How to Help Dogs with Anxiety or Behavioral Problem

9:13:00 AM


"Dogs are really people with short legs in fur coats" -anonymous

Dogs have always been part of the human family since the earliest of times. They play with us, guard our homes, and amuse us with their tricks. They are our furry friends who give us unconditional love any time of the day. But just like any friend, even dogs sometimes may feel stressed out.

Yes, dogs experience anxiety too. This may be caused by a traumatic experience, a lack of proper training, or a genetic predisposition. Some dogs may be afraid of just one thing while others suffer from more than one fear at the same time. If you’re dog suffers from anxiety, don’t feel hopeless. There are ways to help your dog get over his fears.
Animal experts advise “desensitization" or simply put, allowing your dog to get used to a situation until he realizes that it is a non-threatening situation after all.
This method can be done for different types of dog anxiety. If your dog has fear of cars or a separation anxiety, it may take a couple of weeks until he gets over this fear completely. If you have a day job, you might need to ask a friend to practice with your dog for you or perhaps each member of your family can take turns in practicing the dog. Of course, desensitization takes time. It needs to be done slowly and with patience. Each step taken will greatly depend on the dog’s response.

A frequent mistake that owners do when their pet is afraid is to try to reassure them. While we may have the best of intentions, this does not help at all. The dog will only recognize this as a sign that he has reason to be afraid and therefore, the reinsurance you give reinforces his own fear.

The important thing to remember when desensitizing your dog is never ever try to reassure your dog if he shows signs of fear. If there is any shakiness or whimpering, it will be better if you don’t acknowledge it. Instead, simply ignore it. When giving instructions, talk to your dog in a calm, normal tone.

Also, keep in mind that this method is to be done gradually depending on your dog’s progress. Practice should last only a few minutes, everyday. Never force your dog to instantly get over his fear. Work at your dog’s phase. Don’t punish him if he’s not immediately responding.

Don’t forget to reward your dog by the end of each practice session especially if he’s done well. Give him his favorite treat, lots of pats and praises for each accomplishment. Let your dog know if he’s doing a great job.

If your dog is suffering from anxiety, take heart and be ready to take the steps to make him a healthier and a happier dog.

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