Anxiety Disorders & Aggression in Good Dogs

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Did you know that anxiety or uncertainty can trigger aggressive behavior in a good dog. This can be a big problem if a dog has an anxiety disorder. Punishing the dog will only make it’s anxiety worse. Besides, punishing a dog only addresses the behavior & not the cause. That’s a recipe for disaster.

When dog aggression is suppressed, but the root anxiety is not treated, it can manifest in different behavior.  Obsessive-compulsive behavior like obsessive licking for example.

The first step is seeing a vet. If it’s determined that your dog has an anxiety disorder, medication may bring relief. It may even be necessary to have the dog calm enough to work with. Another possible option would be a Thundershirt. A Thundershirt applies gentle, constant, similar to swaddling an infant human & has been proven to calm anxious dogs.

Having an Adaptil D.A.P.  diffuser in the home can help too. The diffuser releases a synthetic pheromone (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) that has a calming effect on dogs. You can also get D.A.P. infused collars or D.A.P. spray. My huMom used the spray for me after the fire. She felt it worked quickly if I was anxious. The people who make the Thundershirt also have a spray, but we haven’t tried it.

Once the dog is reasonably calm either through medication or by wearing a Thundershirt you can begin working with the dog in dealing with the sources of it’s anxiety through behavior modification & pawsative reinforcement.

A key component in behavior modification is understanding that we come to be anxious about the fear or the anxiety itself. Exposure to a cause of anxiety must start at the lowest levels so the dog learns that at low levels, they can cope with the anxiety. This is the only way the dog can get used to both the “stimulus” (the thing that triggers the anxiety) & the anxiety itself.

With luck, over time the dog will no longer be triggered. That doesn’t mean it’s anxiety is cured, but it is now manageable. Working with your good dog will benefit you both. Remember, an aggressive dog may just be anxious & frightened. Don’t react with anger even though that may be a challenge some times. Try to find the cause & work from there.

CEO Olivia

 

The Dangers of Spring

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Spring has finally arrived here at Knotty Toys for Good Dogs. There are wonderful new stinks as the earth wakes up from the long winter. But there can also be some dangers out there too.  Before you head out let’s have a look at some potential issues.

First, if your good dog hasn’t been active over the winter, it will take some time to get back into shape. You might want to take play time slower at first.

Once your out on the trails, there may be things that have been buried in the snow that aren’t ideal to touch or eat. Garbage, rotting twigs or food wrappers should all be avoided. Puddles of melted snow should not be drank because they might have toxins like road salt or even parasites. Also, stay off ponds or lakes. The ice may look solid but why chance disaster? The melt off can also cause flooding & fast moving waters.

Your good dog can get allergies from pollen just like you. A vet recommended, over the counter antihistamine or a natural antihistamine ( I’ll write about those soon) can be helpful while the flowers are blooming. Speaking of flowers, lilies, azaleas, sago palms & rhododendrons are very toxic to dogs. You might want to avoid planting them were a dog could accidentally munch on them.

Remember that your good dog will need time to acclimatize to the warmer weather. It’s a no brainer that fresh water & shade should always be provided. Heat stroke can come on quickly.

With spring comes fleas & ticks. Your good dog should take flea & tick preventative. You should also always check your good dog for ticks after a romp outside. Should you find a tick it will be easier to remove if it hasn’t burrowed in yet. Put it in a jar or pill bottle & dispose of it.

Finally, if you live rural like me, there are lots of critters waking up from a long winter. Skunks, porcupines or raccoons don’t make for good play mates. Always supervise your dog & keep it on leash unless you’re at the dog park.

Have a safe, wooftastic time out there.

CEO Olivia