Dogs have many ways of exhibiting anxiety which can be triggered by several things. Marking, licking, constant high energy and chewing or some sort of destruction are all examples. Also, important to mention are: lack of exercise, new events that have unfolded or which the dog senses are pending, a move to a new home, moving the furniture around, a new family member or person residing with you or a new schedule or routine and or long absence can be triggers for anxiety.
Schedule And Exercise:
Dogs who are behaving anxiously, need a structured schedule/ routine and lots of exercise. A schedule prompts a dog to understand what to expect of you and in turn you can know what to expect of them. Dogs love to run over a walk any day. If you can even manage a jog, or any exercise that would allow your dog to run alongside while riding your bike, skateboard, etc.Once the dog has been conditioned to be of a calm disposition for the moment, you now have an advantage and can weed out any other residual behaviors through observation reflecting health issues, etc.
Go Back To The Basics
Crate training is a practice which is not given enough respect. Let him/her sleep during the night in a crate night so he/she has " their safe space". If need be, put the crate alongside your bed to keep them calm while allowing them the time to get used to it. During the day, utilize the crate for no more than 4 hours at a time. The crate should always be considered their "safe haven" so do not use it for punishment. To help them get used to the crate, sit on the floor alongside and let them investigate the space first. You can put their favorite blanket, toy or your shirt in the crate with them for comfort. Each time you put your pet inside, give them a treat/reward. Having their own space helps minimize their anxiety.
Marking is a common symptom of anxiety. Limit roaming in house by keeping doors closed and gates up. Minimizing his/her territory will also help control any symptom of anxiety. Belly bands are terrific for marking dogs, especially, the ones with the elastic on the sides. I suggest cutting up a sanitary napkin for additional absorbency to get the best use. I put the belly band on for my anxious rescue just to manage the accidents in the house. The band gets put on in between each opportunity he is given throughout the day to go outside, at which time it is taken off. I highly recommend it as it has allowed me to gain back control of my home. Before then, the destruction of my carpets and the constant cleaning I had to do was overwhelming. You can read the DDW BLOG 'Dogs and Carpets' to learn how to clean and get the smell out with an inexpensive solution.
Separation Anxiety can be exhibited through behaviors like drooling, panting, destruction and accidents in the house. Exercise is the best medicine for any dog, especially, for separation anxiety. Other options which would allow for distraction can include:
- Kong puzzle toys or a large bone
- TV on for comfort or NOISE
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You can also practice leaving your dog alone in the house for small increments of time in the beginning. Of course, it is best to leave them after an exercise session while leaving them with puzzles or bones as you progress to bigger time frames. The smaller the space is that you leave them in, for example, a full house versus one small size room, the less fearful they will likely be.
FINAL WORDS FROM DDW
Many dog experts say that a dog that is acting out or has bad habits is not the fault of the dog, but the owner. Please educate yourself as a dog owner, in the long run, you will have a happy house and a well adjusted dog always eager to please.
Finally, keep an eye on your dog while training just like you would a mischievous child. This way you can be consistent with your training. Give high praise when the pup is doing well and a firm NO when he/she isn't. Please do not hit your pups, your dog should not fear you!
Remember CONSISTENCY and PERSISTENCE....Best of luck, Kimberly