If you have a dog that is constantly feeling anxiety, you will want to find means and ways to help them to be calmer. This is important, as anxiety issues in dogs can be bad as it can potentially affect their mental health or even destroy your furniture at home.
Here are the top 4 tips that you can employ for a calmer dog.
Getting them a dog house or dog crate
It is commonly misunderstood that the dog crate is meant to be used as a tool for punishment against the dog. This is completely untrue. In fact, the dog crate is a safe haven for the dog when your furry companion is feeling anxious. Indeed, one of the best ways to rectify separation anxiety attacks in your dog is by getting the dog to retreat into the dog crate. The dog crate or dog house creates an illusion of protection to the dog, and this helps to keep the dog calm. You can also opt to place a cloth around the dog crate so that the dog’s vision is limited too.
One good way to help dogs to calm down is by bringing them out for regular walks. It does help to keep the dog physically fit and mentally healthy too. Exercises also helps to release endorphins that will help to calm the dog’s raging nerves down too. The only caveat here is that you will need to closely monitor your dog’s condition, lest it suffer from heat stroke. Always make it a point to walk the dog only when the temperature is cooling. Avoid the late afternoons as the floor might still be hot and it can burn your dog’s paws. Also, bring along a bottle of water for your dog too.
There are certain peripherals that you can wear on your dog to help calm them down. One such peripheral is the Thundercat. The Thundercat is worn over the dog’s body to help calm their raging nerves down, and it can do so due to the slight gentle pressure that it exerts on the dog’s body. It does help to reduce the anxiety attacks on dogs when they visit the vet or even during heavy thunderstorms.
In recent years, CBD oil has been all the rage as researches found out that there are many benefits of CBD oil on dogs as well as on cats. CBD oil, or Cannabidiol Oil, is found readily in many countries in the world, especially if the usage of marijuana for medical purpose is legal. The compounds in CBD oil is able to help to keep the dog calm. If you ever wish to get the CBD oil for your dog, do ensure that you read the labels on the bottle carefully. This is to ensure that the CBD oil that you buy is made from organic ingredients. There can be unscrupulous merchants out there that add in fillers into the CBD oil, and this can be bad for the dog’s health.
It is natural for a dog to chew on things as it is literally ingrained into their DNA. You see, before they are domesticated as pets, dogs survive wholly on their instinct to survive, and this includes developing a need to protect itself. As such, dogs can be pretty destructive in nature, and they are not entirely to blame. Of course, inappropriate chewing of things can be destructive, especially if the dog starts to develop the habit on chew at everything in your house. Before we can go about training your dog not to chew on things, it will be good to understand why is the dog chewing in the first place so that you can use the correct remedy.
Why do dogs love to chew?
Other than their DNA, there are several reasons that contributes to this destructive behavior. Some of these problems are due to their character as well as the possibility of them having an underlying medical problem. Read on and find out if any of the following does resonate with you.
It is possible that the dogs are chewing on random things simply because they are playful. This is especially true for new puppies who are still very indifferent to objects in the house.
Not all owners will understand this though. When dogs are frightened or scared, especially by sudden loud noises that they are unfamiliar with, the dog will find ways to soothe their raging nerves, and they do so by chewing on things.
This is the same for dogs who are suffering from separation anxiety. When dogs are left alone at home, it can be pretty traumatizing for them, especially if they are too used to having humans around them hence relying on humans for attention. When left alone, they are unable to cope with the separation from their owners and will resort to chewing on items so as to alleviate their anxiety attack.
Dogs can be an attention seeker too. When their owner leaves them alone without playing with them, dogs will have the tendency to destroy objects in the house as it knows that the owners will be triggered and will play with them! Cheeky little things!
It is possible that the dog is chewing on things due to an underlying medical condition that they might be suffering from.
How to stop dogs from chewing things
Now that we know the reasons that is contributing to this negative behavior, let us explore into the tricks that you can adopt so that you can train the dog not to chew!
Underlying medical problems
First of all, before you can start the training proper, you will need to rule out on the possibility that the dog is chewing because of an underlying medical issue. Most of the medical issue stem from a lack of a nutritional diet in dogs and hence creating a nutritional deficiency. If you suspect this might the case, always seek the advice from a vet so that you can be informed of the steps that you can take to help your dog.
Dog Proof the house
As a crucial step in training your dog not to chew things, you will need to dog proof the house so that dangerous items are kept away from the dog’s reach. This includes any food that you do not want the dog to rummage into, or even to your detergent or bleach that can be fatal if the dog consumes them. Items like shoes, socks, or even your clothing should be kept appropriately so that the dog will not chew on them.
Discourage negative chewing
When the dog starts to chew on something that it shouldn’t be chewing on, you can then use a firm tone to instruct the dog to stop. Note that you should not give your dog a treat at this point of time as the dog might associate chewing to being rewarded with a treat. Instead, you can provide your dog with an appropriate item that they should chew on, like a chew toy or something.
Having said that, there is an unorthodox method in discouraging chew in your dog. For example, if your dog has been shredding paper into pieces, one good way to discourage them from chewing is by giving them the firm scolding. After that, you can use the dog’s front paws and scoop up all the pieces of paper and throw it into the bin! We say this is unorthodox because this method might not work on all dogs.
Provide chew toys
Instead of them chewing on random stuffs due to the dog being playful, you can simply satiate their playfulness by giving them chew toys! There are many of these in the market, but the ones that we love the most is the tug-of-war toy.
Buy a dog crate
As mentioned, dogs can chew when they are suffering from anxiety issues. One good way to solve this is by providing a dog a safe haven for them to seek refuge in when the anxiety attack comes, and you can achieve this by buying a dog crate for them. The dog crate does provide an illusion that they are save and secure, and this does help to reduce the anxiety in dogs. However, note that you should not purchase a dog crate that is too large for the dog as it will not create that illusion of a safe haven. As a guideline, the dimensions of the crate should allow the dog to turn about in its place. The top of the crate should allow a maximum of two finger spacing when the dog is in a sitting position.
Playing with your dog
If your dog is seeking your attention by destroying items, you can change this behavior by playing with your dog and spending them with them. When your dog Is meaningfully engaged, they will not develop the habit of destroying things in your house. Also, when your dog is tired after a day’s activity with you, they wouldn’t have any excess energy to chew things in your house too.
Our Shichon ( Shih-tzu/Bichon mix) has been using Paws2Go ( basically a doorbell to say she needs to go to the bathroom) for a couple of weeks now. She is 3 months old. We have followed the training guide , and have her to the point she presses it when we say the cue word potty ,but it seems she only wants to press it when we are right next to her. We have a 4 story town-home so she needs to go down a flight of stairs to press it by the front door. We aren’t sure if she’s scared to go down to the foyer ( she’s a Velcro dog – won’t leave us) and also fear she isn’t associating it with going to the bathroom since she has peed in the foyer right before we are going out. I’m not sure if we should keep it down in the foyer or put It on the main level where she is more comfortable .We can’t figure out what’s not going right! ~Mary
Hi Mary, glad that you wrote in to us. It seems like you have a fairly common problem at your hand. If I am reading it correctly, you have having issues with the following three points:
Getting your dog to be trained using the Paws2Go device
Unsure if the dog is scared to go down to the foyer
Dog peeing in the foyer
It does look like the puppy is not properly house trained yet. There are several reasons why the dog is still peeing around the house. There are plenty guides that you can find online. Try reading a guide from here.
As for the device itself, it is quite common for owners to have issues when trying to get the dog to get accustomed to it. If you follow the guide closely, you will be able to get the dog to respond correctly. But given that you mentioned the dog only press it when you are right next to her, this could be a result of you doing things wrongly, unknowingly. You can try to restart the training process and get the dog to respond as per what you wanted.
As for the issue about your dog wanting to head down to the foyer, we will recommend that you restrict the dog’s movement as their body is still trying to develop the muscles it needs to function. Going down the flight of stairs might be detrimental to the developmental process.
For starters, we recommend you to carry the dog down at fixed timings in the day to conduct the training. At least you will be limiting the amount of variables for the dog to associate itself with. Also, since the puppy is still young, try not to be too harsh on her, eh. Show her more tender loving care during the training process, and it can help speed up the training too.
Hello, I have a small dog who has somehow become scared when we run through the park. She is a small dog, and this never use to happen. I’m not sure of the cause. Is there something I can do? Thanks, Mary.
Hi Mary, thank you so much for dropping us this query. I understand the frustration and worry that you are feeling must be horrible, for you to drop us a message here does show how much your dog means to you.
While it is normal for some dogs to be scared or terrified when heading out, it will not be normal in your dog’s case since she used to love the runs till recently. You are somewhat right that is can be due to some scares around the vicinity, but there might be some underlying issues that might be causing the issue.
From your dog’s case, it could be a negative experience that she had when she ran in the forest. Also, did you check on your dog to see if she had suffered any injury? It is very possible that she is refusing to head out because she suffered an injury while out in the forest and that is causing her anxiety.
During this period of time, if your dog refuses to head out and tremble, you should not try to force them to head out, or try to carry the dog and place her in the forest as these will cause the furkid to develop a negative feeling about the place. Rather, you should find ways to desensitize her negative feelings towards the forest.
For starters, you could try to bring her out for regular walks right outside of your house. This does serve two purposes.
To observe for injury: you can check the way she is walking to see if she is limping or not.
To check for trauma: If the negative incident is causing the dog to tremble even during the normal walks, then it does require you to approach the problem differently. In the above two cases, if you notice that the dog is limping, or her gait is unusual, you should bring her to the vet immediately for attention as there is an underlying issue that is causing your dog to limp.
To address the trauma issue, the whole idea of bringing her out for walks around the vicinity of your house is to check if she is afraid of walking, or just afraid of walking in the forest. If your dog is ok with walking outside of the house, then we can more or less deduce that the root cause of the issue lies in the forest.
It is worthwhile to note, that if the anxiety or fear is cause by an external problem, then thankfully the issue can be solved. All you need to do is to show love and encouragement to the dog. While you should not be forcing them outdoors, you can slowly desensitize the situation for them. This means bringing her out for walks in the nearby parks and letting her run, albeit on a leash this time round so that she can enjoy the outdoors again. The whole idea of putting her on a leash is so that you can control her movements, since it can be a possibility that she could be injured or attacked by a wild animal during the runs in the forest.
Hope the above helps!
If you notice that your dog is easily distracted by noise or by people, especially when walking on a leash, then you might have a serious problem that needs immediate rectification. This is because if your dog is easily distracted, there is a high chance that it will take off in the direction of the noise. This can be a potential problem, since the dog might fall into ditch or even into on coming traffic. As such, there is a need to rectify the issue so that you can protect the dog.
Here’s how to get dog to focus on you…
The best way to stop a dog from being distracted is actually by training them! By training them, you will be able to command the hyper dog to react to your command. However, when it comes to training these hyper dogs, the owners will always notice that it can be difficult trying to get the dog to focus. The dog will get excessively energized because of the objects that are not a usual sight in the house. When the excessive energy builds up in them. It will actually cause the dog to lose focus and such as such it will be in a state of chaos!Indeed, there are just a few main reasons why the dog simply cannot focus!
Focus: They prefer the random animal running across the street than you.
Relationship: The dog does not trust you and hence have a lousy relationship with you.
Communication: You are speaking Greek to the dog and she simply cannot understand you.
If you are able to solve all three problems, your hyperactive dog will be able to focus on you whenever you call for it. And the best way to do it is via a proper training session.
To do so, you can rely on your usual commands such as stop or stay to help the dog to focus their attention onto you. If the dog responds to your command, you should reward it with a treat! Otherwise, you can use a firm voice to voice out the command while using your finger and point at the dog. This will help the dog to focus its attention onto your finger. Eventually, your dog will start to respond to your commands.
Of course, if the dog is still restless, then it will mean that having multiple short training sessions will be useful. Also, you should include a healthy dosage of patience so that your dog receives the best form of positive training from you. Note that you should not vent your anger on your favourite pet at all times as it will be detrimental to the training process.
To wrap things up, all dogs can be trained to focus on you rather than to be distracted by random objects that appears. It does take you some time and effort to train the dog so that they can respond to your commands. In time to come, your dog will stop running away from you just because of the random animal that appears in front of their eyes!
I have a two year old yellow lab. He was sleeping through the night up until he was about 8 months old. Then suddenly he started needing to go out to poop in the middle of the night. He wakes us, immediately poops and goes right back to bed. I don’t want to ignore him, he clearly had to go out. He doesn’t have accidents in the house. I am wondering how to get him to make it through the night? We feed him breakfast at 7:30 am and dinner at 6 pm. He gets an evening walk around 7 pm and we take him out before bed at about 11 pm every night. Every once in a while he doesn’t need to go out and sleeps through the night – probably about 3 times a month, I haven’t noticed any difference about those days from the others. ~Susan
Well, the first thing you want to do is to develop a set schedule. You said this began at 8 months, so it has been over a year? Your lab is probably already very accustomed to going to the bathroom at night, so it may take some time to adjust, but adhere to your schedule. By gradually moving that nighttime break later towards the morning, little by little every night, your dog will adjust.
At eight months, your puppy was still growing and his bladder hadn’t fully developed. At two years old, your boy should be able to hold his bladder throughout the night. Again, he may just be accustomed to this schedule that allowed nighttime breaks and take time to adjust.
If you decide to begin feeding your pet once a day, do it in the mornings. If you feed twice a day, try mornings and afternoons, maybe as soon as you get home from work, or earlier in the afternoon if you can. You can also consider a smaller amount in the evenings. Remember to stick to your feeding and bathroom schedules!
Labs have a tendency to overeat, and eat quickly, which is why two feedings is a better idea. You can purchase special sectioned off bowls at most pet stores that make it impossible for a dog to consume their food rapidly.
Consider crating at night. Dogs will try not to eliminate in confined places, or where they sleep, making the dog crate a very useful potty training tool!
Finally, take your boy in for a checkup, and explain the situation to your veterinarian. I’m about 90% confident you aren’t dealing with a medical issue, but it’s always wise to be positive.
Believe it or not, a dog can convey, in less than a second, the same thoughts and feelings it might take a human several minutes or even hours to voice! Though dogs do bark, whimper, or emit other vocal sounds, they are extremely adept at both reading and conveying visual cues. Your pet can probably tell exactly how you are feeling at any given time just by reading your body language, and you aren’t even the same species.
Teach Hand Signals
Because of this, learning the meanings behind a dog’s visual signals, and developing ‘hand signals’ yourself, is much more effective than trying to teach your pet the meanings behind your human speech or commands. It’s ironic, since that is the exact mistake the vast majority of pet owners make!
Learn to Recognize subtle, Split-Second Changes in Appearance
Because they aren’t encumbered by lengthy human speech, dogs are able to express their feelings very quickly. At times, this can seem almost instantaneous to the human eye! Learning to recognize these rapid shifts can’t just help improve your training, but help you recognize potential problems (ex. confrontations) fast enough in order to prevent them.
Learn How ‘a Dog Learns’, and What Drives Him
Many years ago, early in dog training history, we as owners were taught it was best to force an animal to submit to our desires, and correction was only effective if it was done as a means of punishment through ‘heavy handed’ techniques. After all, this makes perfect sense from a human’s perspective, right?
Today, the majority of educated dog trainers will tell you to do the exact opposite in ‘most’ training scenarios. Instead of causing a dog to fear the outcome if he doesn’t perform the way you want, it’s better to convince a dog to perform for you because he wants the reward he will get. Whether they are treats, toys, a game of ‘tug’, or simple praise, certain incentives are better ‘drives’ than others.
Research Dog Training Terms
At first, words like ‘operant conditioning’ or ‘desensitization’ can seem like a foreign language. Once you actually do understand exactly what the different kinds of conditioning are, what ‘baiting’ or ‘bridge stimulus’ means, or the importance of a reinforcer, a whole new world will open up to you!
Of course there are several more terms, but the point is these psychological terms will help you learn exactly what works best, how your dog ‘learns’, and why a certain technique will work much better for you than others. The best thing is- they aren’t difficult to learn!
Understand Your Dog’s Normal Behavior
If you want to know when your dog is trying to tell you something, you’ll need to be able to recognize shifts in behavior and body language. To understand and recognize differences, you’ll first need to be able to understand your pet’s ‘base, normal behavior’. All you have to do is watch out for changes in this baseline!
When it comes to protection, most of us think of highly trained police or military dogs, who’s main purpose (usually), after all is said and everything is considered, is really to help provide safety to the handler. It isn’t to hurt criminals or to help ‘find the bad guy’, although those are useful skills.
After all, dogs are a naturally protective species. The desire to keep ‘family members’ safe is highly instinctual, even genetically ingrained. This makes perfect sense, since the average wild dog or wolf relies on its pack for survival.
Step One: Understanding
The first step to coping with an overprotective dog, even a dangerous one, is to understand the situation. What is causing the dog to feel the need to be defensive? Was it something that happened in the past, or does the dog view someone’s behavior as threatening? Certain breeds are simply more prone to defensive behavior due to original breeding, such as several livestock guardian breeds.
For example, the famous Rottweiler is believed to have been first bred during ancient Rome, about 2,000 years ago, to help guard and protect livestock (among other purposes).
You can’t truly begin to treat the dog’s unwanted behavior until you understand why it is occuring. What you Don’t Want to Do is simply try and punish these protective behaviors. Punishment might simply reinforce the dog’s need to offer protection.
Step Two: Reinforcing Social Skills
In fact, socialization is probably one of, if not the single most important skill anyone will ever teach their dog. Outside of trauma, such as a physical attack in the dog’s (either to the dog or someone else) past, a properly socialized puppy will very rarely ever become overprotective to the point of becoming a danger to the well being of others.
If they don’t see humans as a threat because they’ve learned to enjoy being around them, there is no need for a dog to feel defensive.
If a dog does feel the need to offer protection because he has learned to consider a person a possible threat, you’ll need to teach him to enjoy that person, not fear him. The basic training principle you need to consider is called ‘Counter-conditioning’, which essentially amounts to pairing something the dog enjoys with the thing he fears.
If the dog enjoys that ‘thing’ more than he fears the ‘other thing’, he should begin to enjoy that thing he once feared because it means he gets to experience the other thing he loves.
A loose example would entail teaching a dog not to fear water by slowly tossing the stick out further and further, so he is forced to gradually enter the water in order to retrieve it. Once the dog retrieves the stick, he is rewarded with that delicious piece of meat. The desire for meat far outweighs the desire not to get wet.
The Fearful Dog
To a human, that cowering, shivering, pathetic looking shelter dog huddled in the corner of his crate, doing his best to look as small and unthreatening as possible, has the potential to be more dangerous than that dominant animal snarling and standing tall, staring you dead in the eye.
This is because the dominant dog probably isn’t feeling his very life is threatened. He is just telling you to back off, this area is his. You know exactly what he wants. The shaking animal huddled in the corner, however, might feel his life is at stake. His capability of ‘flight’ has been taken away; it is the very definition of being backed into a corner. His only options left, as he sees them, is to either do nothing and hope the threat goes away or respond with force in order to protect himself.
An example would be a neglected puppy mill dog, or the victim of home abuse. These dogs have suffered a form of trauma, and socializing them could be a long and tedious process. In nearly every single situation these dogs can be saved with the gently care of an Educated, Experienced Trainer or Behaviorist.
When it comes to these extremes, you don’t want to simply ‘let things go’ and hope they improve, or try and cut corners by doing things yourself (unless you have done extensive research and are experienced).
Sometimes, all it takes to rehabilitate this dog is love, patience, and gentle nurturing over time.
My dog is about a year and a half old and has just recently in the last few weeks started peeing around the house. We have a doggie door, he knows how to use it, he has been using it for months so I’m not sure what is causing him to pee inside again when he has been potty trained for about a year now. Want to know if there are any tips or tricks to get him to stop doing this! Thank you! ~Alexis
Hello Alexis, I believe I can offer some insight!
This is pretty straightforward. Rather than explain the process, I’m going to refer you to a fantastic article on Potty Training. You can do further research, but the training principles are generally the same across the board with most professional trainers. As long as you adhere to these guidelines, you shouldn’t have any problems!
But you said your dog is already trained, meaning there may be something else at work here. You may also simply need to reinforce training.
The goal would be the same as before. You need to give your dog a reason to want to make the effort to go potty outside, rather than just anywhere.
You didn’t name the breed, but certain toy breeds can be notoriously difficult to potty train. Also, dogs sometimes urinate out of excitement or anxiety. Did anything change recently about your living environment? If so, this might be the cause.
Intact males, or females, will often mark in order to leave scent identifiers for other dogs to pick up on. Again, if someone or something new has recently entered your family environment…
There may be a medical concern behind your pup’s urination problems. It would be a good idea to take him you see your vet for a checkup.
It’s understandable that some dogs are just really hyper and energetic when they’re in the backyard, and some are simply protective of their turf. But if they’re always in high alert, there could be something wrong, and it has to be dealt with before they become aggressive and attack people! You don’t want guests to be scared of your dog or your dog attacking anyone, would you?
Why are some dogs territorial? There are some dogs who are more aggressive genetically. That’s why there are dog breeds perfect for guarding and other breeds that are more suitable for company and family. It’s because of their guarding instincts that they’ve been dubbed man’s best friend. But some can get too carried away and might even be aggressive toward family members when they’re protecting things that matter to them—treats, toys, humans, and territory.
Territorial behavior is dangerous, but not entirely hopeless. These pups can be trained to completely control their aggressiveness. A rule of thumb would be to focus on the “Quiet” command, basic obedience commands, recall, and techniques to reduce anxiety. To prepare your dog for the training, here are some supplies you might need to get:
A good quality dog crate
A sturdy pet gate
Good treats (go for the healthy kind of treats)
A long sturdy leash
Here are a few things to train your territorial dog:
Refresh basic obedience commands. It all boils down to the obedience of the dog. You need to work on your dog’s obedience if you want to tame him. The usual “Sit” and “Stay” commands falls under here and are commonly used as a way to control your dog in tense scenarios. You can use this when you have to get something from the door or are expecting guests—tell them to sit and stay.
If this doesn’t work yet, separate Fido from company using a pet gates or a crate. Even if they’ve been trained in the past, doing so again will be a nice way to bond with your dog. Don’t overdo it; limit training to five to ten minutes every day, and offer treats when they perform great.
Don’t give in. One of the common mistakes most pawrents do is give in whenever the dog annoys them so much. They might act cute and give you the puppy-dog eyes, but giving them that piece of chicken leg you’re holding won’t do any good. They might get aggressive if you don’t give them what they want, and they might growl or bark for it.
This kind of habit makes them think they are entitled to treats whenever, wherever, and this behavior will keep on coming since it always guarantees food. You can give small commands and maybe even have them go “down” for a while before letting them eat dinner. Teach them to work for their food!
Total recall. Does Fido turn or look at you when they hear their name, or does he ignore you? If the latter, then it’s high time to teach him recall, which teaches your doggo to come to you when called. This is quite useful for dogs who tend to find themselves in troublesome situations. You can start somewhere small, like inside your own home, and make sure you reward the dog if they get it right. A reward system is especially effective for dogs, and it will make them look forward to being called.
Before you can move somewhere else, make sure your dog is always responsive to its name. If you want to try it outdoors, make sure the leash can be extended and is sturdy enough so your dog doesn’t break it or you can stop your dog on time if needed.
Calm your dog. Dogs being aggressive doesn’t always mean they’re violent; they might be extremely nervous because of certain triggers. It can be as simple as a sound of a car dashing past or as overwhelming as being in a crowded place.
Isolating a nervous dog and feeding them somewhere peaceful and quiet might help. If your doggo is the nervous type, you might want to invest in a dog gate so you can safely keep Fido away when there are guests. Visit the vet for some advice about your dog’s anxiety. There are certain pet vests and gear that can also help them calm down.
Silent treatment. Dogs bark when they feel like a trespasser is in their territory, and it can scare off some guests. Teach them the command “Silent” or “Quiet” to calm them down. You can start inside the house and introduce different distractions and noises while saying the cue word you prefer. This can help them calm down whenever you say the command.
Desensitize. This can only happen if you have trained your dog basic obedience and anxiety control. Desensitizing can help promote a healthier and calmer reaction to past triggers. But never rush them or punish them—this will only make their anxiety worse—and be patient with their development. Provide rewards if they have done a good job.
While these steps seem daunting and overwhelming for pet parents, it actually has good benefits and might help you in your and dog’s everyday life. It will make it easier for you and your pet to cope with a stressful scenario and maybe even mold the pup into a better version of themselves!