DOGS & MANAGING THEIR ANXIETY
DDW BLOG Post #0004
Dogs have many ways of exhibiting anxiety which can be triggered by several things. Marking, licking, constant high energy and chewing or destructive behavior are all examples. Also, important to mention are: lack of exercise, new or pending events the dog senses, a new home, moving the furniture, a new person residing with you, a new schedule or routine or long absence can be triggers for anxiety. This DDW BLOG post gives you some ideas and resources on how to manage their behavior and training.
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Behaviors that are symptoms of anxiety include: panting, pacing, urinating or defecation, depressed, destructive, aggressive and excessive barking.
Schedule And Exercise:
A structured schedule/ routine and lots of exercise is excellent for bonding with you and especially any other family dogs. 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 altered to a calm disposition through exercise, take advantage of the moment. They are more easily focused in this state; you now have an advantage and can train or weed out any other behaviors through observation also reflecting health issues, etc. Dogs bond through exercise and play, so keep this in mind while introducing a new pup to an already established pack. "The pack" would mean any family member, you included, and any other animals in the household.
Crate training If you choose to crate him/her for sleep or during the day, it should always be " their safe space", so do not use it for punishment. To help set them up for success and familiarize them with 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 gives them a place to go to minimize any anxiety they may be feeling. The crate image to the right is linked to Amazon if you are interested in the product.
During the day, utilize the crate for no more than 4 consecutive hours at a time. However, leading up to the four hours, practice leaving them for short then to longer periods of time so they understand that you are coming back. Remember, they may develop anxious behavior if this training is not handled properly. They have a pack mentality, so it may be expected that they bark endlessly or destroy the area they were left in at first. If we use time and patience for crate training, you will both be better off in the long run.
I highly recommend both belly bands and female panties. It would be my suggestion not to allow any dog who is exhibiting behaviors that still need to be rectified to have free-roam of the house. During the day, utilize the crate for no more than 4 consecutive hours at a time. However, leading up to that, practice leaving them for short then longer periods of time until they understand that you are coming back. Puppies have tiny bladders, therefore, you would want to build up to a full night, eventually. Remember, they may develop anxious behavior if this training is not handled properly. They have a pack mentality, so it may be expected that they bark endlessly. If time and patience are used for crate training, you will both be better off in the long run.
Preventing accidents from marking:
Belly bands, especially with the elastic on the sides, are tare terrific for males who mark or are suffering from incontinence. Click here for the ones I personally use for my male pup from Amazon. I suggest cutting up and inserting a sanitary napkin for additional absorbency to get the best use. I put the belly band on for my anxious rescue to avoid accidents and marking in the house. The band gets taken off in between each opportunity he is given throughout the day to go outside. It is also taken off during crate time at night; it is important to allow the area to breathe. This regimen 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. Regarding females who can be exhibiting behaviors like marking, incontinence or a heat cycle, try washable panties and insert a sanitary napkin for additional absorbency to get the best use. Again, there should be a time of day or night set aside to allow the area to breathe. DDW sells washable panties here.
Anxiety or 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. Take your pup on a very long walk or out for playtime; tire them out before you leave...this is good for them. Other options which would allow alleviate anxiety can include:
- Kong puzzle toys or a large bone (for the larger pups)
- TV on for comfort or NOISE
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To work on separation anxiety, 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. Leave them with KONG puzzles or bones to occupy them. A smaller space to leave them in is best. A larger room would add to the anxiety.
A Healthy Diet: Remember ever hearing: "You are what you eat"? This also pertains to our pets. A bad diet can produce anxiety in your dog. Most supermarket foods are not recommended and can cause many health issues. Do your due diligence and really research healthy choices for such categories as age, breed, health challenges along with nutritional supplements.
If you have an overly anxious dog and you have exhausted all of your options, seek the services of a veterinarian. Vet's are great resources to bounce ideas off of before you implement any new regimen. Keep in mind, if you ask your vet about CBD products, many cannot give opinions due to the present challenge with FDA regulations.
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
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- "Dogs and Managing Their Anxiety" can be found on YouTube