Tag Archives: dog anxiety

Guest Blog: how to resolve K9 separation anxiety!

Image by Cherie Marquez

Anxiety can develop in canines at any age. Separation anxiety can lead to negative and even destructive behaviors and will only worsen with time. So it’s important to address any separation anxiety early whether it’s a puppy or a newly rescued adult dog.

Start with a dedicated space for your dog. It could be:
~ A crate or playpen.
~ A small, confined room in the house.

If you rescued a dog with separation anxiety, it will take some time and patience, but the problem can be solved. Please be patient!!

Never see confinement as a negative thing (your dog will pick up on this energy). Dogs are like wolves and see their “den” (i.e., a confined space) as their “safe place” when introduced slowly and properly.

Never use a crate, or any other space, as “punishment.” A crate also offers you peace of mind when you can’t be there that your dog cannot destroy your home. I have seen some horrible home destruction done by a dog.

Resolving K9 Separation Anxiety: Steps One and Two

Photo by Julissa Helmuth from Pexels

FIRST, put the crate in an area of the house where the dog cannot see you getting ready or leaving the house. You might also want to use a plastic-covered crate, so the dog does not hurt themselves trying to get out.

Slowly introduce and acclimate your dog to their crate over an extended period of time before leaving them on their own for several hours or all day. The more time you spend on this training phase, the better the results will be for your dog.

In the beginning, let your dog explore the crate on his own leaving the door wide open. Once he is comfortable, put him in the crate with a deer antler or empty marrow bone with a little bit of (xylitol-free) peanut butter in the middle to create a happy and pleasurable association for your dog. Your goal is to get your dog’s attention on the bone instead of the fact you’re leaving him alone. Quietly close the door.

SECOND, go outside for 3–5 minutes (and increasingly longer) then come back in and quietly let them out of the crate. DO NOT say anything, just let the dog out, so they realize that they can be comfortable and happy in the crate. Every dog is different so be patient and work on your dog’s timetable and never force them to accept being confined.

Resolving K9 Separation Anxiety: After Training

Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

Remember, dogs are very perceptive and quickly learn our daily routines. So, before you start getting ready to leave, put your dog in their crate (where they cannot see you) to avoid leaving your dog in a very high state of anxiety from knowing you’re leaving. Many owners misinterpret any accidents as being done on purpose; this is not true. With all the pent-up anxiety and fear, your stressed canine can no longer control its bodily functions. It’s just like a person with a nervous stomach, who cannot help but throw up or have a bowel movement.

If you are a stay-at-home parent or work from home, DO NOT have your dog with you at all times. Encourage your dog to be able to be on their own even if you are home. This is a good thing, no need to feel guilty! If you have the chance to leave the house for a little bit, even if it is for 15 minutes, please do, so your dog will get used to you leaving and coming home. When you do leave and come home, do not make a big deal because that will raise your dog’s anxiety.

K9 Separation Anxiety Begins Early!

I’d like to address something that’s been really bothering me lately. It’s also been a very big problem this year especially with all the new COVID puppies. Many breeders are selling puppies too young. There is no reason why puppies should leave their mom and littermates at less than 8 weeks old. They learn so much from their mother and littermates and this is negatively diminished when they are sold too young.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Not only are many breeders selling puppies too young, but then many are put into a crate and travel long distances in an overwhelming airplane cargo area. This causes major crate anxiety and fear from the loud noises and unknown smells. Then, when they finally land, these poor puppies are typically handled by people who are not gentle or even knowledgeable about these impressionable little creatures. Imagine being traumatized like this at less than 2 months old along with the fact that these puppies are usually covered in pee and feces!

Once traumatized, it is very difficult to fix crate anxiety and separation anxiety because these puppies typically pee and defecate from overwhelming anxiety as soon as they are put in a crate. This is because the confinement now represents a bad and even terrifying experience. Even if you switch to a playpen, which gives them more space, it can still cause major anxiety from what they’ve been through. This early trauma causes issues like:
~ Hurting themselves from trying to bite the cage or dig their way out at the bottom.
~ Unwanted and extreme barking, whining and crying.
~ Extreme shyness and fear making even a simple walk impossible once they hear loud noises.
~ Constant attempts to slip out of their collars from their natural response to flee when afraid.

So when is the ideal age to adopt a new puppy? Between 10-13 weeks.

K9 Separation Anxiety: Obedience Training is Priceless

Image by Katrin B. from Pixabay 

Obedience training is so important for creating – and maintaining – routines along with daily peace and balance in your household. It establishes you as your dog’s leader and also helps tire out your dog from the mental stimulation of regular dog training sessions.

The best part is that training does not take long when done daily. Even if you work with your dog for just 10-15 minutes before you leave, that’s perfect! Also, take your dog out before you leave and remember to give them a bone in the crate and quietly walk out without making a big deal!


Remember, A Tired Dog is a Happy Dog!



K9 Separation Anxiety: Severe Cases

For severe separation anxiety cases, a Bootcamp program is the only effective training because the dog is separated from the family and stays at a training facility for several weeks. While the dog is being re-trained, the family is also learning how to change some of their own habits before the dog comes home. Remember, K9 anxiety and separation anxiety does not resolve on their own, so reach out for expert help, as soon as possible, for your dog’s overall happiness and well-being!


Meet Our Guest Blogger: Cherie Marquez

Image by Cherie Marquez

Cherie Marquez is The Dog Mystic and gratefully living her dream!

Cherie’s motto is Happy Dogs = Happy Owners and it’s her mission is to keep dogs in their forever home.

The Dog Mystic instructs dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds, and does not discriminate against any K9 breed. Cherie works on problem-solving, commands, and exercises to strengthen your bond with your dog(s) on the soul level, so they will always be family.

You can learn more about Cherie Marquez here: TheDogMystic.com.


Guest Blog: Is Your Puppy Too Excited Around Other Dogs?

Dogs are naturally social creatures that enjoy attention. As a matter of fact, nothing more can make them go gaga than chancing upon their own kind, regardless of breed. That should not come as a total surprise because dogs came from a long line of ancestors who had thrived living in packs.

Photo by Eva Blue on Unsplash

 

Why You Need to Teach Your Puppy to be Calm

Unfortunately, some puppies and even adult dogs find it hard to contain their excitement and go completely overboard when around other canines. A dog may bark, whine or lunge at other dogs when they are giddy. These actions may come from a friendly standpoint, but the other dog might perceive it as a threat, especially if their personal space is being violated.

If your puppy or adult dog acts this way, he might be in danger of being attacked by another dog. Also, if this hyperactive behavior is ignored, it may progress into aggressiveness. This tendency is more evident in dogs that show signs of fear and anxiety. But, addressing the issue should be done in the right manner. Yelling will not help and will only impose a sense of negativity to the dogs involved. Also, if you pull your leashed dog close to you when he is about to interact with another dog, this can create unwanted tension. If you reprimand your dog for acting this way, it will lead him to think negatively about associating with other dogs, fueling unwanted and negative behaviors.

 

Is Your Dog Excited or Stressed?

Did you know that dogs often look the same way when they are excited or stressed? This can be a shocker for most pet parents to realize what they once viewed as a happy behavior is actually a cry for help.

It is not bad for dogs to get excited, but there are key differences between:

  • Stressed and anxious energy; and
  • Happy and enthusiastic canine energy.

A dog’s energy depends on their mental state at the time. As owners, we often observe their physical behavior without understanding the true energy behind it. Dogs are “cute” when they are over-excited or over-stimulated, but this attitude is not ideal for your dog. Also, when we match this type of excited energy from our dogs, they respond with more excitement, heightening their already intensified feelings which can lead to unwanted behavior.

To identify whether your dog is exhibiting signs of anxiety or excitement, take note of how he behaves when he is in a relaxed state. You can see how comfortable a dog is based on his posture and behavior. It can also be characterized by a soft gaze with squinted or rounded eyes and ears slightly erect and placed forward (does not apply to dogs with floppy ears). When you talk to him, he acknowledges you by moving his ear backward and relaxing his mouth.

Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

 

Other Reasons Your K9 is Overactive Around Other Dogs

  • Aside from anxiety, your dog might be displaying fear. So when he acts in a reactive manner, other dogs and their owners may walk away in avoidance or fear, which is your dog’s intention if he is fearful.
  • Another reason is frustration. Many dogs feel restrained due to the leash wrapped around their neck that holds them back whenever they are excited to see other dogs. You also see this type of dog behavior with closed fences and gates.

Defining Your Role as a Canine Parent

Your dog might be too overeager upon seeing other dogs. Acknowledging your dog’s need to be with other dogs is essential. But, he has to learn to approach potential friends – and even old friends – with confidence and calmness. To protect your furbaby and ensure that he is capable of handling different social situations, you need to identify the root cause of this excitement. As mentioned earlier, some dogs act all gung-ho when seeing other dogs to mask their anxiousness or fear. If this is the case with your dog, you will need to address potential issues with anxiety, fear or frustration when training your dog to be calm.

Prevention is better than cure, many would say. The easiest method to prevent your dog from acting out when they see another dog is to go the other way. But do not wait until your dog gets all riled up.  Properly socializing your dog as soon as possible will also help avoid unwanted, unsocial and overexcited behaviors.

The following methods below can help your dog learn:

  1. To channel their extra energy into something positive; and
  2. Help them learn how to stay calm and collected when hanging out with his peers.

 

Two Ways to Calm Your Puppy Down

During training, use a well-fitted harness to protect your puppy’s neck if he lunges forward upon seeing another dog. You might also want to ask a friend to help out and lend you his or her emotionally-stable and mature dog that will not overreact to your puppy’s over-eagerness or unbridled playfulness. Always reward your puppy’s good behavior with his favorite treat!

Method #1: Calm to Me

  • Enlist the help of a friend with a calm dog. Meet them in a park or have them join you and your leashed puppy for a walk. Keep all training short and fun
  • Once you see your friend and their dog, ask them to stop at a distance where your dog is still comfortable and not becoming overexcited. Tell your dog to sit or stay.
  • Ask the other dog to slowly approach. As soon as you notice your dog starting to go into a frenzy (timing is very important), ask your friend and their dog to stop, turn around, and walk away.
  • Wait until your dog is calm once again and repeat the process. As long as your dog remains calm and remains in the sit and stay position, the other dog can continue to move toward him. But the moment he begins barking, lunging or getting aggressive, your friend and their dog should stop, turn around and walk away.
  • Repeat the process for a few days until your dog fully grasps the concept and use this process to introduce to him other dogs.

Method #2: Sit and Stay

  • Have your friend bring their calm dog over to your home. Before the dog and his owner come, place your dog on a leash.
  • Once the new dog enters your premises, command your dog to sit or stay. Tug the leash gently to the side if necessary to get your dog’s attention (but refrain from pulling back).
  • If your dog maintains a composed demeanor and obeys your orders, hand him a treat. Repeat several times with different dogs for several weeks until your dog automatically calms down without any command when seeing a dog.
  • Once your dog has learned how to act properly when there is another dog, have him socialize with all kinds of other dogs.

Photo by MaggieLovesOrbit On Insta on Unsplash

 

Dogs are naturally sociable and reprimanding or pulling them back when they get excited will not resolve the underlying issue. Use the tips and methods detailed above to train your dog to be more social and less reactive with anxiety, over-excitement or even fear. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for expert help! A dog trainer or behaviorist can help identify behavioral issues and design an effective plan of action to create a happy, confident and social dog!

 


Meet our Guest Blogger:

Brian Larsen is the Co-Founder and CEO of RejuvaPet, LLC — the creator of RestoraPet and RestoraPet Hemp. He spent nearly 10 years developing these products to rehabilitate and protect pets at the cellular level, for a vastly improved quality of life.