Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

anxious dog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a part of life for both us and our canine companions.

For us anxiety might mean that feeling you get when you are going to start a new
job and can’t sleep the night before.

Or that gut wrenching feeling just before you parachute out of a perfectly good airplane.

Then there are those people who truly suffer from severe anxiety, and in some cases the anxiety
can be so severe that it causes some people to never leave their homes,and need therapy and medication
just to cope.

What does anxiety mean for our dogs?

Quite often a dog will be anxious about people,children, other dogs, noises, and generally
anything that the dog has not been socialized to accept as a normal part of their lives.

What I find disconcerting is that in a lot of cases dog owners are very cavalier about their dogs anxiety
and they force their dogs to interact with the very things that cause their anxiety..like taking a dog that is anxious about strange dogs to the dog park where they have no choice but to deal with strange dogs, or letting a bunch of random people come up and pet a dog that is anxious about people.

When we talk about separation anxiety in our dogs I often hear people say my dog destroys the house when we leave because he has separation anxiety.

I think it’s important to understand that while destructive behavior can be the end result of anxiety..it is more often a
behavior issue that often is the result of dogs owners punishing their dogs for certain behaviors which teaches the dog that the only safe time to indulge in these behaviors are when the owners are away, on the phone, or taking a shower, and training your dog is the answer.

That being said, destructive behavior can also accompany anxiety..a truly anxious dog in most cases has become anxious because they have unlimited access to their humans..and get so emotionally attached that they fall to pieces when the owners go away.

They will pant,pace, and sweat..and this ramps up the tension and loads adrenalin..so the dog does the only thing they can do to alleviate the anxiety, they go through the house like a hurricane..ripping up the garbage, door frames, beds, couches, and relieve themselves where ever they want.

If you find it’s a case of when the cat’s away the mice will play then training is needed..if it is true anxiety then the
owner must help the dog.

This can only be done, by building confidence in the dog so they can be on their own..

To accomplish this you need to crate train your dog and do it in a way that makes him simply love the crate..

First you would put the crate in the same room as you..and put the dog in with a chew toy filled with his food.

Leave him in there for 5 minutes, then 10 then 15..then move the crate to the next room..then to the farthest end of the house, and repeat the procedure, as the dog gets more confident, begin to leave him longer..and always feed the dog his meals from a chew toy..this will give him something to do in his crate and before you know it he will be looking at you as if to say..can I please go in my crate.

It is the same way I taught my children to spend time on their own..I give them a video game and tell them to stay in the room and play..and they gladly do it..and actually look forward to the time when I would tell them go to your room and play your video games.

Your dog will learn to see chew toys and his crate in the same manner..he gets to chew on something to relieve any stress or anxiety, and he gets a tasty munch while doing it..it’s a win – win situation.

I hope you found this post helpful, and if you did you can let me know by liking my Face Book Page

River Valley Dog Training

all the best,

Harley

tail chase

 

 

 

 

It’s 3 am, you have to work in the morning and you are about to climb right out of your skin. You love your dog but no matter what you do, he just won’t stop sniffing, pacing, circling and scratching the floor. This behavior can sometimes last for hours, until the dog simply runs out of steam and has to fall into a very light sleep. The slightest sound will have him jumping to his feet only to start the whole routine over. Understanding obsession and anxiety in your dog may seem to be impossible for you to comprehend so let me break it down for you.

The symptoms that I described are just a few of the most common behaviors dogs can exhibit when they are suffering from anxiety and obsession. You will first want to take your dog to the vet to rule out any medical issues. If the vet gives your dog a clean bill of health then you must look to other solutions. Other symptoms of (obsession/anxiety) include, but are not limited to…

1. Tail chasing.

2. Licking themselves or other objects,( obsessive licking of body parts will cause injury to the dog),..you will need to take steps to prevent this, ie, funnel collar, to keep dog from licking the affected area.

3. Excessive drinking, even when you know they are not thirsty.

4. Tongue hanging out, drooling, panting.

5. Old age, a dog can have decreased cognitive function, ie,… forget where his food bowl is, don’t respond to commands that you know he understands, no longer socializes with people or other dogs.

6. Turning circles, or spinning, sometimes couple with tail-chasing.

7. Scratching the floor coupled with the turning circles, could be a natural instinctual behavior that became obsessive.

8. Non-stop barking for no apparent reason.

9. Fixating ( staring at), or jumping on a toy or object, for example, a spot on the floor or wall.

10. Snapping of teeth like they were catching a fly.

Any attempts to train a dog to not be anxious or obsessive would be futile. When a dog is in this heightened state of mind, the brain is flooded with chemicals that make listening to you impossible. The dog’s brain, for lack of a better term simply “shuts down”.

It has been my experience that the only way to treat obsession and anxiety in your dog, (outside of the use of drugs, which I never recommend,) is to slowly desensitize your dog slowly over time. Observe the behavior and provide alternative ways for your dog to drain excess energy.

When your dog is not behaving in and obsessive or anxious way, stimulate his mind with a series of obedience training, learn some tricks, teach him to count to three.

Go for long walks and incorporate a game or two of go fetch the stick, or ball.

When your dog is getting enough energy draining mental and physical exercise, he will be much less likely to practice obsessive or anxious behaviors.

A tired dog is a good dog.

That’s all for today,

Good luck, and good training.

Harley