Encourage Your Dog To Be Independent
If your dog is especially anxious and struggles to be away from you even for short periods of time, you can work on teaching them to settle on their own. Teaching them this will help your dog become more independent in themselves and will help with further training in the future.
To do this, fill a food toy such as a Kong and place it by your feet while you are watching TV. Do this regularly over the space of a few weeks and gradually place it further away from you each time. This will teach your dog to settle down and engage in activities without you. When your dog is occupied with the food you should still go in and out of the room as normal.
If you are able, installing baby gates throughout the house will allow you to move from room to room without your dog always being able to follow. This will help in training your dog to remain calm when you are not nearby and can sometimes help by showing them that you are still in the house. You could also try scattering a few bits of your dogs daily allowance of dry food on the floor when you leave a room, which will provide them with a distraction.
Identify The Cause Of The Anxiety
Identifying triggers for separation related behaviours can be difficult, as the majority of behaviour happens while your dog is on their own. If possible, set up a camera that allows you to see what your dog is doing when youre not with them. This footage will allow you to more accurately identify any specific environmental triggers that may be contributing to your dogs behaviour such as: the sound of people passing the house, loud cars and trucks or maybe even the sound of the neighbours dog barking.
Your Dogs Behavior Could Be An Indicator Of Your Health
The study also gives greater insight into dog/owner stress levels related to behavior, exercise, and other aspects of lifestyle.
For example, cortisol is known to be affected by physical activity. To control for this, researchers included both dogs that were primarily pets and companions, as well as dogs that were trained and actively competed in activities like agility courses.
Both groups of dogs showed cortisol synchronization, but the correlation was even stronger between dogs and owners who competed.
The reason, the authors suggest, may be that dogs and owners who train together might be more emotionally bonded by spending additional time together and engaging in shared tasks.
Other noticeable effects on cortisol levels included season and sex .
The study also sheds further light on the concept of emotional contagion, the sharing or mirroring of emotional response between animals living in a group.
While its typically observed within the same species, it can also be observed interspecies, as in this case of dogs and their owners.
The dog is a good model since it shares everyday life with its owner. And we do know from before that we have beneficial health effects of dogs and that we respond similarly to interaction in the short term, said Lina Roth, PhD, a professor at Linköping University and an author of the study.
The practical implications of such work could lead to better pairing of different breeds with people based on the owners own personality traits.
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Your Dog Won’t Stop Licking Its Feet
When a dog is depressed they may lick their feet. Why? “This is a calming method for many dogs,” says Ochoa. Constant licking and grooming is a sign that your dog is trying to comfort themselves. Rossouw says, “Doing it too much means it becomes a habit. If you’ve ruled out any medical issues, then I’d recommend getting your dog back in to a routine, and playing games with them to stimulate their mind.”
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Depressed
Turns out, dogs can be depressed for a variety of reasons. “Dogs can be depressed if they lost a family member, a kid went off to college or another dog in the house passed away. I see depression a lot in dogs whose families have gone through a divorce,” says Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, Veterinary Consultant for Dog Lab.
Ochoa adds that dogs can get very attached to people and other pets, so when these relationships change they can show signs of depression. If you think your dog is down in the dumps, here are the signs to look for and how to help them heal.
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How To Calm A Stressed Dog Down
Dog owners should also reflect on their own behavior to see how they might be contributing to the stress. Some ways owners might make their dogs stressed include not giving clear commands, staring directly at them, or punishing them unnecessarily.
The best way to calm your dog down is to identify what is stressing them, then eliminate the trigger. Alternatively, work with a professional trainer or your veterinarian to reduce their response to the trigger.
Sometimes its as easy as blocking off an area where your dog can eat while no one bothers them. Or, teaching children how to respect your dog appropriately. If you know your dog gets stressed out about specific events, like a car ride or fireworks on the Fourth of July, there are some specific ways to ease that anxiety.
The bottom line? Start paying attention to your dogs body language and youll be able to read their stress signals and reduce their anxiety in no time.
Changes In Attitude And Demeanor
If your once friendly dog is suddenly acting cold or hostile toward you, this may indicate they are stressed or in pain.
Refusing food or being picky is also an obvious sign of anxiety or some other issue, primarily if your pet is usually motivated by food.
Doing their business in the house, ignoring you when you call out to them, and refusing play/cuddle time is also cause for concern.
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Remain Calm And Control Our Emotions
This is easier said than done, but if you feel yourself getting agitated or angry at your dog, stop. Your dog will be stressed if you are stressed and there are plenty of coping mechanisms that people can use to reduce stress in their own lives.
Try calming yourself by relaxing all the muscles in your body. As you become relaxed watch how it affects your dog. When your body is tense, your dog is tense. Do both of you a favor and try to be mindful of when tension crepes into your own muscles.
Minimize The Source Of Stress And Anxiety
If a particular person is making the dog anxious, take the dog into another room. If there are fireworks outside, turn up the music to mask the sound of the fireworks and close the blinds. If there is a frightening sound, cover the dog with a light blanket to help muffle the sound.
Depending on what is frightening your dog, create a safe space for them. With time, your dog will develop their own “safe place” in your home to go to when they’re stressed out.
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Signs Of Stress In Dogs
If one of the above is a trigger for stress in your pooch, you can expect to see some behavior changes. Remember that some behavior changes may be subtle, but if you know your dog’s regular behavior, it shouldn’t be hard to recognize. Some of these may be setbacks in training or signs of a medical condition.
- Vocalizing whining or barking. This may be normal at certain times for your dog, so knowing his normal behavior will allow you to know when it may be abnormal.
- Yawning dogs can yawn when tired. But they may also yawn, lick their lips, or drool if stressed.
- Changes in eyes and ears dilated pupils and ears pinned back against the head.
- Changes in body posture may cower down, with tail tucked and body tense.
- Sudden shedding there may be a sudden abundance of shedding, or blowing their coat.
- Panting he could be hot, excited, or exercising. But he could also be stressed!
- Changes in bodily function suddenly urinating, defecating, or refusing to eat.
- Avoidance he may turn away or suddenly need to lick himself or sniff something.
- Destruction or aggression he may destroy something, growl, or bite.
Help My Puppy Is Learning Bad Habits From My Older Dog
As discussed earlier, a lot of habits of a dog come from other dogs. Puppies do look for guidance from older companions and try to replicate their teachings. The scientific name of this phenomenon is Allelomimetic Behaviors. Although it has some benefits, it is also responsible for a variety of bad habits that may develop in your puppy.
A common example to support this theory will be the barking of a dog. You may have observed that as soon as a dog starts to bark, all the surrounding dogs join him. This is also true for other bad habits like lunging on leash, chewing on carpet, and stealing food.
The most obvious method for saving your new puppy from learning bad habits is to distract them. For this purpose, you should use positive reinforcement so that the puppy doesnt adopt unethical behaviors. For instance, if your older dog lunges on the leash during walks, take both the dogs out separately. In this way, your puppy will stay safe from the bad habit of the older dog.
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If Your Normally Social Cat Has Begun Hiding Beneath Furniture Or Blankets They Could Be Stressed Out
“Cats are evasive by nature and love to find places to curl up for long cat naps,” said Arndt. “But if your cat is suddenly hiding, it can be a sign that your cat is experiencing stress.”
Arndt advised that providing perches or cat trees can help, as cats often feel more comfortable when they are up high. Allowing your cat to have a safe room in your house where they can go to relax is also a good idea.
“Consider using a baby gate and cutting a small hole in the bottom, just large enough for your cat,” said Arndt. “This lets your cat escape stressors, such as a new pet that has just been brought into the home.”
Set Up Your Dog To Succeed
With a new dog in our home, weve worked to make the transition successful for everyone including the resident pets. John built a small Dutch door to prevent Barli from going upstairs to our offices this gives the cats a puppy-free zone and helps with housetraining as well. Weve also worked to help Tiki and Barli bond, giving Tiki extra attention to make sure she doesnt feel left out. Weve added a new bed for Barli so Tiki still has full use of all of her favorite items, and weve added an ADAPTIL® Calm Home Diffuser. The clinically-proven, veterinarian-recommended diffuser covers about 700 square feet, so the entire downstairs that Barli can access has coverage. The diffuser continuously provides soothing Dog Appeasing Pheromones to help both Tiki and Barli feel secure and comfortable around each other.
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How Can I Help Treat My Dog’s Depression Or Anxiety
The good news is that dogs can often overcome depression and/or anxiety on their own. Depending on the dog and the situation, it can take days to months. No matter what, the love and care of their owners, and sometimes some guidance from your veterinarian, can help them overcome the blues.
Pet owners can try the following techniques:
- Offer your dog more attention. But wait until you see some signs of happiness, like a wagging tail, and reward them for that behavior.
- Keep your dog active with regular walks, playtimes, and other activities you know they enjoy.
- If your dog’s symptoms are related to the loss of an animal companion, consider getting another pet or start socializing them with other pets.
Depending on the severity of their symptoms your veterinarian may also prescribe anti-anxiety medication as well as recommend behavior management techniques.
In some cases, depression and/or anxiety may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition in a dog. If your pet has not recently experienced a major life change or distressing event, talk to your veterinarian about what else could be troubling them.
Medical Problems To Rule Out First
Incontinence Caused by Medical ProblemsSome dogs house soiling is caused by incontinence, a medical condition in which a dog leaks or voids his bladder. Dogs with incontinence problems often seem unaware that theyve soiled. Sometimes they void urine while asleep. A number of medical issuesincluding a urinary tract infection, a weak sphincter caused by old age, hormone-related problems after spay surgery, bladder stones, diabetes, kidney disease, Cushings disease, neurological problems and abnormalities of the genitaliacan cause urinary incontinence in dogs. Before attempting behavior modification for separation anxiety, please see your dogs veterinarian to rule out medical issues.
MedicationsThere are a number of medications that can cause frequent urination and house soiling. If your dog takes any medications, please contact his veterinarian to find out whether or not they might contribute to his house-soiling problems.
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How To Handle An Older Dog Stressed By A New Puppy
Patent, shiny, pink flowers. Thats the rather crazy pattern on my favorite pair of shoes. I had NO idea if I would wear them when I bought them they are a little on the wild side for me.
But even though I wasnt sure, I kept coming back to them as something I really, really wanted and eventually I broke down and bought them. After some trial and error, I figured out how to integrate these rather crazy shoes into my wardrobe and now they play nicely with many of my outfits and I get compliments whenever I wear them.
Sometimes if you bring something completely new into your life there can be an adjustment period. If you have an older dog that is stressed by a new puppy this adjustment period can be tough. Its important to understand what is going on as well as when you should intervene and when you shouldnt.
The Position Of Dog Ears
The shapes of dog ears differ, but stress will make any dogs ears react one of two ways. Some dogs ears perk up under stress, appearing rigid. However, most dogs will display stress by pulling their ears back and laying flat against the head, looking pinned back, as one article suggests.
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Examine Your Training Methods
Harsh, punitive training is not effective and can cause stress for your dog. If you are in a training program that uses these negative approaches, quit and find a better solution. If you see yourself getting upset when your dog does not do as told, stop the training session and resume when both of you are calm.
Having Diarrhea Or Accidents
Adrenaline affects dogs similarly to humans, causing an urge to go to the bathroom. Your dog may immediately posture and urinate as a result of stress, dribble urine, lose control of their bowels, or even have diarrhea.
This behavior is modulated by the sympathetic nervous system. A lesser gastrointestinal sign of stress in dogs is a decreased appetite. A stressed dog may even refuse their favorite treats if their anxiety level is too high.
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Causes Of Stress In Dogs
Your dog can feel stressed for a number of reasons. According to the American Kennel Club,the three most common causes of anxiety in dogs:
Additionally, recent studies indicate that your own emotional health and stress levels could impact your dog’s stress. According to research published in Scientific Reports, “dogs, to a great extent, mirror the stress level of their owners.”
Create A Happy Home Environment
A calm home is a happy home so the quicker your older dog feels calm and comfortable with a new puppy in the home, and no longer finds the puppy a threat, the better it will be for the whole family.
If you need additional support, an ADAPTIL Calm Home Diffuser can help your dogs bond by creating a calm environment. An ADAPTIL Junior Collar can also support and reassure your pup as they learn and adjust to life in your household!
Remember, if you are concerned that your older dog is still stressed, it is always advisable to get them checked out by a vet to rule out any underlying issues.
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Provide The Appropriate Amount Of Exercise
Find a good average from too much to too little exercise. Each dog is unique so this amount will need to vary from breed to breed and dog to dog. Brachycephalic breeds such as Pugs and Shih Tzu dogs may only last for a casual stroll around the block. More active breeds will not be satisfied until they’ve walked a mile or more.