In our new world of pandemic induced staying at home, separation anxiety is new for some pets. Has your dog gotten used to you being home all day? Has your cat enjoyed all the extra time she gets to lay in your lap? If you are seeing some new behaviors in your pets as you prepare to leave your house or while you are away, read on.
What is Separation Anxiety?
Separation anxiety is a sign of distress in your pet. It is triggered when a dog is upset because of separation from their pet parents, or the people they are most attached to. Did you know that the anxiety is so extreme for some pets that they try hurt themselves trying to get out of the house? You may notice that your pet becomes agitated as you prepare to leave the house. They understand what is about to happen.
Some dogs will try to prevent their favorite people from leaving. Then, right after their pet parents leave the house the separation anxiety becomes so bad they act out. For instance, some animals will bark incessantly. Others will begin destroying objects around the home. Furthermore, some will urinate or defecate in the house. Pets are not equipped the way humans are to cope with missing someone they love.
Did You Know: Separation anxiety is often more prevalent in dogs who have spent time in a shelter? Being surrendered by their family and left behind at a shelter leaves a lasting impression for many animals.
Treating Mild Separation Anxiety in Pets
The goal in treating this reaction is teaching them to enjoy or at least tolerate being left alone.
First, speak with your veterinarian to rule out any other underlying issues. Then, take action to counter-condition the behavior.
This means focusing on developing an associate with being left alone with good things. For instance, their favorite food or treat. What does that mean? Try offering your pet a treat puzzle each time you leave the house. For example, try giving your dog a puzzle stuffed with something really tasty, like peanut butter, spray cheese, small training treats, frozen banana, or canned dog food. Some toys can even be froze. This makes getting the treat take even more of your dog’s time. Most importantly, remove these toys as soon as you return home so that your dog only has access to them when he’s by himself. They’ll begin to associate something fun with you getting ready to leave the house and their time alone.
Dogs with more severe cases of separation anxiety may require a different approach. Speak with your vet for ideas and treatment plans.
Going Back to Work
As the world, and businesses, begin to get back to normal, your pet’s schedule is being disrupted again. If you find yourself going back to the office one day or five days per week, this will trigger more separation anxiety episodes.
When you can, try to take your pet to work with you. Since this is not realistic for many, hiring a pet sitter will help with their anxiety. Believe it or not, most pets suffering from separation anxiety are calmed as long as someone, even if not you, are with them.
Canine social anxiety is a real problem for more dogs than you’d imagine. Therefore, if you have ever been asked to start your puppy on socialization, it is in part due to the debilitating effects of social anxiety. Dogs who were not socialized as puppies can have some degree of this anxiety. Anxiety is typically seen in a more devastating degree in dogs that have had no human contact. Dogs from puppy mills, or those with no human contact can have extreme social anxiety.
The Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety appears in dogs just like it does with humans. It can come from a fear of the unknown or even fear after a traumatic event. The source of anxiety is the same, no matter which circumstance he is under, and that source is terror. If your dog is experiencing social anxiety, then you will know based on his behavior.
Behaviors exhibited during a canine social anxiety attack could mean a total shut down of the dog’s emotions. This is similar to that of a human dissociating, or turning off their ability to function in reality. Basically, a dog having a total melt down with anxiety will hunker down to the ground, walk slowly, keep his tail tucked while refusing to acknowledge or obey you. This is because he is terrified. In these situation, your pup’s mind is shutting off to protect itself emotionally from becoming more traumatized.
Other anxiety symptoms can be excessive or constant whining, barking and even growling. Your dog, when faced with his trigger will do whatever he thinks he needs to do to protect himself. As such, he could lash out at you or simply shut down. This makes your job as his caretaker far more difficult.
Help Your Dog Cope with Canine Social Anxiety
Social anxiety in dogs is not something that can be trained out of him in a day, week or even a month. It is a fighting battle that can take many months or even years with consistent help and training. You can start your anxious dog down the path of healing his social anxiety with counter conditioning. This is the training tactic that helps change the way your dog feels about his trigger. If your dog was human, he would go to therapy. However, since he is your furry best friend he is relying on you to help him through this.
Don’t be afraid or wait to contact a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist for help. Sometimes, dogs just need time and patience while other times they have real work in front of them that requires professional help. When it doubt about canine social anxiety, always ask a professional! Meanwhile, you can start by giving your dog a high value food treat whenever he sees his trigger. This may, however, only work for dogs who’s anxiety is not very severe. If your dog’s anxiety is so dire that he shuts down, you will need to start small and in a space he is comfortable and familiar with. Never punish a dog for anxiety, no matter how frustrated you get. Remember, he is terrified! If he shuts down, take the rest of the day off. Let him then settle in the most comfortable place he knows.
Train with Kindness, Not Punishment
While some may encourage you to punish a scared dog, in reality it only makes your dog’s behaviors worse. It can even lead to him lashing out and biting you or someone else. Instead, take it slow and stay within his threshold. If you don’t push him, he will gain more confidence. Then, he will let you know when it’s time to take the next step.
For canine social anxiety, you are your dog’s helper. He cannot call a dog trainer nor ask for your help. He does not know why he feels the way he does, and he is counting on you to help solve his problems. Do your anxious dog a favor and go slow. Always provide praise and positive reinforcement for good behavior. And never give your dog a reason to be anxious!
Do you groom your dog at home? Ever wonder how to keep your dog calm during grooming? Well, just like humans, they get nervous sometimes. And because dogs need to be properly groomed, whether at home or at a shop, these tips may be handy to know.
If you want to groom your pup yourself, being mindful of how you can make the process enjoyable for your furry friend will go a long way for them. While it’s true that your pet is naturally submissive to you as their owner, using this privilege to force your dog to be groomed can backfire.
To help your dog remain calm and enjoy their grooming we’ve put together a short list of tips for you. If you have some other suggestions, please be sure to add them in the comments for other pet owners.
Your Dog to Observe the Grooming Products
Dogs are instinctively observant. A sure way to frighten them is by surprising them with grooming products they never saw or heard before.
To keep your dog calm during grooming, introduce all of your grooming products to your dog before their grooming day. If you’re using clippers, turn them on so your dog can hear how they sound. Allow them to walk away when they want to.
If you’re using other products like shampoos or rinses, have them smell these items to increase their familiarity.
Interestingly, dogs are affected by music.
Playing soothing music will help your dog focus and stay calm throughout the
Classical music or jazz will lower your pet’s heart rate and keep them relaxed. You can even take it a step further by having lower lighting in the room to keep your canine friend at ease.
With Them First
A dog that is tired after playtime is less likely to fight you during grooming. Playing catch for about an hour or going for a long walk is a great way to tire out your dog and keep him or her relaxed. Similarly, it may tire you out, too.
Once they’ve calmed down, it becomes much easier to
groom them without the whining or growling.
Take Period Breaks
Dogs, especially puppies, can become confused or frightened during grooming. If your pet requires extended grooming, taking short breaks mitigates stress.
When you first groom your dog, it may take several hours. However, the process will become easier when they (and you) become used to the process.
When to Stop
Sometimes, your dog will have had enough of grooming. And that’s ok. This is a great time to call it a day and stop.
If your dog is continually whining and growling at you, their stress levels will become too high. Force-grooming your dog and/or shouting at them to be quiet won’t make them submissive to grooming.
If your dog has had enough, stop and allow them to
gather themselves and calm down.
Reward Them When Still and Calm
When your pet is still and calm, reward them for their behavior with a treat. This will teach them to remain calm during grooming and make the process more convenient for you both.
Smearing peanut butter on a spoon is a trick many people use. Allowing their dog to lick it during grooming is a distraction for them. As a result, grooming is easier.
Are you concerned about introducing your dog to your new baby?
Bringing home your new baby is an exciting time for you and your spouse! However, the experience may be a bit challenging for your dog. It’s important to understand that since your dog has been your one and only up until this point, they may become confused, jealous, or maybe even frightened.
To help eliminate these types of emotions in your dog, laying the foundation for a friendly relationship between your baby and pet is helpful.
Read on to learn some ways of properly introducing your dog to your new baby.
Your Dog May Be Jealous
It’s a well known fact that dogs are known to get jealous when they aren’t the center of attention anymore. This can be unavoidable since you will be spending a great deal of time with your infant instead of your dog. Sorry, Fido!
While jealousy is an undesirable reaction from your pup, accepting that your dog is just missing your attention may help you cope.
Making Time for Your Dog
When you do have free time, try to use it to play with your pet. Allowing your dog to get bored, especially during this transition time, can lead to destructive behavior. In some cases, it may even lead to uncharacteristic aggression. Therefore, creating a daily play-time routine that your pup can anticipate will help.
Keeping this routine consistent will help mitigate those jealous moments your dog is feeling.
While you may be over the moon to share your new bundle of joy with Fido, try to start slowly with your introductions. Babies are small and can move suddenly. One of the last things you want is for your baby to surprise your dog with a flailing arm or kicking leg. Dogs are very inquisitive creatures, and baby and pup will need to be monitored during at least the first few weeks of together time.
Tips for Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby
When your baby comes home, greet your dog alone so that it doesn’t get too excited and jump on your baby. Afterward, have your dog adjust to the sight and smells of your baby while your pup is on a leash.
Acclimate your dog to the smell of your baby, via a blanket or clothing. Also, introduce your pet to the smells of baby powder, lotion, etc.
After a couple of days, remove the leash from your dog and monitor them closely as they observe your baby. Make sure to watch out for signs of aggression such as growling, intense stares, or baring of teeth.
Create Boundaries for Your Dog
Once your dog becomes used to your new baby, it’s time to create boundaries. Ideally, you should be able to command your dog to go to their “quiet place”. This is important if you are trying to perform a task your dog doesn’t understand, such as changing your baby’s diaper or feeding them.
If you do not already have one, purchase a crate, bed, or designate a quiet place for your dog to go to so they won’t disturb you and your baby when you need time alone.
Congratulations on making it to the second part of the article series “Training a Puppy”. In the first part, we discussed a few important training tips that included helping your puppy recognize their name, giving them a new collar, and teaching them when they should go outside. Now that you are familiar with some basic training tips, it’s time to learn how you can make your puppy more obedient. Obedience is key to having a happy pet/owner relationship. Here, we’ll dive into some helpful ways you can teach your puppy to understand and obey your commands.
Learning How to Crate your Puppy
dog owners reject the idea of using crates for their furry friends. However,
professional trainers and veterinarians have long accepted crating as one of
the quickest and least stressful ways to reinforce desirable behavior in dogs.
Dogs are pack animals, and they instinctively have an urge to possess their own
special place or “den”.
it’s important to never take advantage of this instinct by forcing your puppy
inside their crate as a form of punishment. Instead, place a soft blanket
inside the crate and leave the door open as you introduce your puppy to their
new den. This will allow them to grow comfortable with their crate and come and
go at their leisure. Soon, you’ll be able to leave your puppy in the crate if
you anticipate being away for a few hours.
that puppies should only be left in a crate for a maximum of 3-4 hours. Puppies
can’t hold their bladders very well, and being in their crates for too long can
cause depression and anxiety.
Keeping Communication Consistent
they are young, puppies are very smart and are capable of molding their own
behavior to make you happy. The only way your puppy will do this is if you
apply consistent communication between their actions and your reaction.
your puppy does something right or desirable, praise them enthusiastically and
reward them. If they do something wrong, make it clear that you are not happy
by giving them a firm “no” and praise them when they correct their behavior.
example, if you don’t want your puppy on your furniture say “no” loudly and
guide them off every time they climb on. Then, praise them when they climb unto
the floor. Puppies are great learners and understand your body language, but it
can take them a few tries to fully understand when you don’t appreciate their
consistent communication makes it easier for them to understand what you’re
saying and apply your commands in the future.
Correcting Puppy Mistakes
puppies are brilliant learners, they sometimes have an urge to do things that
are clearly not okay, such as biting and destroying furniture. It’s helpful to
remember that puppies aren’t spiteful. If they are performing a destructive
act, they probably got the idea that it was acceptable.
eliminate this type of behavior, you’ll have to catch your puppy in the act and
immediately correct it. For example, the incorrect approach to discipline your
puppy is not to yell at them or crate them if you’ve discovered a severely
damaged pillow under your sofa. That’s because dogs can’t connect a punishment
to an action that may have happened a few hours ago.
you must catch your puppy performing a bad deed in the act. Just like we’ve
mentioned above, remember to give them a firm “no” and praise them abundantly
for responding to your command.
This fun and festive holiday will be here again before we know it. A July 4th of several years ago is a memorable one for me.
I had just finished up a cook-out with the family and was on my way to visit aclient’s pets in Gilbert, Arizona. I really love this client’s pets! They are absolute sweethearts.
As such, I was totally shocked when I opened one of the dog’s kennels and she growled and nipped at me! This was completely out of character for her.
The client had warned me of her dog’s fear of thunderstorms but the weather was clear that day. Something else was bothering her. Then I realized; she was frightened from the sounds of fireworks. The poor girl was too afraid to even go outside.
I know there are plenty of pet owners and pet sitters who can relate to this story.
To help make this 4th a little easier for some of you, we’ve put together these tips for July 4th Pet Safety:
1) Keep your pets in a safe, controlled environment away from fireworks on the 4th of July.
The pet owner in the story above did exactly the right thing by keeping her pets safe in kennels inside the house during the firework festivities. Don’t make the mistake of taking your pet out to enjoy the holiday fun if fireworks are on the agenda. Loud noises and large groups of people can make your pet anxious, afraid, and/or nervous. When animals are in this state of mind, they can become aggressive.
2) Keep the alcoholic drinks, fireworks, matches, lighter fluid, and glow sticks out of reach.
These items can make for a very enjoyable 4th of July for you, but if your pet ingests any of them, they could be toxic.
3) Watch your pets around the food table
Keep an eye on your pet around the food table. This is especially true if any of the following items are included: chicken bones, onions, chocolate, coffee, grapes, raisins, and salt. These foods could be dangerous to your pet if eaten.
4) If you plan to be out of town during the 4th of July holiday, make sure your pet sitter knows that your pet is afraid of loud noises.
Discuss a plan to make your pet feel safe and secure away from the fireworks. Some animals respond well to treats made specifically for stress. Other pets prefer what’s called a thunder jacket. Both of these can be found at your local pet supply store.
5) More pets run away on this day than any other
Sadly, many pets make a mad dash for any open door or gate at the sound of fireworks. Some animals may never make their way back home for a number of reasons.
To keep your pet safe, and at home, watch them during fireworks. If you have a fenced yard, ensure that the gates are properly secured. If your home has a screened porch, keep your pet inside to resist the temptation of jumping through the screens. Having a party with people coming in and out? Keep your dog in a room with the door closed or in a kennel. As always with your pet, safety first.
Please keep your pet’s safety and well-being in mind this 4th of July holiday. And, since we’re in the Gilbert, AZ area, we hope you and your pets enjoy the local fireworks festivities this year!
Congratulations on your new family member. Training a new puppy can be one of the most challenging and most rewarding jobs you’ll ever encounter. If you’re a first time puppy owner, you may be wondering what in the world you’re supposed to do with this furry bundle of joy. We remember our first puppy, and it can be a confusing time if you’re not sure what to do or how to do it. Here, we’ll venture to help you navigate through these first few days, weeks and months with a pack leader mindset and confidence.
It’s All In a Name
The first time you call your puppy’s name, you know exactly what it means. Your pup, however, only hears it as a word. Therefore, it’s important to start adding value to the name so that your pup is encourage to respond to it.
Say your pups name and then give them a reward. The reward can be in the form of a very small training treat or part of their daily food. Do this three or four times in a row. We find that pups at this age — with short attention spans and little bellies — are most motivated when they are hungry. Training at meal time will help to drive home the message of their name.
Now that your puppy understands that the sound of their name gets them a reward, it’s time to get them to respond when you’re not face to face.
Wait until your puppy is distracted. Which with a puppy, shouldn’t take too long. Call their name and put a treat on their nose (keeping your hand in place). Then turn them towards you (either with your other hand or by moving the treat that they will instinctively follow). Once they are facing you, give them the treat. This reinforces that your pet should respond to you when they hear their name.
To ensure that you can command your pup by calling their name, do not over use it. If a pups name is overused, it tends to be watered down in importance, and they may choose to stop responding to it. Training a puppy is also about training us humans.
Using a New Collar
As a right of passage, every puppy learns to wear their new collar. At first, they may scratch at it or act as if they’d like it taken off. This is normal. It’s similar to us getting used to new shoes or new glasses, for instance.
Long-term, a dog’s collar is very important. Training a puppy to wear a collar gives you a way to keep your puppy, and later your adult dog, safe.
Play Time and Out Time
Did you know that you can use toy play time as a way to teach your puppy to go outside?
Start by finding a toy that you can hold securely and animate it on the ground for them — dragging it from side to side. Make it look exciting so that your puppy is interested in engaging with the toy. Once your puppy gets a hold of that toy and is tugging back and excited say the word “out”. At the same time, present the reward (treat, dog food) and tell them “good girl/boy” once they take it. Do this in succession a few times. This helps lay the groundwork for using the word “out” to instruct your puppy that it’s time to go outside.
In Part 2 of this series, Training a Puppy, we’ll be covering a few other essentials for new puppy owners, such as how crating a puppy is helpful for you and them.
Over the years, we’ve had several dogs in our family. Some are sweet and affectionate, while others are mischievous and naughty. Others are a cute mixture. It’s those mischievous dogs that you have to look out for. We’ve also found that certain breeds can have more of a naughty streak than others.
Naughty or Simply Not-Nice?
While there truly is no such thing as a purely “bad” dog, some of their behavior may suggest otherwise. Often getting a bad rap are dogs born with high intelligence and high energy who are under stimulated. These guys can often find themselves in trouble. Understanding if they just have a playful streak or if it’s a destructive or dangerous one should be considered. When they are dangerous, true corrective action may be required.
Do any of these sound familiar to you?
They like to chew or obliterate small objects like pillows or socks or maybe even shoes. If they prey on larger household items like furniture, it probably requires some consequences and corrective action.
They constantly want to trick you into letting them outside to potty when they don’t have to. If they shut the locked door behind you, it’s time to get serious.
Do they ever put you or themselves into dangerous situations? Dogs that get off their leash and stay near you are fairly trustworthy. However, those types that break free and run like the wind into oncoming traffic, they need to be trained not to do so.
Most Common Mischievous Breeds
There are exceptions to every rule. But this list, if left to their own devices, shouldn’t surprise pup parents if they craft some of their own mischief.
Pit Bulls (this group includes American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and more)
Belgian Malinois (often found in police and military fields)
If one of your furry family members is on the list above, and he’s true to form, you may be wondering what’s next. First, decide if you need his behavior corrected or if it’s a source of pleasure for you both. Remember, laughing at your naughty pup and giving him attention during his antics encourages him to continue his behavior. If, however, you ignore and gently correct a mischievous dog they will start to learn. For more extreme behaviors, consider speaking with a professional dog trainer and/or your veterinarian.
If you live in Arizona, you know there are several spots to go hiking with your dog. There’s Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, the trails leading up to Flat Iron, Browns Peak, and several others. Just like human hikers, dogs need the right equipment to stay safe. Getting ready for your hike means not leaving home without these essentials.
Collapsible Water Bowl
It’s fairly easy for your dog to overheat. This is especially true while hiking and exerting himself in the Arizona heat. Dogs do not sweat like humans, so it’s important to ensure that they don’t get too hot. Your furry friend will keep hiking until he drops, therefore, it’s your job to make sure that doesn’t happen.
It is very important to offer them water throughout your journey. One of the easiest ways to do that is by bringing a collapsible dog bowl on your hike. Small, collapsible dog bowls help regulate the amount of water poured so you won’t have to dump excess water. If you dog wants more, simply refill it. Chewy.com offers several types of collapsible bowls. Most offer a quick release clip that can be attached to collars and leashes.
If you’re off on a serious hike, you may be carrying lots of equipment. If your dog is able, consider a canine backpack so that he can carry some of his food and water. Check with your veterinarian about how much and if your dog should carry one. The general rule is that your pup can carry about one quarter of their own weight.
Footwear for Your Dog
You are going hiking with your dog and you’ve chosen the proper foot attire for yourself. You’ll want to consider doing the same for Fido. We all know that dogs do not adore those little dog booties. However, they can provide protection from the rough terrain. For instance, if your dog cuts a pad on the way in, getting Fido back out could be spell trouble. Dog booties take a little getting used to, therefore, try them on at home before your big hike.
Are you packing snacks for yourself for your hike with your dog? If you are, you’ll want to pack some for Fido, too. Just like you, he will need a little energy boost to keep him going. There are several energy bars and snacks on the market for dogs. Depending on your preferences, such as all natural, or avoiding specific ingredients, you’ll want to find the right ones. Pawtivity, an adventure blog for dogs, put together a list of the best energy bars for dogs 2018. This list may not be exhaustive, however, it is a good start.
The Proper Collar
Just like choosing the proper footwear, consider choosing the proper collar for your hike with your dog. A quick release collar will ensure that you can easily free your pup from a tricky situation such as being stuck on a tree branch. Collars made of nylon or other fast-drying materials are best. Also on Fido’s collar should be an ID with your cell phone number in the event the two of you are separated. Be sure to carry your phone on your hike.
K9 First Aid Kit
If you were a Girl or Boy Scout, you will remember the motto of “Be prepared”. If you’re like many hikers, you may want to bring a K9 first aid kit. For a list of what to bring, the Animal Health Foundation, with the help of the Humane Society, has put together a detailed list of items.
We all know that dogs are amazing. Even as close as we are to our trusted companions, we think you may not yet know these fun facts about dogs.
Dogs Understand Us
Did you know that dogs can learn up to 1,000 words? If you’ve ever thought that Fido understands you, it’s because he does!
Have you ever seen a dog waving his tail in a complete circle like a helicopter? That behavior is typically a sign of a particularly friendly dog. It also shows a genuine happiness to see someone special to them. Learn more about helicopter tail waging here.
Unique Nose Print
Did you know that a dog’s nose print is unique like a human’s finger print? Wondering which of your pups stole the cookie from the cookie jar? You can nose-print them to find your culprit. (Just kidding, of course).
Why a Wet Nose?
Dogs’ noses secrete a thin layer of mucous. This mucous helps them to absorb scents. When your dog licks his already wet nose, it is to sample the scents through his mouth.
Run Forest, Run
The Greyhound, the fastest breed of dog, can run as fast as 44 mph. It is for this reason that extra care is advised when walking a greyhound or leaving him in a fenced yard. Because they are bred to run, finding them after a break-away can prove difficult.
Curling in a Ball
Did you ever wonder why dogs curl into a ball when they sleep? They do this to protect their organs. This behavior is an instinct and a carry-over from their days in the wild.
Third Eye (Lid)
Strange as it may sound, dogs have three eyelids. They have an upper lid, a lower lid and a third lid. The third lid is called a nictitating membrane or haw. The haw helps keep the eye moist and protected. All dogs have this membrane found in the inner corner of the eye. It is only noticeable when drawn horizontally across part of the eye.
Did you know that Dalmatian puppies are born with completely white fur? Their spots begin to appear on their fur with age. The first spots appear after three to four weeks after birth. After about a month’s time they have almost all of their spots. However, more spots will slowly appear throughout their life.
Post-Potty Backwards Kicking
Have you ever watched your dog kick backward repeatedly after potty time? This behavior is not to cover it up, as often thought. It is to mark their territory using scent glands in their feet.
A 2015 study shows that dogs show voluntary unselfish kindness towards others without any reward. This one fact is one that dog lovers have known for a long time!
For More Information
If you have questions about fun facts about dogs or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC Pet Sitter. We are also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. View more of our articles on pets here.