Does your dog bark incessantly when you leave your home? Does your dog chew holes in the couch when you’re gone? What about endless energy, heavy panting, or Nascar circles around the house before you leave?
If you’ve answered YES to any of the above, chances are your dog has dog anxiety. Just like humans, dogs get anxious and nervous is varied situations. In order to manage dog anxiety certain stress reduction methods can be taken.
1. Thunder Shirt. A Thunder Shirt is a cotton jacket that adheres with a velcro strap to bring comfort and security to your dog. They were developed for dogs who have anxiety in a thunderstorm. I have found these to give great results with dogs that show signs of separation anxiety and other incessant dog behaviors..i.e..licking, chewing, and high energy drives. The security and tight fit of the Thunder Shirt will bring calmness and stress reduction to your dog, bringing about less anxiety and fear. Thunder Shirts can be purchased at any Choice Pet Markets (6) valley locations.
2. White Noise. A dog who is anxious most often times will find comfort when you leave if a radio, TV, or even a pre-recorded taped conversation of you and your family is left playing for them to hear. The calming sounds will bring the dogs stress down and make them less stressed when no one is home.
3. Exercise. Just as humans need exercise to stay fit and lower stress, so do dogs! Try to walk your dog 2x a day, thirty minutes each walk. Walking the dog will bring his energy down and also provide daily command obedience while on the walk..i.e. sit, leave it, stay, heel, and down. You may also consider a doggie back pack to strap on Fido! The extra weight will give the illusion that he is working and will also add to making him more tired. Agility training, playing fetch, basic command work, swimming, and scent retrieval are other great forms of exercise for your dog.
4. Oral Fixation – Bones. Dogs by nature are oral animals. Chewing brings them comfort and security. By providing your dog a chew source to act as a “pacifier”, there is a much better chance they will have a job to do and become less anxious when you leave. The types of bones to consider leaving with your dog are: bully beef sticks, compressed raw hide (brown NOT white), kong toys filled with peanut butter or vegetables, and marrow bones. ALWAYS supervise your dog with a new bone or oral toy to be sure they don’t swallow it whole. Bones and other chew toys can also be purchased at any Choice Pet Markets (6) valley locations.
5. Medication. As a LAST resort, for the severe anxiety dog, medication may be considered. I’d recommend having the dog evaluated by your local vet and then beginning with the smallest dose of the appropriate anti-anxiety dog medication. Most popular meds are: Clomipramine (Clomicalm) or Fluoxetine (Reconcile or Prozac.) Dog medications work best with a combination of command obedience, exercise, and oral fixation (bones and other chew toys.) Eventually, the dog should be able to wean off the anti-anxiety meds, and be calm-submissive with other stress reduction remedies.
With a balanced approach to dog anxiety you will be able to find the best stress management solutions for your dog. Be patient and soon everyone will be napping peacefully.
Mark Siebel – Owner of Doggie Steps Dog Training, Chandler, AZ
Since 2005, Mark Siebel has trained over 6000 satisfied K’9’s and customers alike. The goal has always been to show owners how to properly integrate their dog into the home setting. Consulting on what breed of dog to buy, where to buy/rescue from, preparing your home for your new puppy and health/nutrition are just a few ways DOGGIE STEPS helps its customers.