Written by Nat Smith, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers. They say that dog owners live happier, longer lives. One big reason? Dogs can help you get out more often, stick to your workouts, and stay upbeat while you’re at it. How can your pet […]
Many dogs are sent to shelter home due to their anxiety problems that develop due to hyperactivity. On the other hand, dogs that are brought home from animal shelters have behavior issues like barking, digging, destructive chewing, etc. The problem, in both cases, is not with dogs but with the owners who fail to provide enough opportunities to their Fido to invest their pent-up energies positively.
Did you ever think of trying out some calming exercises for your pooch? Here are three ways to tone down the excessive energy of dogs:
Doga has calming effects on both the dog owner and the pooch. Although dogs are not able to imitate the stretches and poses of their yogi owners, still they feel calm at the end of a yoga session. The bonding between the owner and the dog gets stronger. The owners are able to better understand their Fido’s body language. They will be able to train the pooch in a more calm and controlled manner.
Doga helps dogs invest their energies in calming exercises. Your pooch will feel relaxed after doga class. Try it out for your anxious and hyperactive dog.
- Routine and Familiarity:
Unfamiliar situations and environments, as well as haphazard routines, are known to create confusions in the pooch’s mind. It may create anxiety that will lead to destructive chewing and excessive barking, etc.
Dogs enjoy following routines. They feel uncomfortable when their set schedule is not followed. Routines help a dog wait for the play, walk or exercise time patiently. Consistency in daily routine activities will keep the pooch relaxed. Are you following the routine of your dog?
Sometimes dog owners do not maintain routine of giving food to the pooch. Whether you serve raw dog food or dry kibble, maintain a fixed time. One day giving food via treat dispensing toys and the other day in food bowls can also upset the little pooch. Dogs need surety about everything. Or else, they stay anxious whether they will have it or not!
If you are an adventure lover, your dog can feel anxious in unfamiliar places. To maintain the familiarity, take the Fido’s favorite chewing cloth that has your scent and of home. Give him a chew toy, familiar bowl, familiar bed, and blanket to stay calm and comfortable at unknown places or new home.
- Music or Smart Toys:
Some dogs are not hyperactive but are rather intelligent dog breeds. They need something for their mental stimulation. Find out some puzzles, buster cubes, interactive toys, Kongs to keep the pooch busy during your absence. Stuff them with their favorite treat so they may stay motivated to solve the puzzle.
Whether it’s a thunderstorm or fireworks that makes your pooch anxious and restless, it will not worry your Fido anymore. Simply, turn on some soft music in the room. A study conducted by Physiology and Behavior says that dogs feel relaxed and calm when the sound of soft rock or reggae fills the room. During unfamiliar situations or stressful ones, playing the soothing soft rock music will definitely improve your dog’s behavior.
Before you decide to leave your cute cuddle ball in an animal shelter, consider trying these tricks to calm his nerves. Sometimes, medications work for toning down dog’s anxiety.
Would you like being left alone for your bad behaviors that developed due to certain circumstances other had created for you?
Would you buy your 6 month old baby a nerf gun or an easy bake oven; of course not.
How do you decide what kind of toys to buy for your fur baby? Is it better to buy a bunch of cheaper toys so they will have more to choose from or a few that will last (hopefully) and be safe for them?
Tip #1: The Size of the Dog
More than the age of your dog, their size should be taken into consideration. If you buy a toy for a small dog that fits their mouth, that same toy could get hung in a larger dog’s throat and choke them – to death.
Tip #2: Dog-Proofing the Home
Another thing to help keep your fur baby safe is the same as having a toddler in your home. You should make sure not to have strings, ribbons, pantyhose, or rubber bands within reach. These items WILL be eaten and they are not digestible. I am learning this even when buying the toys made of string which MY dog has ingested. She sometimes has to have help getting the strings to come out (not a pretty picture). Point in fact, don’t buy string balls, toys that have the string inside of them to make them stronger, etc.
Tip #3: Don’t Buy Rawhide for Your Dog
Some people believe that all the rawhide chewing toys are a good thing for any dog but there are things to watch for on this also. Asking your veterinarian would be a good idea to make sure which ones would be safe since some could come apart and cause your dog to choke. On top of that some rawhides have unsafe byproducts that come from the cruel international fur trade. It is better to be safe and a humane alternative to buy the hard rubber toys. These last longer and are safer. For my pittie, I buy Kong and they definitely last longer than normal toys. She also has a Nylabone that has lasted now for about six months (peanut flavor). There are different sizes in these also for different size dogs. For any toy that you buy be careful of when they are beginning to come apart so your dog doesn’t try to eat it and get choked.
Tip #4: Encourage Mental Stimulation
If you want to keep your puppy/grown dog busy for a while and distracted there are also distraction toys. These are toys that you can put treats in the middle of and they play to get these treats by moving the toy around.
Tip # 5: Comfort Toys
Soft stuffed toys are good for several purposes, but they aren’t appropriate for all dogs. Here are a few tips for choosing the right stuffed toy:
- Some dogs like to carry around soft toys. If your dog sees their toy as a companion, pick one that’s small enough to carry.
- Some dogs want to shake or “kill” their toys, so choose one that’s large enough to prevent accidental swallowing and sturdy enough to withstand the dog’s attacks.
Dirty laundry, such as an old t-shirt, pillowcase, towel or blanket, can be very comforting to a dog, especially if the item smells like you! Be forewarned that the item could be destroyed by industrious fluffing, carrying and nosing.
Tip #6: Making Toys Last
Rotate your dog’s toys weekly by making only a few toys available at a time. Keep a variety of types easily accessible. If your dog has a favorite, like a soft comfort toy, you may want to leave it out all the time.
Provide toys that serve a variety of purposes — give your dog at least one toy to carry, one to shake, one to roll and one for comfort.
Tip #7: Let Your Pup Find It
“Found” toys are often much more attractive than toys that are obviously introduced. A game of finding toys or treats is a good rainy-day activity for your dog, using up energy without the need for a lot of space.
The Bottom Line on Toys
Many of your dog’s toys should be interactive. Interactive play is very important for your dog because they need active “people time,” which enhances the bond between you and your pet. Try balls, flying disks and other toys that help foster the bond between person and pet.
By focusing on a specific task —such as repeatedly returning a ball, Kong, or Frisbee® or playing “hide-and-seek” with treats or toys — your dog can expend pent-up mental and physical energy from boredom in a limited amount of time and space. For young, high-energy and untrained dogs, interactive play also offers an opportunity for socialization and helps them learn about appropriate and inappropriate behavior, such as jumping up or being mouthy.
CBD Oil and Seizures: Does it Really Help?
It has been found that one to five percent of dogs have a seizure disorder. Watching your dog have a seizure is a frightening experience, especially when it’s the first time. You feel out of control. And, you’re not exactly sure how to help your dog. If this should happen, you should try to be calm and observe his surroundings to make sure he is away from anything that could harm him. You must also remember they could accidentally bite you if your hands get too close to their mouth during a seizure.
When we adopt our dogs, serious conditions like seizures aren’t usually our main concern. But, learning about everything that could affect our dogs is important.
If you’re unsure of what a seizure looks like, you’ll generally notice the following symptoms:
- Stiffening of the muscles
- Loss of consciousness
- Foaming at the mouth
- Dazed/confused gaze
After a dog has a seizure, she might have difficulty walking. She may be disoriented. Or, stare off into space. You might also notice her bumping into things she usually knows are there.
CBD has become popular in the dog world. And, it comes as no surprise once you find out it’s not only been found to help with seizures, but with pain, sleep, anxiety, skin problems, cancer, and digestive issues, too.
There are 2 Types of Seizures
There are two types of seizures; symptomatic or idiopathic.
Symptomatic seizures are caused from an abnormality inside or outside of the brain (lead poisoning, encephalitis, head trauma).
Idiopathic epilepsy doesn’t have a cause, though. And, it’s thought to be genetic. Dog breeds who are commonly diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy include English Springer Spaniels, Viszlas, Collies, Beagles, and Dachshunds.
What’s the Best Way to Treat Seizures?
The medication that is prescribed to dogs with seizures can carry heavy side effects including lethargy, long-term liver damage, and/or confusion.
One of the methods dog lovers are turning to is Cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD oil is a non-toxic, natural, and effective form of treatment (of course, make sure you talk to your vet).
When you’re researching CBD and seizures in dogs, there are hundreds of positive testimonials. But, it comes as no surprise that CBD is met with controversy.
CBD Dosage for Dogs
When you choose to use CBD oil for your dog with seizures, it’s important to start at the lowest dose possible. You can then increase the dosage if necessary.
The dosage of the CBD oil is also a discussion you could have with your veterinarian.
Side Effects of CBD Oil
When you’re looking for a new medication for your dog, natural or pharmaceutical, you want to know the side effects.
CBD has no known side effects when administered on its own. However, CBD can have interactions with certain prescribed medication by inhibiting a family of liver enzymes, called cytochrome P450. This enzyme metabolizes more than 60% marketed medications we consume.
CBD, Not THC
Dogs are extremely sensitive to THC. THC is the primary psychoactive component of a marijuana plant. Cannabidoil (CBD) is one of 113 compounds found in cannabis plants. The compounds, known as Cannabinoids, are natural and don’t contain any psychoactive properties or effects.
CBD with extremely low doses of THC may help dogs with seizures significantly, though. And, it has been found to be particularly helpful to dogs who are experiencing pain from cancer and/or seizures.
Dr. Stephanie McGrath is a veterinarian who specializes in neurology at Colorado State University. She is an advocate for CBD in veterinary medicine and is currently leading a clinical study on the treatment of epilepsy (which causes seizures).
Testimonials Say it All
Here at CannaCanine, we share testimonials so you’re able to hear real-world experiences about dogs who have used our products. Below, you will read a testimonial about Blaise, a dog who was experiencing seizures. His owner no longer wanted him to take phenobarbital… so she considered CBD oil. The CBD oil worked wonders on Blaise.
“Blaise started to experience seizures when he was just a year old. The seizures started to be mild and were few at the start. I thought nothing of it at first because they were so infrequent. When Blaise was around two and a half he started having partial seizures. These affected half of his body and he would suddenly tumble to the ground. This was absolutely horrifying to watch as they came often without warning.
To help combat his seizures I was recommended to give him phenobarbital. Phenobarbital is a common medicine given to dogs to help treat seizures. Several people told me to hold off on the phenobarbital treatments due to the ill side effects on dogs. I decided to wait before starting treatment to see if the seizures would return. By Blaise’s third birthday he finally had a full seizure. My worst fears had finally manifested!
Our vet immediately put Blaise on a high dose of phenobarbital for every 12 hours. Blaise became so drugged up that he would lose his balance and fall over. The worst of it was when he fell down twelve flight of stairs! I hated seeing him like this. His perky and fun personality was gone, replaced by lethargy and sadness. Blaise became a shell of the fun dog he once was.
A a nurse I had read articles on the beneficial effects of CBD oil on seizures. I started to research natural and alternative medicine for canines to learn more about CBD oil. At first I was cautious but decided to try it on Blaise. It was the best decision I could make! I was glad I ordered the CBD treatment. Despite the process of weaning him off of phenobarbital, the first dose of CBD oil made him more alert. Little by little, I got him off the phenobarbital.
Today, Blaise is seizure free and no longer taking phenobarbital. All thanks to CBD oil!”
Chat with Your Vet
Before implementing CBD oil in your dog’s routine, you should talk to your vet first. If your dog is struggling with a medical condition, you want to make sure you have the dosage right. And, you also want to ensure your dog is a suitable candidate for CBD use.
If your veterinarian isn’t familiar with alternative medicine, you might consider contacting a veterinarian who specializes in it. You can find an alternative veterinarian by searching the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s website.
Try it Today!
CannaCanine is 100% organic and non-GMO, two qualities you should search for in any CBD oil to ensure maximum quality. CBD that isn’t organic could contain pesticides and herbicides, which could result in more harm than good for your dog.
CannaCanine only contains two ingredients- organic MCT Coconut Oil and Organic CBD Hemp Oil. This is another factor you should consider when searching for CBD oil for your dog. Generally, the more ingredients there are in the oil, the lower the quality of the oil.
Why is coconut oil included? Coconut oil increases the absorbency of the CBD oil. And, it can work wonders for our dogs. Coconut oil can help with itchy skin, eczema, cuts, scrapes, wounds, and hot spots. And, on top of all of that, it’s a powerful anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral.
I couldn’t wait to try CBD oil for my dogs after learning all the benefits. And, for a limited time, CannaCanine is offering a special promotion.
This year is the Year of the Dog, and to celebrate, CannaCanine is offering you 30% off of your store purchase. Start shopping now and use code YEAR before the deal ends!
Zuca was a pregnant stray when she was taken in by an animal welfare agency in Oregon. All her puppies were adopted, and eventually so was Zuca. This sweet pup became best friends with a cat named Stout in her new forever home. Sadly, Stout passed away and Zuca was depressed…until her human mom Ronda […]
Hello, everyone! I’m so happy you’re here. As you can see, the Dog Behavior Blog has been completely revamped. As I was sitting down to write an article for you, there are so many ideas popping through my head. But, before I write another article, I want to hear from you.
What do you need help with? What questions do you have? This is your opportunity to ask your questions, and allow me to address them in an article, or perhaps a series of articles, so you (and your fellow dog lovers) can learn more about their dogs.
As a professional in the industry, you sometimes skip over the most common questions. What’s familiar to you may not be familiar to someone ‘outside the box….’ if you know what I mean.
And, on top of your questions, is there anything you hope Canine Companions will offer in the future? Are you looking for a specific e-course, e-book, instruction sheet, recipes, etc?
Please feel free to submit a comment, or use the Contact Us page, to submit your questions, comments, and/or concerns.
I can’t wait to hear from you.
Amber L Drake
Every dog parent strives to raise a behaviorally balanced dog, but most of them end up asking what’s wrong with my dog? We, accidentally, promote some unwanted behaviors in our dogs.
A lot of dog parents encourage unwanted behaviors because they find it cute. If the behavior has been rewarded for a long time, it becomes difficult to change it.
As it takes double to effort to ‘untrain’ a dog, so it’s best to avoid encouraging these six behaviors in dogs:
The nipping or biting habit is encouraged at puppy stage when the pooch is teething. As a dog parent, you should take appropriate measures to avoid prolonging of nipping behavior past the teething stage. If we let this behavior continue, the adult dog will find it acceptable to communicate through teeth and skin. A puppy’s nip doesn’t hurt. It can be ignored due to the cuteness of the puppy. But, when the adult dog plays rough by biting the skin, it becomes unbearable and difficult to stop.
It is best to curb the behavior at a young age by making loud, painful sounds whenever the puppy nips and bites your hand. You can distract him with chew toys. You can ignore the pup for a while after he bites you so that he learns his lesson and suppress the bitey behavior.
- Bark For Your Rights:
Dogs that get what they want when they bark for toys or food learn ‘demand barking’ behavior. The dog owners support the bossy behavior by paying heed to him when he barks. Most of the dog owners listen to barking dogs only to stop the noise. But, it trains them negatively to behave harshly rather than politely to get something.
To curb such demanding behavior, train him to sit down whenever he wants something. Make him calm down and sit before you serve food, give a chew toy, toss the ball, etc. If he barks at you due to impatience, walk away and do not concede to his demands.
- Jumping Up In Excitement:
Dogs usually jump up in excitement as you enter the house. We nurture the dog jumping behavior with equal excitement, laughter, and pats of encouragement. But, when a large breed dog grows up, his jumping behavior can cause injury. In case of small dogs, the behavior can be hurtful when a new baby arrives. The jumping up of dog can be irritating if you are leaving for a meeting and the dog messes up your shirt.
To avoid jumping up of dogs, simply ignore his leaps when you return home. When the dog calms down, pat and hug him for his nice behavior. It will train him to avoid the overexcited behavior.
- Anti-Social Behavior:
Anti-social behavior develops when your puppy or dog returns shivering after having an interaction with other dogs, and you hug him instantly to provide protection. This encouraging hug will stimulate him to behave fearfully every time he comes in contact with other people or dogs. There can be other reasons for a shivering dog, so understand the cause before you respond.
To avoid anti-social behavior, encourage your dog for interacting with other dogs. Give him treats or a pat on the back every time he interacts and plays with other pets in the park. This will boost his confidence to make new friends everywhere he goes.
- Pulling at the Leash:
If your dog continuously pulls on the leash as you go for a walk, then it’s a behavior that should be discouraged. Otherwise, the dog will consider the leash around its neck to be a trigger for pulling on it and moving forward. It can be irritating when you want him to sit and wait for you.
You should teach your dog that leash pulling will never work, and he can go forward only when the leash is loose. Don’t walk ahead when the dog pulls on the leash. When he lets the leash loose, reward him for behaving right. Give him treats for walking close to you to encourage the good behavior.
It is hard for a puppy owner to resist the begging pooch when he asks for food. However, it becomes a trouble when your dog is an adult, and you have to manage his diet requirements. If he gets obese, putting him on diet food will not be easy as he will continue to beg and you may persist to give in.
It’s best not to share your food with the dog, but give him his specific dog meal to eat. Ignore his begging face and do not feed him a single scrap of food to avoid development of such unwanted behaviors.
If you succeed in discouraging these six behaviors in your puppy, you will not have to worry about the wrong things in your dog.
Tomorrow is Canine Veteran’s Day. And, here at Canine Companions & Dog Behavior Blog, would like to share some information about our canine veterans here. Please take a seat, and read/listen to the article.
You might even find your soulmate dog after reading this.
You’re going to want to grab your tissues before reading and watching.
What Do Dogs Do at War?
In war, our dogs are the first line. They are first to go into a dangerous territory. And, they let their handler know if it’s okay to continue walking, or to stop in their tracks.
Watch this documentary to follow dogs and their handlers through the tears, blood, and sweat during war in Afghanistan:
Robby’s Law: Saving Lives, Encouraging Adoptions
Before Robby’s Law was enacted in 2000, dogs who came back from war were euthanized. Now, handlers have the option of adopting their dog once they come back to the states. And, if their handler isn’t able to care for them… they are able to be placed for adoption.
Over 90% of canine veterans are adopted by their handlers at the end of their service. And, it’s not hard to understand why. Watch the videos below to see the strength of their love for one another.
To Show You How Special the Bond Handlers & Their Dogs Share
Army dog races into the arms of his handler three years later:
Veteran reunited with bomb-sniffing dog:
Military hero dog reunited with handler:
Adopting a Military Working Dog
Most of the MWD’s available for adoption are puppies, or relatively young dogs, who didn’t make it through the training (only about half graduate training).
There are occasionally older dogs who have been at war, though. They may have medically retired due to an injury, or retired due to their age.
It’s important to note that those dogs who have been to war often have PTSD- similar to our human soldiers.
Only recently have we learned that dogs can suffer from this condition following war times. These dogs have been exposed to everything we were- and potentially more- including gunshots, explosions, and other loud and/or violent experiences.
Symptoms of PTSD in dogs include:
- Fear of noise
- Fear of new situations
- Avoidance or fear of buildings
Organizations to Contact About Adopting a Military Working Dog
You can contact the following organizations if you’re interested in adopting a military working dog:
Take Other Action to Help This Canine Veteran’s Day
- The petition changes the wording from “adoption” to “foster” in case a dog is placed into a police force after retirement.
- The military handler becomes attached to the dog throughout his or her entire life; their name is on all paperwork, so they’re able to be with their dog forever if they would like to be.
- And, if they aren’t with their dog, they are able to find out how they’re doing and where they are any time.
- The petition also requests handlers be permitted to retire their dog if they don’t believe their dog is able to handle ‘the job’ any longer.
- And finally, only the handler is able to agree and sign off on an adoption.
How to Talk to a Nervous Dog
Even the most confident dogs will feel nervous sometimes. Fear and anxiety are deeply rooted, automatic responses to real or perceived dangers. These triggers will vary from dog to dog (remember, every dog is different), but triggers might include:
- Loud noises
- Other dogs
- Small children
You know your dog best and being alert to their potential triggers will help decrease or prevent their anxiety. So, what should you do when your dog is displaying signs of anxiety?
Showing Love to a Nervous Dog
Dog lovers are sometimes unsure as to what they should do when their dog is nervous, or anxious, because they’re worried they may reinforce the behavior. But, when it comes to fear, anxiety, and stress, there’s a difference.
Let’s think about it from our perspective. Let’s say we’re afraid of small spaces. And, we’re riding in an elevator. If your significant other soothes you while you’re in the elevator, will you stop fearing small spaces? Probably not. But, your significant other soothing you might help, right?
No one likes to be anxious, or scared, and it’s not a reaction that can be easily controlled. Or, really controlled at all. Your dog isn’t acting scared to get your attention. But, how you respond to their fear or anxiety could reduce the intensity of the situation.
Soothing a Nervous Dog
When your talking to your dog, and he is nervous, you should talk softly, and relatively high-pitched. This gets their attention, and may reassure him you’re there and he’s safe.
You should never yell at your dog when she’s nervous or anxious. This will add to their fear or anxiety. And, will likely result in the problem worsening.
Oh, The Treats!
If you’re going somewhere you know your dog will be anxious, or afraid of, bring some treats with you. Treats* will help to re-direct her attention to something more positive… you!
Watch Your Body Language
You’ll hear me talk about body language a lot when referring to canine behavior. That’s because body language is extremely important- for both us and our dog.
If your dog is nervous at home, instead of hovering over him and talking, get down to his level. You may add to his fear by ‘hovering.’ Getting to his level may make him feel more comfortable.
You shouldn’t handle your dog too much, or pet your dog too much, in a fearful situation… unless your dog is looking for you to. Some dogs want you to be right next to them, petting them, comforting them. But, other dogs need a little space when they’re not feeling comfortable. You know your dog the best- so you make this call.
Empathy in Fearful Situations
You should never force your dog into a situation when they’re nervous- whether this be meeting another dog, another person, or being in an unfamiliar space. A nervous dog could become
Dogs are an intelligent species; they can assist the disabled and are great detectives. However, at times we do feel that our dogs aren’t smart as they don’t listen to our commands. Of course, it is difficult to make your dog walk off leash or to get him to leave the chicken bone he found outside. You keep shouting “Bad Boy”, “Bad Boy” but he just won’t respond, and you end up feeling helpless & confused. Whether you are a new dog-parent or you have had your baby for years, you may experience this behavior. Well, keep your worries aside as this guide explains the basics of teaching your pup to listen to you.
Communication is Key
The first step is to build a connection with your dog. Dogs are animals, and we can’t expect them to speak our language. They begin to understand our commands when they are trained to do so. Begin with talking to your dog, use simple and short sentences. Make sure you use the same words each time as your pooch will learn with repetition. Use a tone that is soft and immediately catches attention. Don’t shout or whine as your pup may get scared or upset.
You can use gestures as well, teach your dog to sit, stand or stay using basic gestures. Combining gestures with verbal commands help the dog understand effectively.
Where to Begin?
Start with teaching your dog his name. Make sure you train your pup in a quiet place with no distractions involved. Say his name and if he looks at you, immediately say “Yes” in a praising tone. Repeat this couple of times, try doing it when you are in another room and see if he comes running to you. Afterward, you can teach the basic commands such as Stand up, sit, lie down and stay.
Your pooch needs a motivator to make him listen to your commands and what is better than his favorite treats. Every time your dog does what he is asked to, offer him something he loves. Along with the treats you need to use a signal as a cue, say “Yes” or “Good Boy” whenever he behaves well.
We have all heard of the phrase practice makes man perfect, well the same goes for dogs. You need to repeat the same commands multiple times, using the same words and tone each time. If you started teaching your dog in your living room without any distractions, practice the same techniques in different settings with distractions around. Eventually, your pooch will perfect the ability to respond to the cues.
Figure out Why Your Dog Isn’t Listening
If your dog doesn’t respond to the cue the first time, try to find out the cause. Is it because there are too many distractions that are overwhelming your pup? Maybe there are interesting things around that fascinate your pooch. Whatever the reason may be, find it and try to teach to your dog from the basics in the new environment.
Your puppy may also choose to ignore your commands if that is the case, reinforce the behavior by incorporating short training lessons into his daily routine. Once your little pup grows up and begins to have adventures on his own, the connection between the two of you may weaken. In that case, you are the one responsible for making things work, spend time with your dog, plan new activities and strengthen the bond.
One thing to always keep in mind is that it’s all about training. No breed or genes will influence your dog’s behavior as much as your teaching. Remember that it will require patience; there will be times when you’ll want to express anger, but that is never the solution. Combine the skills with the effective tools, and you’ll be able to train your dog in no time.
Talk to you again soon,
Jenny Perkins, Guest Blogger at DogBehaviorBlog & Blogger at HerePup.com