Anxiety is one of the most common behavioural challenges that dog owners face.
Anxiety can be triggered by various factors however the most common form we see in our dogs today is separation anxiety.
Some dog breeds are more susceptible to separation anxiety than others. A lack of socialisation during the pups first few months can also contribute to separation anxiety.
Some of the symptoms you may see if your dog is suffering from separation anxiety is:
- Constant barking and howling
- Pacing and restlessness
- Excessive urination and defecation in the house
- Destructive behaviour (ripping up carpet, scratching doors etc)
- Attempting to escape
One of the first steps in dealing with separation anxiety is to understand the issue and to observe the dog's behaviour.
Exercise: Through my own personal experience I have learnt that exercise can make a huge difference in helping to reduce anxiety levels. A tired dog is a happy dog. A bored dog is a destructive dog. A working breed needs to work! A dog with a purpose is a happy dog!
An exercise routine can help your dog’s anxiousness immensely. Not only can it reduce the build-up of tension it also exposes your dog to different sights and sounds which is actually quite tiring for them! The nose gets a good workout!
Activities that your dog can participate in too can also help. Willow is my mountain biking companion and also my paddleboard companion. We get to spend quality time together and it keeps her mind stimulated and very fit.
Observation: How your pet responds to certain stimuli or events can help you respond to their needs. When you are about to leave the house or when you come home, don’t make a big fuss. Even if your dog starts making a fuss, ignore it. As soon as you respond in any way you are reinforcing this behaviour. By showing calmness and control you are sending signals to your dog that you are in control and they can relax. They get to be a dog!
Gradual exposure to being alone: It’s a great idea to slowly and gradually expose your dog to being on their own. Even if you start with 5 minutes. When I got my 2 year old husky I jumped in the car and drove around the block. I was gone 5-10 minutes tops. Gradually over time I increased the time I was away.
Introduce your dog to a crate: Crate training can be an excellent solution for an anxious dog. They learn that they are safe in their crate and can rest safely. To make it even more enticing put their favourite toys and treats inside as it is important that they go into the crate voluntarily.
Things to avoid: When your dog is showing anxious behaviour, avoid giving treats or smothering them with affection. This is rewarding unwanted behaviour.
Homeopathy: Homeopathy is an effective and gentle way to help your dog through their anxiousness. The right homeopathic remedy that best matches the dog's symptoms can help bring them back into a balanced state; mentally and physically. Generally I find that homeopathy in conjunction with a few behavioural tips works wonders for the dog and the owners! On a more personal note; my dog Willow is no stranger to homeopathy when I go away. In fact she responds to it so well that I don't think she even notices I have gone!
Are you ready to improve the health and wellbeing of your animal, naturally?
Wild Remedy offers in-house homeopathic consultations in, and around, Taupo, Turangi and Rotorua. Online consultations are available nationwide. You can contact me by clicking on the "connect" button on the Wild Remedy website.