Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

Understanding Separation Anxiety Disorders In Dogs

Gemma | August 20th, 2012
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Does this sound like you and your dog? Youve had him since he was a puppy. He is a sweet dog, eager to please, and enjoys being around you and your whole family.

But lately, youve notice that hes become destructive around the house whenever hes left alone, even for just a few hours. You come home and the house looks like it was hit by a tornado papers scattered everywhere, the trash can was knocked down, and your clothes were chewed into shreds.

Your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, a problem common with many puppies and dogs. Separation anxiety is a panic disorder exhibited by a dog in the absence of his owner. It is the fear of being left alone that results in unwanted, destructive behaviors.

Dogs are social creatures. As puppies it is natural for them to get dependent and attached to their mother and littermates. This type of attachment is transferred on to you, his owner, when the puppy enters your life. This attachment results in distress whenever the dog is left alone in the house, which is the most common cause of separation anxiety.

Signs Of Separation Anxiety

Your dog is suffering from separation anxiety if he displays the following signs: Destructiveness; excessive crying, barking, howling, whining, house soiling, pacing, depression, self mutilation, excessive salivation, hyperactivity, and scratching or chewing at walls, doors, windows, furniture, and other objects.

Causes Of Separation Anxiety

There are many causes for separation anxiety in dogs. Some were developed with experiences they had before the dog ever became part of your family, such as loss or abandonment of previous owner.

Below are six other causes of separation anxiety in dogs:

1. A traumatic experience such as an injury, thunderstorm, or an alarm system going off that happened while you were gone.
2. A loss or addition of a family member.
3. Premature separation from its mother and littermates.
4. Having a new pet in the house and spending a lot of time with that new pet and less time with him.
5. A sudden change in schedule, lifestyle, or environment.
6. Changes that occur in older dogs, both physiologically and mentally, that results from aging.

How To Help A Dog With An Abusive History

Sarah | July 2nd, 2008
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Last year, Angela, a single mother of three teenage boys, had been in contact with the Greyhound Pets of America (a rescue group that finds homes for retired racing greyhounds). She asked the group if they had an adult dog that would get along well with cats, as Angela also loved cats and had several of them.

A lovely greyhound named Bronze fit the bill. Just several days later Bronze was welcomed with loving arms in his new home.

Bronze didn’t know a lot of small things right away, such as how to climb up steps or comprehend a see-through glass door and windows, etc. He did not know how to play and was very weary of people, particularly very tall, thin males. And something also peculiar he was literally afraid of his own shadow!

Any of these things caused fear in Bronze, and the resulting behavior was aggression, snarling and growling. Angelica was worried that his behavior would go beyond this reaction, leading into biting or attacking.

Soon Bronze showed fear towards another specific occurrence: Anytime Angela’s brother would come to visit, and wearing his usual leather jacket and ball cap, Bronze would again start his aggressive stance and snarling. The same thing happened when Angela’s sons would come home with their noisy friends.

The Cause Of Bronze’s Fear

As you know, Bronze was an ex-race dog, so once Angela was able to contact a canine psychologist, the doctor was able to identify the problem right away. He had asked Angela to obtain a picture of the dog’s ex-trainer, which turned out to be a very tall, skinny man that wore a long black coat, along with a specific hat that resembled a baseball cap.

Add to this evidence the obvious experiences of the dog having raced at the track: lots of noisy people, confinement, guns firing, running, more confinement, lots of harsh training commands from his trainer it was no wonder why Bronze reacted the way he did when he was adopted.

Managing these issues was not going to be an easy task. It required Angela to have constant vigilance. The doctor instructed her to remove the noisy teenagers from his presence, teaching Angela to be cautious of how she gave commands to Bronze, as well as have her brother remove his black leather jacket and ball cap when visiting.

In time, Bronze was able to calm down and within 12 months was less afraid of noise and the appearance of any man that resembled his past trainer became less of a threat. Bronze lived to be thirteen years old and because of his new owner’s love and care to learn to communicate, he was a lucky dog one that enjoyed the right that every canine has to be loved and included in a real family.

What You Can Learn From This Story

If you are also considering bringing home an adult dog that has had a history of competing in sports, such as a racing dog, for example, then prepare yourself by taking lessons from the above story. It will not only teach you how to communicate with your problem dog, but could also save him or her from being sentenced to a lonely life inside of the pound.

The Fastest Way To Relieve Your Dogs Separation Anxiety

Gemma | December 10th, 2006
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Separation anxiety occurs when dogs feel frightened and distressed at the absence of their owner. This type of attachment problem can be mild or severe. A mild case is often exhibited when the dog is pacing, over-grooming, and panting, whereas a severe case of separation anxiety can be quite a challenge for the owner. The dog soils the house, cries nonstop, barks or howls, and destroys furniture and other objects around the house. Often times, the dog starts to show behaviors associated with separation anxiety after being left alone for only ten or fifteen minutes.

Dogs that are more at risk of developing separation anxiety are those rescued from shelters, were living on the streets, or were locked inside a crate or kennel most of their lives. And because this behavior only occurs when the dog is left alone, theres really nothing you can do to stop him from destroying your home or irritating the neighbors every time you leave the house. However, you can teach your dog not to be scared or panic during your absence.

Here are five ways that can help.

1. Some dogs feel comfortable being confined to a small space such as a crate or a small gated area of the house, while others feel comfortable safely out in the backyard. If your dog starts to feel agitated when crated, take him out and do not try to force it because it can only make matters worse.

2. In some cases, confining your dog to a small area where he has viewing access to the outside world is enough to make him feel comfortable and eliminate separation anxiety. You can place his crate or bed in front of a sliding glass door or a clear window.

3. Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety because of boredom. Find a job that your dog can do. Teach him how to play Find it a game that he can play by himself. To play this game, you must hide his favorite bones or stuffed treats where he can find them. To keep him busy, use three or five bones or treats (depending on how long youll be gone).

4. Another way to fight boredom is to provide your dog with plenty of toys. Rotate the toys so he will not get tired of playing with them. Playing, chewing, chasing, and hunting for his toys or treats has the power to cause your dog utilize his natural canine instincts while keeping him occupied for hours.

5. Leave the television on or play a soft, relaxing music. Researches have shown that soft, classical music relaxes dogs. Pick something that you listen to when you are at home, so your pet doesnt relate the music to your absence.