Anxiety in dogs is something that pet parents have a hard time dealing with or recognizing for that matter. These are some of the signs a dog will exhibit when anxious: pacing, drooling, barking, destroying things, nipping, etc. I always recommend for pet parents to have a vet do a physical exam to rule out any medical condition their dog may be experiencing, and once they get a clean bill of health we could start addressing the anxiety in their dogs.
Charlie, a GSD mix, had a lot of anxiety when we got him from the SPCA in Annapolis, MD. By the way, most dogs from shelters are very anxious, it’s rare to find one that is not. Our Charlie went from screaming murder at the top of his lungs any time: we left the room; we exited the car; we went to a new place, etc. How is he doing now? Way better and still working with him, but understand this, your dog’s anxiety will disappear with time if you are consistent with the following:
Walk him! Yes, this gets a lot of that anxiety and pent up energy out of them
Don’t talk too much to your dog. Use your body language, energy and intention instead
Start working with a trainer on basic training and behavior modification
When you are overwhelm, walk away, take a deep breath and work with your dog once you are on a relaxed state of mind. No, you cannot drink wine. Sorry!
The above is just a few of the things you could do to start dealing with your dog’s anxiety. Charlie is super smart, he is a GSD mix after all, but I am still working with him and I have seen amazing results. Don’t despair, be consistent and your dog will one day bring you joy rather than stress. Enjoy your week!
A few pet parents have asked me how do I manage a multi-dog household and this is what I tell them:
Exercise is the #1 ingredient and the most important of all. If your dog is tired, chances that he will have the energy to get in trouble highly decreases. He can run, walk, hike, etc.
Each dog needs to have his own area for eating. If you use a crate, great!
Never leave your dogs loose in the house while you are out running errands
Manners! Dogs have manners so there will be no pushing, pawing, steeping over one another, etc.
Do your best to spend a few minutes with each individual dog
I have Abby and Charlie as my dogs and demo dogs, but I also get my clients’ dogs that stay with us for short and extended times so I make sure that my pack gets along with each other. Now, aside from what I listed above, you, the pet parent, have to practice being a zen person. What is that? A zen person lives peacefully and has a sense of bliss. Yes, this may be the hardest part for most of us to do, but this is good for our dogs, and for us as well. Any questions? Stay safe.
Are you just as confused as other pet parents when it comes to deciding what to feed your canine companion? Don’t feel bad, you are not alone. Alex, our first dog, ate mostly kibble til she got to be about 10 years old or so. Because I saw how much her mobility was declining, after doing some research I ended up mixing kibble and fresh food. Result: within days she was moving around without a problem. Seeing this made me, depending on the dog, mix fresh food and kibble and so this is what Abby and Charlie usually get:
Abby gets, depending on the level of activity planned for that day, about 1/2 cup of kibble and 2 cups of fresh food for the day. Once every blue moon, she gets a little bit of wet food. She weighs about 30lbs.
Charlie gets about 1 cup of kibble and 2 1/2 of fresh food for the day. He weighs about 70lbs.
When I fed them only kibble, Abby’s tush stunk and she did #2 often-more than twice a day-and her mouth smelled, while Charlie’s #2 was too soft and he licked his butt like crazy.
Through trial and error, I figured out what worked best for my dogs and that is a mix of fresh food and kibble. I’d suggest you do some research-books, nutritionist, other pet parents-and slowly see what works for your dog. Just like humans, what works for one person may not work for another. Feed what’s best for your canine companion and don’t forget to take her out for a walk. Stay safe.
I enjoy going to downtown Annapolis, and that’s what we did this past weekend not knowing that it was time for the annual sailboat show. To say that there was a lot of people would be an understatement, and because of that I asked Cynthia to wear her mask, and only remove it for this picture. Safety first pet parents!
How did Charlie do? Surprisingly well. Abby and Charlie barked at a dog while we were walking because such dog barked at them first, but other than that we had a nice time walking around and taking pictures. We are trying to expose Charlie to as many different things as possible just like we did with all our other doggies. Sharing your life with dogs is quite an adventure so let’s enjoy the ride! Stay safe.
I believe that all pet parents speak dog-some are quite fluent while others are just learning-even if you think otherwise. Once we have lived with a dog for a while, we figure out her likes, dislikes, and quirks. In the above picture, all of them are in the traveling mode. Easy to see and figure out.
Roxie and Charlie (from left to right) wearing a Gentle Leader or Halti.
What do you think about the above picture? Come on, give it a try! They are both alert and relaxed. This is the body language and state of mind that you want to see in your dog. Anyway, dogs do not come with a manual, and even if they did, dogs are individuals so that manual will only get you so far. My advice to you is to enjoy your dog. Celebrate the little victories when you can, and don’t be too hard on her and yourself when she is not at her best behavior. And when you really don’t know what to do with her, hire professional help. Stay safe.
Our Alex, a pit bull mix, was one of the best dogs I’ve ever had as a pet and as my helper when working with other dogs to modify their behavior, but my girl, when we got her as a puppy, had bad separation anxiety so it took us a while to get her to be balanced. Let me tell you that she was worth it. We had her for 13 years, and even now I don’t think that it was long enough.
Our Charlie, the new addition to our family, has separation anxiety and he is getting better as time goes by:
-We couldn’t leave him in any room by himself because he would scream murder at the top of his lungs. Nowadays, he is able to stay by himself for a short period of time.
-Charlie would bark/whine when Abby went out to do her business. Recently, he only makes a funny sound, yes sometimes he still whines, but the intensity and length of time is but a couple of seconds.
-When we placed Abby in the car first, Charlie would go berserk. As time went by, he understood that he would get in the car too so he does get excited, but it’s manageable.
The above is just a few of the things we’re working on with Charlie and his separation anxiety. To those pet parents that are probably asking themselves, “How long will it take for that separation anxiety to disappear?” Let me tell you that it depends on the dog, the activities you are doing with him, the behavior and training you are working on, and the consistency and commitment on your part. Work hard, but also remember to take a break every so often. Stay safe.
One of the things I teach pet parents and I find very important during Behavior and Training Level I, is to not allow their dogs to bolt out the door, any door for that matter. Why? They could get injured, killed, lost, cause an accident, and/or harm another dog/animal or human.
Even though Abby knows her boundaries at home, I still work with her in different areas and environments in order for her to continue to learn and improve.
I tell pet parents that they should not set up their dogs to fail. What do I mean by that? It’s not fair to ask a dog that is not exercised mentally and physically to do this. We, pet parents, need to fulfill their needs in order to get a balanced and well behaved dog. Like I tell many of my pet parents, behavior modification is not for the faint of heart, but the rewards, if you and your dog walk hard, are amazing!
Abby, “Moms, I love the snow. I am using my ears as wings. Weeee!”
Today, Tuesday, is the first day of Spring, but you wouldn’t know it since we still have snow on the ground, and tomorrow we’re expecting our 4th nor’easter. What will Abby be doing? Playing in the snow, of course!
While Abby will be having a blast playing in the snow tomorrow, other dogs prefer to nap in a comfortable bed with a blanket or two.
Abby and Champagne (L to R). Champagne, “Will I be getting a treat any time soon?”
And then there are those, like Abby and Champagne, that prefer to “help” in the kitchen and be Cynthia’s sous chefs. Regardless of what you decide to do tomorrow, please be safe and keep yourself and your furry kids warm.