Separation anxiety is a very stressful behavioral issue that effects a huge percentage of the dog population, possibly as high as 14%. It is one of the most misunderstood issues with people trying to treat it by approaching it from a human point of view and failing to see the cause.
The answer to how to stop separation is simple. Show your dog that you are the pack leader.
Let me explain.
Recognizing that the following behaviors are symptoms is a start.
They are as wide ranging as they are distressing for the dog, but by treating them you are not treating the cause of the problem.
First ask yourself the question; does the behavior stop when you return? If so then I suggest that you’re being away is actually connected to the cause. Lets take a look at a few of the key symptoms.
Chewing –releases an endorphin similar to the one released when a human is chewing gum in an attempt to stay calm.
Barking, whining – this is a call for the owners to return to the pack, similar to if you were to call your children when you can’t find them
Escaping when you are not there – often very destructive, extreme and sometimes dangerous.
Your dog is looking for you. So many people are told to try and exercise the problem out of their dog but it will not solve the problem
Digging, destruction – this is all connected to stressful and anxious behavior.
Self-mutilation – excessive, licking and chewing oneself. Excessive drooling is also a sign of stress.
These are signs that are often mistaken for being medical conditions but are all stress related
Toileting – if your dog is toilet trained but starts going toilet inside and you think that it is behavioral then it could well be.
If it is only occurring when your dog is away from you then it is very likely connected to your dog having separation anxiety
Whilst there are lots of places that you can find advice on how to treat all these symptoms there is only one way to treat the cause of the problem.
If you are serious about how to stop separation anxiety then you must become the pack leader.
Separation anxiety is a very straight forward problem that occurs when your dog believes they are the pack leader and your are their puppy or member of their pack.
In the wild dogs do not wander off out the den on their own and your dogs separation anxiety will continue until you return to him.
Once you show your dog that you are the pack leader your dog will be fine with you coming and going as you please.
Understanding the real cause of the problem is the first step, becoming the pack leader is the solution.
Put a stop to pulling and train your dog to walk well on the leash.
Paws up, dog owners – who’s nursing a sore arm or a strained shoulder after walking your four-legged friend down the street?
It’s a sure bet that many pet owners out there are in this situation – some of our dogs seem to go bananas when it’s time for their daily stroll, and then spend the time afterwards either bouncing along like furry yo-yos at the end of the leash, or pulling their owners down the sidewalk like furry freight trains.
In fact, most of our canine companions get very excited long before we even ever get out the door!
Although most of us would say that we love spending time with our pooches, these walk-time shenanigans can turn a pleasant jaunt into an unwelcome workout.
Though larger dogs tend to be the biggest pulling culprits, many smaller dogs are strong as well, and may spend their time straining their collars too.
What most owners don’t realize is that putting a leash on in the house while their dog is in this state not only rewards bad behavior while they’re inside, but also pretty much guarantees that your pup is going to continue to be overexcited and pull while they’re walking on leash.
Teaching your dog the right behaviour before you even head out of the house is the first stage of training your pup to walk properly on a leash, so let’s look at how to set your dog up for success before your walk even begins!
First, get your supplies ready:
Your dog’s leash
Soft tasty treats (lots of them!), cut into pea size bites
Timer with an alarm
Start inside, in a low distraction situation for your dog.
Begin with your furry friend off their leash, with the leash in its normal storage place. Move towards the leash area as if you’re going for a walk, but watch your pup closely!
If they become excited, start to bark, or show any unwanted behaviors, then stop right away, ignore your dog, and wait for them to calm down. (Relaxation is really the name of the game here)
Once your happy hound has calmed themselves down, (meaning four paws on the floor, quiet, and with a relaxed body stance), reward them with a tasty tidbit and move your hand toward the leash.
If your dog becomes excited by this action, then stop, move back, and again wait for your pup to calm down. Reward good behaviour! It’s very important to avoid using harsh commands or punishment during this training, as that can confuse or frighten your pup..
Now begin picking up the leash. Stop, ignore any bad manners, and put the leash back in its place if your dog starts getting worked up at this point.
Praise your furry friend and reinforce with a treat immediately when you see them settle down, and repeat until you can hold the leash in your hand without your dog becoming keyed up.
Remember to move forward at your dog’ pace! If you find that he can’t simmer down once you’ve got the leash on, then take the leash off and move back a step with training, using smaller steps (for example, giving your pooch a reward when they stay calm if you just bend down at first).
Keep training sessions short and positive, a maximum of 4-5 minutes long. (Psst -that’s where the timer comes in!) This avoids frustration for both you and your furry friend during training.
It’s particularly important to also practice this with your pup at different times of day, even when you’re not going out for a walk! This will help to desensitize your dog to the leash and promote good doggie manners when it really is time to go outside.
If you’ve gotten to a place in your training where your pooch is relaxed when the leash is on, begin moving towards the door – and training doesn’t stop here! The goal is to have your dog walking nicely with the leash loose, of course.
Some dogs are particularly determined pullers, so while you’re still working on leash manners, it can often be helpful to fit your dog for a head halter or a front attaching, no-pull harness that allows you to redirect their attention back to you while you’re out on normal walks.
If your furry freight train starts to pull, quickly change direction, call your dog’s name, and reward them with praise and treats when they return to your side and give you their attention. With time and patience, you’ll be walking like a team in no time! If you would like more ongoing training for this or any other dog behavior issues Click Here!
* The information contained on this site – www.dogsonline.co is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice, all content contained within this website is for information purposes only. If you are in any way concerned about the health or well being of your dog please consult with your vet as soon as possible.
How many times have you heard it said that socialization is the key to a well rounded and happy dog? It can sound like a broken record when your vet, neighbor, co-workers and anyone you pass on the street tells you to socialize your dog!
Even though it may be repetitive, you actually do need to socialize your dog, for you and your dog’s sake! Socialization from a dog’s point of view is not just meeting other dogs and people.
While a dog park can be good and fun for your dog to learn doggy language, it is not the one and only thing you need to do to socialize your dog!
Socialization is important for your dog to learn how to communicate safely with other dogs and of course people.
However, socialization includes objects, different types of flooring or ground, loud noises, other animals and so much more!
Socializing With Other Dogs
Your dog must learn how to communicate using only body language with others of his kind, even if he is the only dog in your home.
In fact, if he is your only canine companion it is even more important that he learns how to effectively talk doggy language!
If you ever send your dog to a boarding kennel that allows dogs to play together, attend a dog park where he will always meet other unknown dogs or go to doggy day care his ability to understand and speak canine body language can keep him safe!
You can help your dog or puppy to do this by attending socialization classes at your local kennel club. Sometimes even pet stores hold these classes!
You will learn all about dog language and let your dog interact with and learn from other dogs in a controlled and safe environment.
Remember the last time you were asked to speak in front of a group of people and how incredibly nervous you were, or how your palms were hot and sweaty before a job interview?
That is a form of anxiety, and your dog could be suffering from a chronic version of anxiety. Imagine how much that fear made butterflies flutter in your gut and just how fearful you were.
Try to imagine what it would be like to be a dog with that fear all the time and no way to tell your human family about it? Step up to the responsibility of recognizing and treating your dog’s anxiety.
Just as people have different levels and types of anxiety from simply being nervous in a situation to having a real disorder, the anxiety a dog may be suffering or feeling could be very complex.
1. The Reactive Dog
Dogs can lash out, growl, bark or even bite simply because they are afraid.
This is his only way of communicating, he cannot look to you and say, “I’m not happy in this situation, I need to walk away!” You can help him feel more comfortable while exercising on the leash, when family members or friends visit your home and in other unfamiliar or potentially stressful situations by changing his emotion from scared to calm and relaxed using positive reinforcement.
There are two methods of going about helping an anxious, reactive dog through this debilitating condition. One method is counter conditioning in which you provide a positive reward like a treat whenever your dog notices but does not react to his trigger.
The other is called desensitization and helps the dog over come his fear through steady and slow exposure to his trigger, helping him to become uninterested or simply numb to it entirely.
Both are highly useful, but choosing which route to go should be discussed with your local professional canine behaviorist with your dog’s personality in mind!
The term aggression applied to dogs can mean many things. It is important to understand that aggression is a behavior and that behavior does not occur in a vacuum. Whenever a dog exhibits unwanted behavior there is sure to be a reason. It is also important to realize that aggressive behavior does not occur without warning.
There are a number of warnings to watch for. A low, sharp bark may be a warning. If your dog becomes very rigid and still and shows his teeth, or clicks his teeth together, it can mean that aggression is impending.
The best way to avoid aggression in dogs is to use common sense and provide good rearing, socializing and training. Regardless of whether you have started with your dog as a puppy or an adult, there are lots of things you can do to avoid and address aggressive behavior.
In this article we will identify the 11 common triggers of aggression in dogs and give some advice on how to watch for them and how to respond. Read on to learn more.
1. Protecting Territory
It is natural for dogs to protect their territory. Although you do want your dog to alert you when strangers are present and to discourage trespassing by other animals, you want this done appropriately. A properly socialized dog will bark appropriately to let you know that something needs your attention. Be sure to praise your dog for alerting you and discourage him or her from being aggressive.
Your dog may also be territorial about you or about his or her own space. You can sometimes let your dog know that the person you are talking with or the people around you are not a threat to you by shaking hands with them and displaying friendliness yourself.
If your dog is territorial about his or her own space, to some extent you should respect this. Your dog should have a quiet, private space where he or she can get away from others and take a break if needed. It’s a good idea to set up an airline crate in a quiet corner with food and water close at hand that your dog can retreat to.
2. Protecting Members Of The Pack
In the wild, canines are very social animals who live in packs. They protect and defend their own. In a domestic setting, you and the rest of your family are pack members to your dog. Your dog may naturally aggress when he or she feels that one of you is threatened.
Your dog may also aggress against you or your family members if she has puppies. This is natural, but of course it should be discouraged.
You should give your dog the proper amount of space and respect to care for her babies. She will probably calm down after a day or two.
Sometimes a dog may feel threatened when new members are added to the family. This may be a baby or new spouse or any other new member of the household.
It’s important to let the dog see that the new family member belongs and is welcome. Remember that babies and toddlers should never be left alone with any dog.
3. Food Aggression
A dog that comes from an unknown background may have had some hungry times. This can cause food aggression, and it can be quite serious.
To avoid having food aggression develop in any dog, you should always feed your dog the same amount in the same place at the same time every day.
Your dog’s food dishes should be in an out-of-the-way place where he or she will not be disturbed while eating.
While it is ideal to have a foolproof dog that will not feel threatened if petted while eating, it’s smart to make sure that all members of the family understand that the dog should be left alone at feeding time. It’s also kinder to the dog to simply respect its space and allow it to eat.
If you have taken in a dog that has been starved in the past, consistent, ample, regular daily feedings will eventually help your dog feel more secure about food.
4. Defending Belongings
Some types of dogs like to hide food, toys and other special belongings. This seems especially to be true of terrier type breeds.
This type of dog may aggress when he or she thinks that another dog or person is trying to get a coveted object. This can be especially distressing if your dog has hidden something and you are completely unaware of its whereabouts.
If your dog likes to hide special treasures and then defends them vigorously whenever anyone comes near, it’s smart to take note of favored-hiding places. You might also try correcting the behavior by gently moving hidden objects to an “approved” hiding place.
For example, you might place a special box or basket in the back of your dog’s airline crate or house and simply move these treasures to that place whenever you find them. It’s very important that no one ever bother the approved hiding place, though.
5. Defensive And Fear Aggression
Dogs that are afraid of being hurt may aggress because of fear. A dog that lacks confidence or one that has been abused in the past may attack out of fear. This type of dog may be afraid of many things that you might not think are frightening.
A dog that has low confidence will usually try to get away before it will attack; however, if a dog is backed into a corner literally or figuratively, he or she may aggress in self-defense.
A dog that lacks confidence that has been put in this position multiple times may aggress as the first course of action when frightened.
To avoid fear aggression, it’s very important that you know that your dog has this tendency. A dog that has been abused may very well have triggers that you’re unaware of. This is why it’s very important to treat any dog gently and consistently.
Put time and effort into socializing your dog and working with him or her to create good communication and obedience.
Good training will help your dog to be more confident and to know how to respond appropriately even in frightening situations.
When you decide to add a dog to your family, things change a lot. There’s obviously a lot more work involved in bring up a dog, especially if your new family member is a puppy.
One of the more challenging aspects of being a new dog owner is training him/her. If you’ve never owned a dog previously then you are in for some surprises along the way.
I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the breeds that are the easiest to train.
Here are 10 of my personal favorites. Please feel free to let me know your choices as well.
1. Border Collie
For those seeking an ambitious, energetic, fun, obedient, and loyal fur friend, the Border Collie provides all that and so much more. The Border Collie is always eager to please and it thrives off positive reinforcements.
However, it should be noted that although Border Collies are one of the easiest dogs to train, they’re more suited for experienced dog owners who understand this breed’s temperament and know what they’re doing when it comes to handling dogs.
Without proper handling, Border Collies may not be getting the required “training style” it needs in order to shine at their best.
2. Doberman Pinscher
Contrary to what their reputation may portray, the Doberman Pinscher is a gentle and obedient breed. Known to be reliable and loyal, the Doberman was originally bred to provide protection but can be trained in a multitude of avenues today.
More fitting with experienced owners, this dog breed can be a great fit for even a beginner if gentle and consistent training is used.
The Doberman is also known to take on the personality and temperament of its owner. A very noble and easily recognizable breed, this dog can provide you many years of friendship and companionship.
3. Bernese Mountain Dog
Classified as part of the working dog category, this beautiful, fun loving, and hardworking dog loves playing outdoors.
The Bernese Mountain Dog is an excellent choice if children, even small children, are in the home. It’s known to be extremely reliable around children so you won’t have anything to fear by leaving your child with this dog.
Although this good natured dog can be an ideal fit for most homes, it loves the outdoors and is not heat tolerant. As a result, close monitoring should be done when it’s rolling about in your garden, particularly during the summer.