future pet owners with their furry friends!
To get a full look at Petcube, take a look at their video:
Train your dog to stay home alone. With love! Digital Dogsitter is the most dog friendly option to help your dog learn to stay home alone. It was developed not only to silence the dog but to cure the issue behind the symptoms.
How Does It Work? Record your own voice 1) You record your own voice to the software
Computer listens to your dog 2) Digital Dogsitter listens to your dog through the microphone
Your voice from the computer calms down the dog 3) When the dog barks, your voice calms him down.
There are over 60,000 pet friendly hotels and vacation rentals in North America. That is a lot of dogs on the road. If your dog has separation anxiety taking him on your travels may seem like an inspired idea. But get it wrong, and dogs with separation anxiety are the worst travel companions. Luckily, there are ways to make it work for you and your dog.
Why does my dog have car anxiety? A dog's anxiety may be less about the car itself and more about the destination, particularly when the journey always ends at the vet's, the groomer's, or a boarding facility. Or something specific might trigger her anxiety, for example the sound the car makes when you drive over rumble strips. And sometimes dogs anticipate travel with anxiety because they have learned it will make them sick in other words, they suffer from true motion sickness, which in turn makes them anxious about traveling in the car. But this is rare, there is usually another underlying reason for dog anxiety.
How can I tell if my dog has carsickness? Your dog will respond well to medication if she has true carsickness. While vomiting in the car is commonly called carsickness or motion sickness, true carsickness results from an inner ear problem - consult your veterinarian about the specific medicine and dosage to try. If your dog is prone to carsickness, avoid feeding her for a couple of hours before your trip.
She may still get queasy in the car, but you will at least avoid cleaning up a huge mess. If you are taking her on a long car trip, smaller treats given at well-timed intervals in lieu of a large meal before travel will help keep her sated enough for comfort over the long haul. And this is not the time to experiment with new treats - stick with the tried and true. For many dogs, though, vomiting in the car is an expression of dread and fear of travel: motion sickness meds won't help these dogs. Some routinely react to car travel this way, others grow out of it as they become more accustomed to it.
How can I keep my anxious dog calm in the car? There are several effective strategies to use before and during car travel with your dog to help calm and reassure this:
Exercise your dog about 20 minutes before your car trip. Activity stimulates endorphins "feel-good" hormones and will also tire her out - she might even settle down for a nap once you hit the road.
Bring her favorite dog toy. She will especially enjoy the recognizable smell of her plush toys.
Bring a familiar blanket with her dog bed, or grab something out of the laundry that smells like you, but don't choose something she is likely to destroy in the back seat.
Keep the car comfortable. Regulate the temperature - crack the window or sunroof to allow in some fresh air - don't allow your dog to hang her head out the window. Soothing music can also reassure your dog. If you plan to crate her, make sure the crate is level and flat, not listing to one side & cover it with a towel if that seems to calm your dog.
Talk to your vet about pheromones. These are chemicals animals release which affect other animals of the same species, usually through smell. A female dog releases a pheromone that calms and reassures her newborn puppies; its synthetic version is available in a spray or collar, and has been shown to help anxious dogs during car travel.
Experiment with homeopathic remedies. The efficacy of these is less documented, but some dog owners swear by them. Made from the essences of flowers and plants, they are worth a try.
Anti-anxiety pressure wraps have been shown to help anxious dogs in stressful situations.
Use a dog restraint in the car - some dogs feel more secure if they are crated or buckled in.
My dog has travel anxiety: how can I help? The best way to treat your dog's travel anxiety is a simple series of exercises in the car to desensitize her. It is important to take your time and acclimate your dog to the car gradually:
Sit in the back seat or cargo area of the car with her. Pet her, praise her, and treat her. Do this for only a few minutes, fewer still or for mere seconds if she seems stressed, and then get out of the car. Repeat the exercise daily or every other day, for as long as a few weeks if necessary. Use common sense: avoid extremely hot or cold days. Gradually increase the duration of each exercise. Consider feeding her in the car while you sit with her and continue to offer praise and affection..
Food is about the most positive thing she can possibly associate with the car - this exercise establishes that association. Once she seems comfortable with the car, take your dog on short trips to fun destinations to the park, on play dates with a doggy pal, or to the pet store, for example. You can use the same fun destination each time, but vary the route and make it longer as you repeat the exercise. Your dog will grow to associate car rides with more than just visits to the vet.
Why travel is hard on a separation anxiety dog? The thing to remember is that when dogs get over fear, they don't generalize their new-found confidence in every scenario. They cope in one context at a time, but the fear can return if you switch things up. You might have experienced this too. If you have anxiety about public speaking, doing the same presentation over and over might help your nerves. But, if you had to present new material, or to new people, your anxiety might return. Learning to drive is another example.When you learned to drive you developed the skill in your own neighbourhood. You breezed round the streets you know. But, when your instructor suggested you go across town, did you feel a little tested again? This is the same pattern we see with a separation anxiety dog. He learns being alone in his home is okay. But he will fall apart in a new location like a hotel.
How dogs learn to lose their fear? When dogs perform a new behaviour we often say: They know it! But, they don't "know" it like we know the capital of France or the name of the first US President. Dogs learn new behaviours the way we learn languages, or to play a musical instrument, or drive a car. Just because your dog has learned he can cope on his own at home, doesn't mean he knows how to cope in other places. When you travel somewhere new, don't expect your fretful dog to be ok. Expect him not to be ok. Then, anything else is a bonus. If you want your dog to chill alone in a hotel or a relative's home, he must learn the drill in the new place.
Dog Travel Tips So what can you do if you are traveling with a dog, anxious or not? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Make it routine Repetition is a big plus. Staying with the same relatives or friends raises your dog's comfort level.
2. Make it familiar Going back to the same hotel may not be practical. Instead take your dog's beds, crate, or blankets. All dogs will feel better staying a place that has their stuff. A hotel stay is not the time to discover your dog doesn't like being in a crate, so know before you go. Many anxious dogs fear crates, so getting him to love his crate might take effort. My anxious dog Percy had extreme crate-phobia. Even the most scrumptious food wouldn't lure him in. After months of training, creeping along at a snai's pace, he now adores his crate. But I still don't leave him in his crate when we go out.
3. Call ahead for a sitter Arrange a dog sitter to come to your hotel or vacation rental. You'd do it traveling with your kids, wouldn't you? The number of accommodations providing lists of pet sitters might surprise you. These sitters get busy though, so book ahead.
4. Try the car If you are lucky, your dog might tolerate staying on his own in the car. Again, try this before you go away. And of course, don't leave him in the car in the hotter months.
And.. Some snakes, but more ladders! As an owner of a separation anxiety dog, you have experienced many ups and downs with your dog's training. You have good weeks and bad. But, it's not Snakes and Ladders. You don't slide back to square one when you have a blip. So when you travel don't freak out if your dog gets upset in a strange place. It's to be expected. Most separation anxiety dogs will not handle the change. But remember, all that's happened is you have switched the context. Stick to what you know and help your dog learn in the new situation. Have plans in place that mean you don't have to leave him. Go slowly and go at his pace. You never know, your dog might surprise you by how well he knows the game.
These are the most common natural remedies used today for separation anxiety and have been used successfully for many years. Today there are many toxic drugs on the market that claim to help your dog but most have side effects which can cause further problems to your dog's health. William Osler quoted great words of wisdom, referring to orthodox medicine: The person who takes medicine must recover twice, once from the disease and once from the medicine.
Helping Your Dog Naturally: Play some music. Choose classical music, calming or easy listening, since the idea is to help calm your dog. News radio can sometimes work, but not if there are talk shows with debates or loud, anxious, excited hosts and guests.
Record normal household sounds and play the recording for comfort. Put on a continuous-play recording of your voice calmly reading a magazine. Occasionally play the tape when you are home so dog does not associate the recording only with your departure.
Try leaving a worn item of our clothing you wear as your smell can bring comfort to your dog.
Being aware of your dog's diet can help: a lot of problems can occur when fed poor quality food and a change to an all natural diet without any artificial ingredients can be hugely beneficial.
Walk, play with and exercise your dog before leaving.
Feed your dog twice per day to avoid any mood swings that can result from low blood sugar. Try feeding the biggest meal of the day before you go out as your dog will feel more content and sleepy after a good walk and a satisfying meal.
Distraction If your dog is nervous because of certain situations, such as fireworks or thunderstorms, or even is nervous about being in a crowd, then distraction can work wonders. Engaging your dog's brain in work will help him focus on you and things he knows, rather than on the unknown around him that's frightening him. While it isn't the time to begin new training, it is a great time to practice tricks your dog knows and can earn rewards for. Try rewarding your dog with treats for simple commands like sit, stand, lie down, shake, sit up, roll over and other tricks he enjoys. Another possibility, especially for dogs who are highly food motivated, is distracting your dog with puzzle toys like a treat ball or tug jug, or even a frozen Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. This can also help him associate frightening things like loud noises or strangers coming over with highly valued rewards, so that the event goes from being scary to being at least tolerable.
Relaxing massage Everyone loves a good massage, and the same can be said for our pets. Massage can help to calm an anxious dog by using long, slow strokes so soothe the nerves. A popular dog massage method is called TTouch, created by Linda Tellington-Jones.
It is a method based on circular movements of the fingers and hands all over the body. The intent of the TTouch is to activate the function of the cells and awaken cellular intelligence. The result is a relaxed dog. Plus, studies have shown that petting a dog or cat can help calm your own nerves, so it is a win-win solution. It's easy to find guides for how to massage your dog to help calm her.
Dog-calming music Humans aren't the only species that can be calmed by soothing music. Many owners leave a television or radio on when they leave the house to help a dog feel comforted. But there is also specialized music that one can play to help particularly anxious dogs. Through a Dog's Ear is a selection of music specifically aimed at calming nervous dogs. The over-arching psychoacoustic theory informing Through a Dog's Ear is summed up in just two words - simple sound. This term refers to the process of minimizing intricate auditory information found in most music. The music of Dog's Ear is intentionally selected, arranged and recorded to provide easeful auditory assimilation. The music can help for a range of situations like separation anxiety and travel anxiety. There are even compilations designed to help desensitize a dog with noise phobias.
Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) Scents can also help calm a dog's anxiety, and DAP is a popular option. It is a synthetic chemical that is based on a hormone produced by lactating female dogs that help keep her puppies calm and increase their bond with her. While scientific studies have shown that DAP does work with puppies, it isn't as clear if it works with anxious adult dogs. Even so, there is the possibility that it can help, and it can be one of several tools used to help an anxious dog. It come as a plug-in diffuser with vials that last about 30 days, and humans aren't able to smell it.
Natural Treatments If you are wary of giving drugs to your dog, or they have a health condition that prevents them from taking it, holistic dog anxiety treatments might be the right choice for them. For homeopathic remedies, look for a dog anxiety medicine based on soothing and safe herbs, such as chamomile, pasque flower or passion flower, to name a few. These natural remedies can come in the form of calming treats for dogs, pills, chewables, sprays or drops. Some popular choices include Ultra Soothe, K9 Calmer, and Bach Rescue Remedy. Other natural dog anxiety treatments include:
Thundershirt, a pet vest that offers your dog a sense of safety by tightly wrapping around their body. The Thundershirt is a popular solution for dog anxiety. It is a tightly fitting garment that wraps around your dog. The idea is that the feeling of continuous pressure can help calm a dog's nerves for things like travel anxiety and, as the name implies, noise anxiety among other issues. However, there isn't much definitive science-based evidence to show that these actually work. Some dog owners swear by it - others have found it hasn't helped. The effectiveness of the Thundershirt may also depend on when and how it is used, and the particular personality and needs of the dog it is used on. So, something like this could be helpful if used alongside other natural solutions with each helping to enhance the benefits of the other.
Dog-calming music can soothe your dog and prevent anxiety attacks, check out dog separation anxiety music mix for nervous furballs!
Products containing dog appeasing pheromone or DAP, often in the form of diffusers and sprays.
Homeopathic and Herbal Remedies
Pulsatilla nigicans (Pasque-flower) This is one of the most common homeopathic medicines given for separation anxiety and should be given in the 6c or 30c. Can be given orally direct into your dog's mouth or added to the dog's water throughout the day. The leading signs with the Pulsatilla dog are clingy, fears being alone, fear of abandonment and becomes very fearful and emotional when left alone. They desire companionship and become very agitated and anxious causing them severe distress.
Calcarea phosphorica (Calcium Phosphate) This is another beneficial remedy used in separation anxiety and best used in the 6c or 30c potency. Dogs needing this remedy can be destructive, chewing furniture and other things in the house. They require endless love and companionship and get very upset on their own. Calc phos types are also terrified of thunder and will shake and tremble while in company during a storm or similar event, but without company they are likely to bolt during a storm and disappear for several days.
Gelsemium (Yellow Jasmine) Animals requiring Gelsemium are often referred to as the trembler. With Yellow Jasmine there is quivering, which can range from a muscle group to the entire body, both inside and out. It is the remedy for anticipatory anxiety and is often used for separation anxiety. The dog can be so worked up it can have diarrhea or involuntary urination when under extreme stress of being alone. It can be given in the 6c or 30c potency either orally into the mouth or in your dog's water.
Passiflora (Passion flower) Calming anti-convulsant. Quiets the entire nervous system. Swift acting and non-addictive. Can be given in tincture form added to daily water.
Scutellaria (Skullcap) and Valerian These are wonderful herbal medicines for the symptomatic relief of anxiety and nervousness. They are invaluable to calm and relax dogs suffering from symptoms associated with separation anxiety.
Avena Sativa (Oatstraw) An anxiolytic producing a sense of calm, similar to Valerian, Passiflora and Scutellaria. Can be added to your dog's water. Comes in tincture and homeopathic pellets.
Chamomila (German chamomile) While Roman chamomile and German chamomile have slightly different medicinal qualities, in general they both treat anxiety in the same manner. Chamomile is a potent sedative used to reduce anxiety in stressed animals. It has the added advantages of calming your dog's belly and helping him sleep. Some pets enjoy chamomile tea as much as we humans do. Or you can soak a small treat in the tea and give it to them. It is available in capsule/tablet and tincture forms as well.
Kava Kava A traditional herb used in Polynesian ceremonies, kava kava reduces anxiety, relaxes tension, including muscle tension, and calms restlessness without loss of mental sharpness. Kava kava is a good herb of choice for a tense, nervous or anxious dog. It is available in capsule, tincture, ground and powdered forms. The ground and powdered forms can be made into a tea and added to the daily water or sprinkled onto food.
1. Chicory Chicory is the essence of choice when normal, desirable attachment and loyalty has become exaggerated into over-dependence or even outright controlling behaviors. Chicory helps "loosen the apron strings," restoring healthy emotional attachment.
2. Heather Heather combines well with Chicory. Indicated when the dog exhibits noisy attention seeking behavior.
3. Red Chestnut Red Chestnut helps the dog who experiences fear and concern, not for himself, but for the owner. While this is not a common emotional motivation for canine separation anxiety, when present, it can be powerful.
4. Honeysuckle Honeysuckle is a good choice for the dog that pines away for the owner when left behind.
Curing separation anxiety quickly is unlikely, so get patient. You might need to experiment with different supplies from the list:
Swaddling Jacket Swaddling jackets work like swaddling clothes for babies. These calming garments use gentle pressure to relieve pet anxiety. The ThunderShirt is an example of an effective dog swaddle. Studies show that pressure wraps can promote relaxation and reduced anxiety in animals, particularly dogs.
Toys Nothing beats a good old toy for an anxious mutt. They are effective, cheap, and available in stores. Some of the common toys for dogs with separation anxiety are chew bones, treats, bully sticks, and puzzles. KONG dog toys are probably the best dog separation anxiety toys. Stuff it with your dog's favorite treat, and this will keep your pooch busy for quite some time. Remember that dogs love toys that squeak. Offer toys when you leave the house and hide them as soon as you return home. It's a healthy distraction while you are away that will help you avoid dog anxiety medicines in the future.
Pet Radio This is one of the simple but often overlooked dog separation anxiety solutions. Turn up the music when you leave the house to keep your dog engaged. Dogs enjoy "species-specific: music that produce unique pitches, tones, and tempos. Pet radios like Pet Acoustics are pre-loaded with music specifically made for canines. These songs have been digitally modified to emit different frequencies with varying decibels, which is why they are calming for dogs.
Calming Supplements Made from herbs, these supplements are natural dog anxiety solutions and a satisfying non-sedative snack. They are available as chewable tablets, water additives, or bone-shaped treats and help calm pups without the nasty side effects. We have heard numerous success stories about the use of natural home remedies for dog anxiety such as chamomile, lemon balm, valerian, skullcap, and echinacea. However, dogs can respond differently, so consult your veterinarian when in doubt.
Aromatherapy Another effective resource for dog anxiety treatment is aromatherapy. Essential oils include lavender, cedarwood, bergamot, vetiver, chamomile, ylang ylang flower, clary sage, and sweet orange. Some fragrances are said to produce neonatal pheromones, reminding dogs of their mothers and reducing anxiety. Just spray a diluted mixture of water and oil on your dog's fur - don't apply the straight oil directly to their skin.
Pet Camera Pet cameras like the Petcube Play cure dog separation anxiety by letting you see, talk to, and play with your pup. Download the Petcube app on your phone to interact with your furry buddy. Dog cameras are the latest breakthrough in pet care. These pet monitors feature 1080p HD video, 2-way audio, night vision, 3x digital zoom, and a built-in laser toy. There is also Petcube Bites which is a Wi-Fi pet cam with a built-in treat dispenser. You can use it to fling calming treats to your dog or just to remotely treat and reward your pooch for good behavior.
HOMEMADE DIY SUPPORTIVE HALF-WRAP This snug band surrounding the dog like this will give them a grounded, secure feeling, sort of like a big hug that doesn't stop. It will help them calm down and at the very least, will keep them from getting too nervous or scared.
If your dog appears to have suddenly forgotten the "rules" and is regressing from their years of training, separation anxiety may be playing a larger role. As one of the most common behavioral issues in older dogs, separation anxiety is extremely prevalent for two major reasons:
Medical Ailments: As your dog ages it may develop a number of health issues that can contribute to separation anxiety problems. Older dogs may experience vision or hearing loss that can make them more anxious in general, especially when they are apart from their owner.
Learned Routine Behavior: It's important to remember that the older your dog gets, the more dependent and reliant on a routine they tend to be. With this in mind, it's easy to understand why something like a small schedule change can have a large impact on their anxiety. All of the situational causes previously discussed can be amplified by your dog's age and years of learned routine behavior.